To Kill A Mockingbird Reviews
I read and loved the book in tenth grade, and had the opportunity to see the movie just before writing my book report - I watched it late night at a neighbors house bc they had cable, and only asked that I make sure the tv and lights were off when I left. haha
I had dreamed up a different, more graphic ending with the image of the knife scraping the chicken wire being an important visual metaphor for the evil of this world always going after the innocence of childhood. On reflection tho, it's better the focus was on Atticus defending his kids. Despite being an older gentleman, he had a deeper and higher purpose, perfectly reflected by Gregory Peck.
My want for graphic violence was really gratuitous and unnecessary.
As a tenth grader, I truly saw this as an adventure from the childs point of view, and the racial tension hadnt fully sunk in until a few years later. Stunning to me how the film worked completely on both levels.
Classic cinema, not to be missed.
5 out of 5
The most annoying thing about this movie is the children; their voices are just too shrill, and John Megna, who plays the occasional visiting neighbour, has to be the ugliest child ever to make it to the big screen.
Mary Badham, who plays Scout, puts in some great performances (credit to good direction) but the stand out performance is Brock Peters as the accused Tom Peters toward the end of of the courthouse scene.
That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corn cribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Based on the Harper Lee novel, a powerful, moving story of injustice, prejudice, family and growing up. The examination of "justice" based on racial lines is particularly profound and relevant to its time. The racism that forms the background to the trial is also incredibly gut-wrenching.
Just the justice/injustice/racism angle alone was enough to make this movie great. The court scenes, and Finch's closing argument, are among the most powerful ever committed to film. However, tipping the movie over into the masterpiece category are the scenes involving the children.
Showing Atticus Funch's family life creates a great sense of engagement with the characters and the town in particular. The children bring a wonderful sense of innocence, boundless vitality and the wonder of discovery and growing up to the movie, and provide some great comedic moments. They also bring some great drama, especially towards the end.
Gregory Peck deservedly won a Best Actor Oscar for his stirring, emotional portrayal of Atticus Finch. Incidentally, this was his first and only win, on his fifth and final nomination.
Mary Badham, at 9/10 years old, did a great job of playing the hyper-energetic, tomboyish Scout and got a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her efforts. At the time she was the youngest ever nominee in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Good support from a great cast, none of whom put a foot wrong. Robert Duvall made his feature film debut in this movie and, although he has no lines and little screentime, his performance, especially his opening shot, is very memorable and powerful.