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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Poster

Trivia

Mary Badham messed up nearly every take in which the family was eating at the table. Phillip Alford didn't like eating the same meal dozens of times, so in one of the takes of the scene in which he rolls Badham in the tire, he aimed it at an equipment truck in an attempt to hurt her.
Gregory Peck's 9 minute summation speech was nailed in one take.
Mary Badham (Scout) and Gregory Peck (Atticus) became close during filming and kept in contact for the rest of his life. He always called her Scout.
The first scene that Gregory Peck shot showed him returning home from his character's law office while his children ran to greet him. Harper Lee was a guest on the set that day, and Peck noticed her crying after the scene was filmed. "Why are you crying?" Peck asked. Peck had looked just like her late father, the model for Atticus, Lee explained; Peck even had a little round pot belly like her father's. "That's not a pot belly, Harper," Peck told her, "That's great acting."
After being offered the part of Atticus Finch, Gregory Peck read Harper Lee's novel in one sitting and called Robert Mulligan immediately after to say that he would play the part.
The character of Dill is purportedly based upon Truman Capote, who had been a childhood friend of Harper Lee when he was sent to live with relatives in Lee's hometown each summer. Truman Capote, in turn, based one of his characters in his literary work "Other Voices, Other Rooms" upon his recollection of Harper Lee.
Brock Peters delivered Gregory Peck's eulogy on the day of his funeral and burial, June 16, 2003. Peck defended Peters in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
The watch used in the film was a prop, but Harper Lee gave Gregory Peck her father's watch after the film was completed because he reminded her so much of him.
Director Robert Mulligan learned quickly not to rely on excessive takes as he found that the more takes that were required, the less spontaneous and natural his child actors became.
According to the comics, this is Clark Kent's (aka Superman) favorite movie.
Robert Duvall stayed out of the sun for six weeks and dyed his hair blond for the role of Boo Radley who, according to the story, spent much of his life as a recluse. The character of Arthur "Boo" Radley is based in part on Harper Lee's recollection of Alfred "Son" Bouleware, who lived with his parents in a dilapidated, mostly boarded-up house just a few doors away from the Lee home. He was kept secluded in the house by his father, following a vandalism incident in which young Alfred was involved. Described in the book and in the movie as leaving the house only at night because the sun hurt his eyes, this would indicate that Boo Radley was a person of Albinism (lack of pigment in the skin, in the hair, and in the irises of the eyes.)
Phillip Alford told his mother that he did not want to go to the auditions for the part of Jem Finch but when his mother told him he would miss half a day of school, he immediately decided to go to them.
According to author Neal Gabler in the biography "Triumph of the American Imagination," Walt Disney saw To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and lamented "that's the kind of film I wish I could make." At the time, Disney was creatively stymied producing broad family comedies such as The Parent Trap (1961) and The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) but would soon find a fulfilling project in Mary Poppins (1964).
Film debut of Robert Duvall.
Brock Peters started to cry while shooting the testifying scene, without rehearsing it this way, and Gregory Peck said that he had to look past him, instead of looking him in the eye, without choking up himself.
The courthouse that was copied for this film still stands in Monroeville, Ala., and is now a museum dedicated to the book, this movie and the lives of Nelle Harper Lee and the people represented in this work. Additionally, the town of Monroeville (population 7,000) produces a community play based on the book, held on the grounds of the courthouse and inside the courtroom, every year. The play has received rave reviews - an achievement given that there are no trained actors in it - and has been performed by the Monroeville cast at The Kennedy Center and in Israel. Tickets typically sell out just a few hours after going on sale. The town contains several historic markers bearing information on Lee and Truman Capote. The courthouse is no longer used for actual court proceedings - much of it is not air-conditioned nor heated, a function of its old age. A new courthouse stands adjacent to it in the town's square.
The piano in Elmer Bernstein's score was played by John Williams.
Atticus Finch was voted as the top screen hero of the last 100 years by the American Film Institute.
It has been reported that this film was Gregory Peck's favorite work.
Director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula traveled to Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville but found it unsuitable for filming. The town had been modernized. Therefore the production team constructed their own ideal version of Monroeville on a backlot at Universal. When Lee saw their recreation, she said it was perfect.
Art directors Alexander Golitzen and Henry Bumstead had an entire reconstruction of the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, built on the Universal backlot at a cost of $225,000. The set contained more than 30 buildings. It would have cost at least $100,000 more had Golitzen and Bumstead not learned of some Southern-style housing about to be demolished to make way for a new Los Angeles freeway. They bought a dozen of them and had them brought to the studio. Such efforts resulted in the two winning the Oscar for Best Art Direction the following year.
Mary Badham became the youngest girl to receive an Oscar nomination, ironically losing the award to another child actress, Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker (1962).
Truman Capote, who grew up with Harper Lee, also knew the inspiration for "Boo" Radley, and had planned to base a character on him in one of his short stories. After seeing how well the character was realized in Lee's novel, however, he decided against it.
When he attended the Academy Awards, Gregory Peck was completely convinced that his friend Jack Lemmon would beat him to the Best Actor Oscar for his searing portrayal of an alcoholic in Days of Wine and Roses (1962).
Despite the novel winning the Pulitzer Prize, the studios were not interested in buying up the film rights as they deemed it lacking in action, there was no love story and the villain doesn't get a big comeuppance. Producer Alan J. Pakula disagreed however and persuaded director Robert Mulligan that it would make a good film. Together they were able to convince Gregory Peck who readily agreed.
Gregory Peck stated in subsequent interviews that he felt that the scene where he quietly walks out of the courthouse after losing the case, while the upper gallery stands in silent respect, along with the line given by the reverend, "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing", was what won him the Academy Award.
Atticus Finch is modeled on Harper Lee's own father, Amasa Lee, an attorney whose 1923 defense of a black client inspired the novel's trial. Gregory Peck met with Amasa Lee - then 82 years old - and formed a strong bond with him. Unfortunately Lee died during filming, so his daughter Harper gave Peck his watch and chain. Peck was wearing that same watch and chain at the Academy Awards the following year when he won the Oscar for Best Actor.
Finch was writer Harper Lee's mother's maiden name.
The courtroom is a recreation of the interior of the Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee's hometown. Prior to filming, production designers traveled to Monroeville, took photographs and measurements, and created a near duplicate on soundstages at Universal Studios.
Although Gregory Peck's inspirational performance as Atticus Finch turned out to be a perfect highlight to his long career, Rock Hudson was actually the studio's first choice for the role. James Stewart was also offered the part, but told the producers he believed the script was "too liberal", and feared the film would be controversial.
Horton Foote was initially reluctant to adapt the novel into a screenplay as he felt that he would be unable to do it justice.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #25 Greatest Movie of All Time.
The film takes place from the summer of 1932 to October 31, 1933.
Robert Mulligan's way of handling his child actors was to let them play together while keeping the cameras as unobtrusive as possible.
Cast members Mary Badham (Scout), Robert Duvall (Boo), Frank Overton (Heck Tate), Collin Wilcox Paxton (Mayella), and William Windom (Mr. Gilmer) all appeared in episodes of the original Twilight Zone (1959) TV series.
Bob Ewell's full name is Robert E. Lee Ewell. This is a reference to Robert E. Lee, who was a major figurehead in the Confederacy during the Civil War. Given the mentality of the South for the years that followed the Civil War, it is not surprising someone would name their child in Lee's honor.
James Earl Jones auditioned for the role of Tom Robinson.
Ranked #2 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time (2006).
With the death of Rosemary Murphy (Maudie Atkinson) on July 5, 2014, Robert Duvall (Boo Radley) is the film's last surviving adult cast member.
[June 2008] Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Courtroom Drama".
Ruth White would spend 4 hours getting into old age make-up, only for most of her scenes to end up cut from the film as they tended to slow it up.
The first of six films director Robert Mulligan made with his producer partner, Alan J. Pakula.
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Premiered at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Film debut of Alice Ghostley.
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The residential street where the Finches lived was located slightly southeast of Universals Courthouse Square. It ran in a westerly direction, then hair-pinned towards the back of the courthouse edifice from Mrs. Dubose's corner, on what is now the small parking lot where Royal Crescent Dr. and James Stewart Ave. converge.
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Film debut of William Windom.
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