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To Kill a Mockingbird (Collector's Edition)
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Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his brilliant performance as the Southern lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape in this film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The way in which it captures a time, a place, and above all, a mood, makes this film a masterpiece. The setting is a dusty Southern town during the Depression. A white woman accuses a black man of rape. Though he is obviously innocent, the outcome of his trial is such a foregone conclusion that no lawyer will step forward to defend him - except Peck, the town's most distinguished citizen. His compassionate defense costs him many friendships but earns him the respect and admiration of his two motherless children.
Ranked 34 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Films, To Kill a Mockingbird is quite simply one of the finest family-oriented dramas ever made. A beautiful and deeply affecting adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, the film retains a timeless quality that transcends its historically dated subject matter (racism in the Depression-era South) and remains powerfully resonant in present-day America with its advocacy of tolerance, justice, integrity, and loving, responsible parenthood. It's tempting to call this an important "message" movie that should be required viewing for children and adults alike, but this riveting courtroom drama is anything but stodgy or pedantic. As Atticus Finch, the small-town Alabama lawyer and widower father of two, Gregory Peck gives one of his finest performances with his impassioned defense of a black man (Brock Peters) wrongfully accused of the rape and assault of a young white woman. While his children, Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Philip Alford), learn the realities of racial prejudice and irrational hatred, they also learn to overcome their fear of the unknown as personified by their mysterious, mostly unseen neighbor Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, in his brilliant, almost completely nonverbal screen debut). What emerges from this evocative, exquisitely filmed drama is a pure distillation of the themes of Harper Lee's enduring novel, a showcase for some of the finest American acting ever assembled in one film, and a rare quality of humanitarian artistry (including Horton Foote's splendid screenplay and Elmer Bernstein's outstanding score) that seems all but lost in the chaotic morass of modern cinema. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
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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.
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