To Kill A Mockingbird: Special Edition
DVD Reviews | Sep 19th, 2005
Starring Gregory Peck, Phillip Alford, Mary Badham, Robert Duvall, Paul Fix, John Megna, Rosemary Murphy, Frank Overton, Brock Peters, Ruth White, Collin Wilcox
Written By: Horton Foote
Directed By: Robert Mulligan
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If there is one book I read in high school that I loved the most, but also made me really pissed off, it was ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. I remember seeing the movie after I read the novel, and thought the movie was great! It captured everything I imagined from the book perfectly. Now the film is available in a Special Edition DVD with lots of extras to watch.
To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in the Depression-era South and is narrated by an older Jean-Louise ‘Scout’ Finch (Mary Badham). The story revolves around Scout, her older brother Jem (Phillip Alford) and their Father Atticus (Gregory Peck), who’s the local lawyer. Pretty much every family is poor and some are just really really poor! Atticus’ kids learn the hardships of racism, justice, and other issues from events that are happening in the town. Atticus tells them the wrongs & rights of certain subjects, and he explains things just so easily for the children to understand & take in. One day, Atticus has to defend a black man, falsely accused on trial for raping and assaulting a young white girl. Atticus stands his ground against racist Southerners trying to dissuade him, and he precedes with the case. While this is going on, The kids try to confront their fears with a strange house that’s down the road from theirs. A strange, mysterious neighbor who they refer to as Boo Radley (who’s played by a very young Robert Duvall) lives there. I believe that was his first movie too! Back to the trial, Even though Atticus pretty much proves Tom Robinson innocent, the court still finds him guilty and sentences him to death. Everyone associated with Atticus are upset over the verdict, but they end up even more shocked with what happens after that!
This is one of the greatest movies of all-time, and I can see why. I haven’t watched too many old films but glad I was given the opportunity in school to watch this one. 12 Angry Men was another film I watched in school and was happy I was shown that as well. They are sort of similar when you think about it, both are courtroom dramas dealing with some sort of racism. No matter how many times I watch this movie, or read the book, I always seem to get really upset and pissed off. I can’t stand racism, and it just disgusts me how Robinson is guilty after all that Atticus did. I still think this book/movie is relevant to today, because let’s face it, racism still exists in the world, it probably always will. Atticus Finch is the best role Gregory Peck has ever played in my opinion. After reading the book, and then seeing the movie, that’s exactly how I pictured him. Peck plays Atticus Finch so naturally, and they almost seem like the same man. He’s really the perfect father figure when you think about it. He doesn’t really get angry at the kids, and is just laid back. He explains stuff to Jem and Scout so well, and he’s just one likable character. Scout is your typical tomboy girl, beating up boys, being a wiseass and Mary Badham demonstrates that well. Scout comes around and understands that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, in her case, with Boo Radley. Everything having to do with the movie was outstanding: the acting, the story, the characters, the direction and the late Elmer Bernstein’s memorable score. Though some characters in the movie got the shaft and weren’t a major impact like they were in the book. Like I remember Ms. Maudie and Calpurnia having bigger roles in the book. Calpurnia was shown in the movie, but not as much as I thought you would see. Ms. Maudie is just subjected to just some lady next door, whereas I thought she was somewhat ‘involved’ with Atticus but it’s been like 15 years since I last read the novel.
Besides having a new digital transfer, which looks great by the way, this DVD also contains loads of extras! The extras are spread out on the two disc. The first disc contains an interview with Mary Badham, who played Scout Finch in the movie. She talks about the film, and how Gregory Peck & Atticus were so similar. Also on disc 1 , besides the actual movie, is award show highlights like Peck acceptance speech from the Oscars, and tribute pieces to Peck. There’s audio commentary with Director Robert Mulligan but I haven’t seen it yet, though I’m sure he adds a lot of insightful information for the viewers. Disc 2 contains an hour and half documentary of the making of the movie, which was just really good! Definitely watch that if you get the time, plus there’s another great documentary on Gregory Peck. That was produced by Gregory Peck’s daughter Cecelia. As a movie fan, I appreciate the effort Universal & the people associated with movie put into this Special Edition DVD.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless classic that EVERYONE should see if they haven’t already. You should watch this movie again anyway! The film is in no way outdated with the subject manner because, sadly, racism still exists. Perhaps if everyone was like Atticus Finch, the world would be a better place!
Disc 1: Feature
Academy Award Best Actor Acceptance Speech (Gregory Peck)
American Film Institute Life Achievement Award – Gregory Peck’s memorable remarks upon receiving the AFI Life Achievement Award
Excerpt From Academy Tribute To Gregory Peck – Cecelia Peck’s heartwarming farewell to her father given at the Academy, in celebration of his life
Scout Remembers – Interview with Mary Badham, who talks about her experiences working with Gregory Peck
Feature Commentary with Director Robert Mulligan and Producer Alan Pakula
Disc 2: Extras
A Conversation With Gregory Peck – This documentary, produced by daughter Cecelia Peck, takes you inside the personal life of film legend Gregory Peck. Scenes with Lauren Bacall, Martin Scorsese, President Bill Clinton and the Peck family. Also produced by Linda Saffire and Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple. Directed by Barbara Kopple.
Fearful Symmetry – The Making of To Kill A Mockingbird
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Widescreen 1.85:1 B&W (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: The whole trial was a great scene, boo radley scenes, I just like the whole movie.
Running Time: 130 minutes