Small-town Alabama, 1932. Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) is a lawyer and a widower. He has two young children, Jem and Scout. Atticus Finch is currently defending Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Meanwhile, Jem and Scout are intrigued by their neighbours, the Radleys, and the mysterious, seldom-seen Boo Radley in particular. Written by
A director, Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula traveled to Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, but found it unsuitable for filming because the town had been modernized. Therefore, the production team constructed their own ideal version of Monroeville, Alabama, on a backlot at Universal. When Lee saw their recreation, she said it was perfect. See more »
When Atticus carries the sleeping Scout down the hall to her bedroom, after returning from their visit to the Robinson's, he takes her all the way to the last room on the left, which is actually Jem's room. Actually, it is a hallway. Calpurnia is holding the door to the house open when Atticus reaches the porch revealing a door with a 15-pane French window at the end of the entryway (at 0:48:03). Atticus carries Scout all the way to this door and turns left, not into a bedroom but into a hallway to the children's rooms. Their bedrooms were shown when Scout looks at Atticus' watch: the camera is pointing from Scout's window, across Scout's bed at the solid door to the dining room in the center of the frame, just beyond Scout's table lamp (at 0:13:28), with the dining room visible in the background on the right side of the frame and the wall behind Scout's headboard along the left side of the frame. After kissing Scout goodnight and turning her lamp out, Atticus swings the dining room door from our left to our right (at 0:15:19) revealing the solid door to Jem's bedroom which he enters walking to our left, tells Jem goodnight, shuts off Jem's light, comes out, closes Jem's door and walks down a hall to our right, which would be the hall into which he turned at 0:48:10 carrying Scout. See more »
There goes the meanest man that ever took a breath of life.
Why is he the meanest man?
Well, for one thing, he has a boy named Boo that he keeps chained to a bed in the house over yonder. Boo only comes out at night when you're asleep and it's pitch-dark. When you wake up at night, you can hear him. Once I heard him scratchin' on our screen door, but he was gone by the time Atticus got there.
I wonder what he does in there? I wonder what he looks like?
Well, judgin' from his tracks, he's about ...
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Hoo boy, am I a sucker for courtroom dramas. The wrangling of legal points and the investigation into the truth just gets my cinematic blood pumping (I s'pose it's in response to my own dashed hopes of becoming an attorney).
"To Kill a Mockingbird" rises to the top of the pile easily.
Yes, the courtroom proceedings are nail-bitingly engaging. But played out against the tapestry of bigotry and hate make the legal goings-on even more compelling.
The writing here is so beautiful, so lyric, so poetic. The Harper Lee-based screenplay captures wonderfully a time and a place that are absolutely real--where big brothers could solve the universe's problems in an instant and all the treasures of the world could be contained in a cigar box.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" also contains three of the most impressive child performances I have ever witnessed--there's not a false or affected moment in any one of them. Until seeing "Ponette," a movie I would highly recommend, the kids in "Mockingbird" received my best child performance ever awards. "Ponette" has ratcheted them down one notch, but that doesn't diminish the achievement here. The scene in which Scout dispels the mob simply by identifying its individual members is one of the most powerful moments in filmdom.
Peck more than deserved his best actor nod. His quiet dignity is a definite asset. Brock Peters, too, is terrific in what could have been a cliched role.
If you are a moviegoer who has a bias against black and white movies and who has therefore never seen "Mockingbird," I pity you. You've passed on one of Hollywood's most unforgettable experiences.
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