To Kill a Mockingbird: A Completely Different Song of the South

[Screenshot]I read the book, but that was years ago, and I only remember bits and pieces. This is mostly a one-man show. Some generally forgettable performances are put on around a rather stunningly presented Atticus Finch. Gregory Peck I’ve seen a couple times before, and he always seemed a bit stiff and awkward, but in this film at least his greatest weaknesses turn out to be tremendous strengths: if you’re an intellectual in a town ruled by prejudice and superstition and a widower trying hard to raise his kids right without a maternal influence, you might well be awkward and wooden. Of course, Atticus Finch isn’t a marionette: he displays a range of emotions. But that’s fine, because Peck is an actor, even if a somewhat limited one, and within his limitations he really makes this character work.

Anyways, this film mostly stood on Gregory Peck’s performance. It maintains a pretty high level of quality throughout, but whenever he’s not on-screen (especially when the children are alone) it’s just not as attractive. The kids in particular deserve some mention, since they’re (taken as a group) the second most significant performance in the film. There are two thigngs about putting children on camera: they’re not as good actors as adults, and a little of them goes a long way. These kids all put in acceptable performances which didn’t make me want to strangle them. Sounds like damning with faint praise, but, believe me, that’s a lot for a child actor to aspire to.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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