TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) B/W widescreen 129m. dir: Robert Mulligan
w/Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford, John Megna, Frank Overton, Robert Duvall, Rosemary Murphy, Ruth White, Brock Peters, Estelle Evans
Excellent production of Harper Lee's novel about an Alabama lawyer and his two motherless children. Peck (who won an Oscar) defends a black man accused of raping a white woman, and he has never been better. The two children, Badham and Alford, are also most affecting. Superb script (Horton Foote) and direction make this, in its own quiet way, one of the best movies dealing with race relations that the American film industry has ever made.
From The Movie Guide: "Peck's peak. Based on Harper Lee's semiautobiographical novel of 1960, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a hauntingly nostalgic portrayal of childhood mischief set in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. If the film's tone sometimes seems overly righteous, it's offset by a poetic lyricism that is difficult to resist embracing. ...
"Since its release, this intelligent, atmospheric film has been warmly received by audiences responding not only to their own childhood, but also to the heroic image portrayed by Peck, a shining example of citizenship and affectionate fatherhood.
"There is also a superb score by Elmer Bernstein. The language, emotions, and general subject matter of the trial scenes may be a bit rough for some children, but in Peck's solid, idealistic hands all good things triumph. This was Robert Duvall's film debut."
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD won three Oscars in all: in addition to Peck's Best Actor award, it also won Best Adapted Screenplay (Foote) and Art Direction (Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead, Oliver Emert). It was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (Badham), Cinematography (Russell Harlan), and Score (Bernstein).