To Kill a Mockingbird

"Excellent"

To Kill a Mockingbird Review


Smack dab in the middle of the Civil Rights Era came a pile of films that preached recognition of racial equality. Two of the favorites repeatedly viewed to this day are Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and To Kill a Mockingbird.

These films effectively argue for multi-ethnicity from different vantage points. The former is a daughter asking her parents to accept her black fiancé. The latter defends an obviously innocent African-American charged with raping a young white girl. Both feel more like plays than big screen cinema, with their tiny handful of locations, lack of visual effects, and explicitly heavy-handed dialogue. Though society has changed since their release, and "statement films" now rally for more current political causes, the strength of the issues relayed in these classics doesn't lose its appeal.

To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee, is Atticus's (Gregory Peck) struggle for justice in a small, racist community. He barely, but congenially, balances widowed fatherhood with his quest for what's right. He takes the impossible case with quiet fervor so as not to lose self-respect, risking the admiration of his neighbors and peers, and the safety of his children in the process.

Though a strong moral film, Mockingbird tries to cultivate a well-rounded story by following the events from his children's perspective. They play, go to school, get into fights, and dare each other through the notoriously spooky Radley gates. While these routines give a glimpse into the innocence Atticus attempts to protect, they throw off the emotional pacing as a whole because there is just too much of it.

That being said, Atticus's impassioned closing statement to the trial of Tom Robinson understandably won Peck an Oscar. His powerful begging for fair treatment still rings true, as does the shame provoked by Scout's (Mary Badham) friendliness to the townspeople who storm the jail in the hopes of getting to Robinson on the eve of the trial. Also, the community guilt from Robinson's death is palpably appreciated.

Scout is still a joy to watch on screen. Between her tomboyish ways (in a film that takes place in 1932 no less) and her bold questions, she ably guides us through the claustrophobic atmosphere. She and Atticus get the beautifully rare opportunity to appreciate new spins on the humane rules that Atticus continually upholds while raising his children.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an oldie but goody that can still entertain as it preaches. It may be a bit long-winded at over two hours, but it's worth the effort to sit through. The script, while a little too chatty and ill-paced, is poignantly performed. Racial equality may not be as dire an issue to take notice of as it was when this film was made, but this story of growing up in a tension-filled environment still strikes sympathetic chords.

The new Legacy Series DVD includes copious interviews and retrospectives, including Peck's Oscar acceptance speech, plus an extensive documentary/biography of Peck and a packet of reproductions of various international posters used to advertise the film. Lovely set.



To Kill a Mockingbird

Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 16th March 1963

Box Office Worldwide: $13.1M

Budget: $2M

Distributed by: Universal International Pictur

Production compaines: Brentwood Productions, Universal International Pictures (UI), Pakula-Mulligan

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 8.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Atticus Finch, as Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch, as Jeremy 'Jem' Finch, as Arthur 'Boo' Radley, as Charles Baker 'Dill' Harris, as Sheriff Heck Tate, as Maudie Atkinson, as Mrs. Dubose, as Tom Robinson, Estelle Evans as Calpurnia, as Aunt Stephanie Crawford, as Judge Taylor, as Mayella Violet Ewell, James K Anderson as Robert E. Lee 'Bob' Ewell, as Prosecutor Mr. Gilmer

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.