To Kill a Mockingbird
A film by Robert Mulligan
English with English subtitles
13th June 2010; 5.45 pm
Perks Mini Theater, Perks School
Screening will be followed by 20 minutes
documentary with director Robert Mulligan,
Gregory Peck and others
Harper Lee's highly regarded and eminently successful first novel has been artfully and delicately translated to the screen."To Kill a Mockingbird" is a major film achievement, a significant, captivating and memorable picture that ranks with the best of recent years. Its success in the literary world seems certain to be replicated in the theatrical sphere.
As it unfolds on the screen, "To Kill a Mockingbird" bears with it, oddly enough, alternating overtones of Faulkner, Twain, Steinbeck, Hitchcock and an Our Gang comedy. The power and fascination of the story lies in the disarming and enthralling contrast of its two basic plot components.
A telling indictment of racial prejudice in the deep South, it is also a charming tale of the emergence of two youngsters from the realm of wild childhood fantasy to the horizon of maturity, responsibility, compassion and social insight.
It is the story of a wise, gentle, soft-spoken Alabama lawyer (Gregory Peck) entrusted with the formidable dual chore of defending a Negro falsely accused of rape while raising his own impressionable, imaginative, motherless children in a hostile, terrifying environment of bigotry and economic depression.
The characters are strict where they stand, whether it’s good or evil, or anything that the kid’s memory makes up. It’s all really well made and I applaud these two for their work. I also applaud Horton Foote for his fine adaptation of this great book.
The performances are dead-on. Gregory Peck is masterful in the role of Atticus Finch, never overdoing his emotions. Mary Badham (who is sister of director John Badham) is also impressive as Scout but is closely matched by Phillip Alford as Jem. All three combined steal the show. The rest of the cast is also great, and you will forever have James Anderson as the evil “white trash” Bob Ewell.
It’s a family film that everyone should enjoy. One of the finest films ever made, this film will really make you remember those days when you were a kid and how great and happy and good looking the world around you looked, plus at the same time, teaching and refining some moral values that are still effervescent today as they were many years ago.
Robert Patrick Mulligan was born in the Bronx on Aug. 23, 1925. Mulligan studied at Fordham University before serving with the United States Marine Corps during World War II. At war's end, he obtained work in the editorial department of the New York Times, but left to pursue a career in television.
Employed by the CBS network, Mulligan began his television career at the bottom of the ladder as a messenger boy. He worked his way up, learned the business and by 1948 he was directing important dramatic series. In 1959 he won an Emmy Award for directing The Moon and Sixpence, a made-for-television production that marked the American small-screen debut of Laurence Olivier.
In 1957 Robert Mulligan directed his first motion picture (Fear Strikes Out) and five years later received wide acclaim and Academy Award and Directors Guild of America nominations for To Kill a Mockingbird. In the same year, he also directed a film with stars Rock Hudson and Burl Ives, called The Spiral Road, based on the book by Jan de Hartog.
In 1972, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director and another Directors Guild Award for the highly successful Summer of '42.
His final film was 1991's The Man in the Moon
In “To Kill a Mockingbird” and many other films, Mr. Mulligan was commended for his keen attention to the inner lives of young people, and for coaxing nuanced performances from the actors who played them.
"You never really understand a person," Atticus says, "until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." Tolerance ripening into fascination, and then to empathy: that was Mulligan's strength, especially in his psychological portraiture of the young. You could call him the J.D. Salinger of directors and be grateful that, in his movie heart, he stayed so young so long.
Mulligan passed away at the age of 83.