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Drama - Court Room

To Kill A Mocking Bird (1962)

Duration2h 09m
RatingsUK: A, USA: PG, Denmark: 15,
Source of storyA book of the same name by Harper Lee.
DirectorRobert Mulligan
Writers/ScriptHorton Foote
StarringGregory Peck, Frank Overton, Brock Peters, Estelle Evans, Robert Duvall, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford,
RatingsIMDb: 8.3/10 by 318,941 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 93% by 67 reviewers. Review2view: 7.5/10.

Summary: In the fictional town of Maycomb Alabama, widower Atticus Finch conducts his lawyer’s business and looks after his two young children, Scout and Jem. It is some time in the 1930s. The children play around the town during the summer and are fascinated by the semi-derelict house inhabited by “Boo” Radley. Black housekeeper Cal, takes on many of the duties which would have been filled by the children’s mother. When  Atticus takes on the defence of a black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of rape. Much of the town turns against him and the children find themselves fighting in the school playground in his support. Despite Atticus’s defence, which surely proved that Robinson was innocent, the all white jury find him guilty and he is later shot trying to escape, but that is not the end of it.

Content: No sex or nudity even though the trial is concerned with rape. No drinking although one character is seen drunk more than once. The children play about in the area around their house, which includes that occupied by Boo Radley. They also go into the town at times and watch the trial from the top floor of the courthouse with the black community. Necessary since Scout is the narrator of some of the plot and the events are seen through her eyes. The children are attacked and are rescued by Boo, who evidently from within his house had some affection for them.

A View: Despite its age, and the fact that it is in black and white (why?) this film still hits the spot, and if you read about it the process caused some of the cast to remain friends for life. The Oscars rewarded Peck with Best Actor and the film won Best Screenplay and Best Art Direction, plus other awards from other organisations. It was also selected for preservation by the US National film Register. It is depressing in a way that the film seems to reflect real events. , showing us some of the worst aspects of human nature. Harper Lee is said to have been inspired by the case of Emmett Till, a black youth who in 1955, was killed by white extremists for whistling at a white woman.

It was Robert Duvall’s screen debut, and he doesn’t say anything. he went on to star in many films, famously The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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