Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical novel was translated to film in 1962 by Horton Foote and the producer/director team of Robert Mulligan and Alan J. Pakula. Set a small Alabama town in the 1930s, the story focuses on scrupulously honest, highly respected lawyer Atticus Finch, magnificently embodied by Gregory Peck. Finch puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of rape. The trial and the events surrounding it are seen through the eyes of Finch's six-year-old daughter Scout (Mary Badham). While Robinson's trial gives the film its momentum, there are plenty of anecdotal occurrences before and after the court date: Scout's ever-strengthening bond with older brother Jem (Philip Alford), her friendship with precocious young Dill Harris (a character based on Lee's childhood chum Truman Capote and played by John Megna), her father's no-nonsense reactions to such life-and-death crises as a rampaging mad dog, and especially Scout's reactions to, and relationship with, Boo Radley (Robert Duvall in his movie debut), the reclusive "village idiot" who turns out to be her salvation when she is attacked by a venomous bigot. To Kill a Mockingbird won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Peck), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi In 1995, the film was listed in the National Film Registry. It also ranks twenty-fifth on the American Film Institute's 10th anniversary list of the greatest American movies of all time. In 2003, AFI named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century.
Classic Film Series
Classic Film Series
One Show Only!
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
Saturday, August 8
Directed by: Robert Mulligan
Cast: Gregory Peck, John Megna and Frank Overton
$5 Admission - Doors open one half hour before showtime - Harry Hamm of KMOX Radio will be on hand to help introduce the film
One Adult Omission in a Fine Film 2 Superb Discoveries Add to Delight
There is so much feeling for children in the film that has been made from Harper Lees best-selling novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird'. . . so much delightful observation of their spirit, energy and charm as depicted by two superb discoveries, Mary Badham and Phillip Alford—that it comes as a bit of a letdown at the end to realize that, for all the picture's feeling for children, it doesn't tell us very much of how they feel. It is when the drama develops along the conventional line of a social crisis in the community—the charging of a Negro with the rape of a white woman—that the children are switched to the roles of lookers-on. They become but observers in the gallery as their father, played superbly by Gregory Peck, goes through a lengthy melodrama of defending the Negro in Court and giving a strong but adult lesson of justice and humanity at work. It is, in short, on the level of adult awareness of right and wrong, of good and evil, that most of the action in the picture occurs. And this detracts from the camera's observation of the point of view of the child. Horton Foote's script and the direction of Mr. Mulligan may not penetrate that deeply, but they do allow Mr. Peck and little Miss Badham and Master Alford to portray delightful characters. Their charming enactments of a father and his children in that close relationship that can occur at only one brief period are worth all the footage of the film. Rosemary Murphy as a neighbor, Brock Peters as the Negro on trial and Frank Overton as a troubled sheriff are good as locality characters, too. James Anderson and Collin Wilcox as Southern bigots are almost caricatures. But those are minor shortcomings in a rewarding film. - - By BOSLEY CROWTHER Special to The New York Times - -