To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) Directed by Robert Mulligan
Whilst summer gets to be of the schizo variety here in Finland, ultra hot some days, rain and autumnal the rest, workloads in our household seemed to have had a detrimental effect on My Lawyer Will Call Your Lawyer. We're watching as many films as usual, but the time to write about what we watch is lacking. It probably means in the future there won't always be the standard eight posts a month we try to reach.
Harper Lee's book To Kill A Mockingbird is one I read approaching my teen years, it passed on some valuable lessons on tolerance and understanding as well as appreciation of an innocent perspective. I still value Lee's book, and the movie adaptation has the same feeling, yet with the added bonus of Gregory Peck's dignified turn as Atticus Finch. You get the feeling Peck's pretty much playing himself here, that easy liberal wisdom that seems to have characterized him as a human being as well as, lets not forget, Hollywood superstar.
It's interesting that To Kill A Mocking Bird was produced by Alan Pakula and has Robert Duvall's first screen performance. To Kill A Mockingbird also gives us further clues with its camera work and general feeling as to the new American Cinema that was to explode by the end of the 1960's. It never feels sentimental, the children's perspective that the movie views events from are handled with grit and humor. The racial issues discussed in To Kill A Mockingbird convey power, if not a somewhat depressing perspective on the outcome of such racist attitudes. Watching after many years, I still felt moved at times and enjoyed the film's overall innocence. One of the better book adaptations I've seen.
This should be an ode to Gregory Peck. He is so noble and simply good without any arrogance what so ever. Before we watched To Kill A Mockingbird, we watched a documentary on Peck. I had seen it before, but it was just as touching second time around. He tends to his orchids, he always has time for his daughter, and he adores and adores his wife. And all this sugary love and caring seems more than sincere.
To Kill A Mockingbird is an amazing film. It creates the world and perspective of children with rare accuracy, without any patronizing or looking down. And from their perspective the movie looks at many serious social and cultural issues of the last century. I cannot believe I have never seen this film before. It seems so essential, so important for its content. I am also embarrassed to admit that I have not read Harper Lee's book (on which the film is based) even though English used to be my major with America literature as my focus.
Atticus Finch is such an admirable single father and a lawyer. He is just so up-right in a way that doesn't seem boring, but daring. There's the thing: people in their thick-framed glasses fulfilling their duties are not necessarily boring or nerdy – they are dangerous because they can change the world. No wonder Gregory admired and loved Atticus the most.