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

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

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.