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2017 Review of Perhaps The Greatest Film of Our Time
on May 26, 2017
This review is for the 2-Disc Universal Legacy Series Special Edition of To Kill A Mockingbird which I purchased newly released in 2005. It has since been upgraded to Bluray and a "50th Anniversary" edition but the contents are essentially the same for all releases since 2005. The discs are handsomely packaged in a "book" style case which opens with a front cover enclosing a lot of photographs and some essential "liner notes". The DVD's themselves are the classic Widescreen presentation of the film (with Dolby or DTS surround sound, your choice) accompanied by a number of short featurettes, including the wonderful Scout Remembers; and the 2nd Bonus Disc which contains two long feature documentaries: A Conversation with Gregory Peck and Fearful Symmetry: The Making of To Kill a Mockingbird, both of which are going to be captivating to any fan of Peck, Harper Lee, or of this film alone. The beautiful transfer of film and sound on this collection is perfection and if you have a large flat screen TV and a good AV Receiver to run your movies through, you will be astonished by the quality and feel like you are in a movie theatre on Christmas Day in 1962, watching a virgin copy of the reels.
For most of my life, I have always held Casablanca and Citizen Kane as my favorite B&W classics, but as the years drew on, the movie which has held its luster, held its captivation with drama, B&W cinematography, screenwriting, and a cast of actors with a delivery so real you feel like you are part of the living little town, Mockingbird has risen to top of my list, not just in terms of B&W filmography but all films in general. Harper Lee's novel was treated with utmost respect, the storyline remaining true to her style of "voice" (through Scout) and in her picturesque manner of imagery: To Kill A Mockingbird is the perfect film. You will also, if you love this film, find yourself revisiting the bonus features, something which with most DVD/BR releases, "special" or not, don't usually get more than one run-through. The two Features on the 2nd disc are amazing documentary films in their own right, brought to us by Barbara Kopple no less, and Charles Kiselyak who dives deep into the film and book and Harper Lee's inspirations.
My copy of the DVD set came with a collection of postcard reproductions of promo posters, I hope the new editions still contain those!
If by some crazy chance, you have never watched this movie, much less owned a copy, you certainly owe yourself a little over a couple hours to immerse yourself in a small piece of American cinematic and social history, in a story which is immediately engaging and dramatically riveting. This is a beautiful, haunting, emotional, and inspiring film of a quality which is rare, to this day, in Hollywood productions. Every now and then a film reels us back from the mega-entertainment sector of movies which are wonderful flash-bangs keeping us high on fictional unreality, every once in a while we have something which accomplishes the wonderful in a much quieter, but equally mesmerizing manner. Not to say you will find Mockingbird boring, oh no! Mockingbird is never boring, the story comes at you like waves on the shore, each one enveloping you more and more, it will move you, anger you (I hope), touch you, inspire you (I hope again).
Get Mockingbird today, you will not be sorry you did.