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152 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional extra feature documentary..., March 26, 2001
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This review is from: To Kill a Mockingbird (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Like so many teachers, I've used the VHS version of "To Kill A Mockingbird" to teach the Elements of Literature to high school students.
Today, the internet has a wealth of resources to assist teachers and students using this classic adaptation of Harper Lee's novel. The documentary, "Fearful Symmetry" produced in 1998 to be included on this DVD Collector's Edition, is great resource for teachers, students and all those who love and have been touched by "Mockingbird."
The 130 minute documentary, written and directed Charles Kiselyak, both discusses how the film was made and it's general literary elements. The film is one of the most effectively edited documentaries I have seen, linking key scenes from "Mockingbird" with talking heads, still photos and black and white film taken in various localities across the south.
The documentary narration, written by Charles Kiselyak and read with great emotion by Mary Williams, is literary and quite sophisticated.
The talking heads include: screenwriter Horton Foote, director Robert Mulligan, producer Allan J. Pakula and composer Elmer Bernstein. Members of the cast appearing in the film: Gregory Peck (Atticus Finch), Phillip Alford (Jem), Mary Badham (Scout), Collin Wilcox (Maybella Ewell), Brock Peters (Tom Robinson) and Robert Duvall (Boo Radley).
Director Charles Kiselyak with the help of Harper Lee was able to get three residents to discuss their lives in Monroeville, Alabama. A.B. Blass and Norman Barnett recall life in the small town during the depression, and Ida Gaillard, a retired high school teacher, brings an interesting perspective to what life was (may have been) like in the town Harper Lee used as the model for Maycomb.
The literary and social significance of the "Mockingbird" are discussed by black attorney, Cleophis Thomas, Jr., and Claudia Durst Johnson, author of "Threatening Boundries."
In the DVD's printed supplement, Charles Kiselyak indicates that while Harper Lee was not willing to appear in the documentary, she was very helpful in the production. She was thrilled with the director's plan to open the documentary with the first verse one of her favorite poems, William Blake's, "Tyger:"
Tyger, Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immoral hand or eye, Could frame they fearful symmetry,
Kiselyak's film discusses Lee's novel as both a way of life and a passage from innocence into experience and then back toward innocence -- "Fearful Symmetry."
"Mockingbird" and it's DVD documentary will touch your soul.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 24, 2010 7:10:03 PM PDT
Bill Baldwin says:
"Immortal hand or eye." Not immoral. Immortal.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2010 2:06:17 PM PDT
Jerome Bush says:
Good catch. It "does" make a difference, doesn't it?

Posted on Jan 14, 2011 3:08:04 AM PST
Kurtains says:
As a lesser correction, it's "frame thy fearful symmetry" as opposed to "they".

Posted on Jan 21, 2012 12:35:04 PM PST
T. Prince says:
Cleo Thomas was president of the Student Government Association at the University of Alabama, the first African American to do so. I haven't seen the discussion so maybe it is mentioned there. But I did meet Cleo when I was a graduate student at Alabama. He's a very impressive guy.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 8:34:17 AM PDT
Jo's Girl says:
Wonderful review. I already own the "Mockingbird" DVD, but will order this to see the documentary described. Can't get enough of my favorite novel and film . . . among the top two or three in both categories in English.

Posted on Apr 19, 2012 1:02:38 PM PDT
The reviewer would have more credibility as a teacher if he knew the difference between it's (contraction) and its (possessive pronoun). Or maybe he doesn't believe in copy editing what he writes?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 6:54:47 PM PDT
Jerome Bush says:
Kurtains was exactly correct in his/her usage of "it's." He/She was using "it's" as a contraction. I guess you didn't pick up on that...

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 12:51:36 AM PDT
Lisa M. Hamm says:
Right. "...It's general literary elements" should be "...its general literary elements," because the general literary elements belong to the "it." There is no way for the contraction for "it is" to fit in here. Poor punctuation is ugly, but it's common; anybody can make such mistakes. -- E.H.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 7:19:48 PM PDT
Jerome Bush says:
You missed the boat: it's a contraction: [Kurtains wrote]As a lesser correction, it's "frame thy fearful symmetry" as opposed to "they". That would read as "...it is "frame thy fearful symmetry," because "it" is not owning ANYTHING. You need to read the whole phrase. (I teach language arts.) Maybe Kurtains could do a take on this? He/She is the one who wrote it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 4:55:20 AM PST
TuckyBourb says:
Is English class over? Cuz I'm ready to go "kick the can" all the way past Boo Radleys house.
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