Movie Review on to Kill a Mockingbird Movie Review

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¶ … Kill a Mockingbird Movie Review

Movie Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

The plot of to Kill a Mockingbird (dir Robert Mulligan, 1962, with Gregory Peck and Mary Badham) is seen through the eyes of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, who is six years old when the story begins (in a small Alabama town in 1932) and eight or nine when it ends. Scout grows up that summer, and over the next two summers, in a starkly prejudiced, racially-divided small town environment, as her lawyer father defends a black man unjustly accused of a white woman's violent rape. Atticus Finch, Scout's father, is a man of integrity and principles. He is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, the black man unjustly accused, and does so to the very best of his ability in the face of enormous, continuous criticism. For this his children Jem (Scout's older brother) and Scout are followed home from a school event late one night by the accuser, Bob Euell, who viciously attacks them. Scout, protected by a stiff, bulky costume she wears (she has had to dress as a ham for the earlier school event) is only roughed up, but her brother Jem's arm is broken. It could have been far worse than that, though, for Jem. But instead Jem's life is saved by the mysterious recluse, Arthur "Boo" Radley, who afterward becomes the Finch family's friend.

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As a work of art, the 1962 black and white feature film to Kill a Mockingbird (dir Robert Mulligan, 1962, with Gregory peck and Mary Badham) based on Harper Lee's novel of that name published in 1960, is a blend of "realist" and "formalist" filmmaking. But it is also "realist" in the sense that, according to the actress who played Scout, Mary Badham ("Scout Remembers," 1997) those who cast the film took pains to locate children from the South without acting experience like herself, who as characters could make the film's main child characters, Scout, Jem, and Dill, seem optimally realistic within the movie's Deep South setting and milieu.

TOPIC: Movie Review on Movie Review on to Kill a Mockingbird Assignment

To Kill a Mockingbird is formalist in its seamlessly non-self-conscious blending of plot; characterizations, setting, music, and iconography. In terms of the latter, the camera treatment of Jem's secret box filled with Boo Radley's possessions, examined in the opening shots slowly, carefully, almost as if physically caressed by the eye of the camera, is an obvious example of a formalist's use of iconography.

So is the camera's almost as intimate look at Atticus's pocket watch when Atticus reads to Scout. In a later scene, Jem shows Boo Radley's pocket watch, retrieved from the knot hole in the tree in the reclusive Radley's yard, to Scout more closely. The camera's repeated, obvious references to pocket watches also underscores the passage of time in a story that (like the book) takes place over two years.

The cinematography of to Kill a Mockingbird is not especially innovative, but it… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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