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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.