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To Kill A Mockingbird Review


Excellent
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.

Continue reading: To Kill A Mockingbird Review

Duel In The Sun Review


Very Good
Condemned as indecent after its release, Duel in the Sun is a rare western, in the vein of Unforgiven, that upsets the traditional white hat/black hat baloney common to its genre. The story of two wealthy Texas brothers (Joseph Cotten and Gregory Peck) who fall for dark beauty Pearl (Jennifer Jones), what may be film's first booty call (courtesy of Peck's scoundrel) is the real highlight here, as is the story of family infighting and Lionel Barrymore's deliciously evil patriarch.

Amazing Grace And Chuck Review


Very Good
Feel-good movies starring kids wiser than their parents were a staple of the 1980s, but Amazing Grace and Chuck is one of the most ambitious, with a single child leading the world all the way to total nuclear disarmament. Chuck is the kid, Amazing Grace is a Boston Celtic that helps him out in his quest. Gregory Peck is the president, and the saccharine threatens to choke you at times during the movie, but ultimately Mike Newell (director of Four Weddings and a Funeral) manages to make the film into something worthwhile.

The Boys From Brazil Review


Excellent
A fun curiosity of a movie, from the end of the career of both Peck and Olivier (and Mason, for that matter... okay, and Steve Guttenberg, too). Telling the mysterious tale of Josef Mengele (Peck), who is living in Paraguay in the late 1970s, trying to rebuild the Third Reich, The Boys from Brazil takes a long time to get to its big secret. When you do finally get there, it's a mixture of ahhhhh and huh? that makes the film mostly worthwhile. Have a bit of a laugh at the scientific silliness that the movie revolves around, too.

The Big Country Review


Very Good
The Big Country is a Big Movie, long, majestic, and filled with Shakespearean overtones. This William Wyler western has never found classic status, but it's a worthwhile and very well-made production. Charlton Heston steals the show as the ranch foreman to a wealthy landowner feuding with his neighbors; Gregory Peck makes a minimal impression as a sea captain who arrives on the scene to marry the ranch owner's daughter -- only to get caught up in the squabble. Burl Ives (yes, Burl Ives) won an Oscar for playing the neighbor, Rufus. This one's been lost to time for the most part, but Wyler fans will eat it up.

Twelve O'Clock High Review


Excellent
Gregory Peck is searing in this WWII drama, shot shortly after the end of the war. Peck's General Savage whips a broke-down division into shape, but his story takes too long to get going and retreads itself once too often, to be honest. Still, some stellar performances make this a minor war classic.

Gentleman's Agreement Review


Very Good
Gregory Peck masquerades as a Jew to write a big story on Anti-Semitism in this wartime tale of prejudice, bigotry, and hipocracy. Not exactly light-hearted fare, and the now 50+ year-old film has aged to the point of near-irrelevance. Peck and McGuire are incredible as the leads, but (and this is a good thing), Jew-bashing has faded as a commonly-experienced social ill. While it still crops up, the "restricted clubs" and playground abuse of Gentleman's Agreement are things of the past. Very controversial in its day, not to mention director Elia Kazan, who has generated plenty of controversy in recent years as well.
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Gregory Peck Movies

The Omen (1976) Movie Review

The Omen (1976) Movie Review

The Omen is not as serious a movie as it appears. Coming to the modern...

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