Thursday, November 24, 2022

Gregory Peck is Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) is an American drama directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay is by Horton Foote, and is based on the best-selling novel by Harper Lee. The book won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for literature. The film stars Gregory Peck with Mary Badham as Scout, Phillip Alford as Jem, and John Megna as “Dill.” Others in the cast include Brock Peters, Rosemary Murphy, Paul Fix, Alice Ghostley, William Windom, Estelle Evans, and Robert Duvall.

The film is told in flashback by an adult Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. She tells the story of what life was like growing up in Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s, with her widowed father Atticus, and her older brother Jem.

Atticus is a lawyer whose clients are mostly poor farmers who pay for his legal services with food and other items of use. Atticus believes that everyone deserves to be treated fairly in everyday life and through the legal system.

When Atticus is appointed to defend Tom Robinson (Peters), a black man accused of raping Mayella Ewell (Collin Wilcox) a white woman, it throws the town of Maycomb into a frenzy. The trial brings out the racism that is simmering in the town to a boil. The ugliness of the proceedings before, during, and after the trial force Scout and Jem to grow up faster than Atticus would like.

What will the trial reveal about the town of Maycomb? And what will become of Atticus, Jem, and Scout?

Mary Badham and Gregory Peck

Robert Mulligan (1925 – 2008) was an American film director and producer. Mulligan worked closely with producer Alan J. Pakula during the 1960s, most famously on the award-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. Other films he directed include Fear Strikes Out (1957), Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) starring Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, Up the Down Staircase (1967), The Stalking Mood (1968) starring Gregory Peck and Eva Marie Saint, The Summer of ’42 (1971), and The Man in the Moon (1991) which featured the feature film debut of Reese Witherspoon.

Gregory Peck (1916 – 2002) was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He had three Best Actor nominations early in his career for The Keys to the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and Twelve O’Clock High (1949). He had non-exclusive contracts with David O. Selznick and Twentieth Century-Fox, which gave him great flexibility in the roles he chose to play. Other classic Peck film roles include Roman Holiday (1953), The Big Country (1958), The Guns of Navarone (1961). He finally won a Best Actor Academy Award for his iconic portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

To Kill a Mockingbird trivia

  • Mary Badham and Gregory Peck remained close until Peck's death.
  • This marked the film debut of Robert Duvall who spoke no lines of dialogue.
  • Brock Peters (Tom Robinson) gave the eulogy at Gregory Peck's funeral.
  • Gregory Peck's summation speech was done in one take.
  • James Earl Jones auditioned for the role of Tom Robinson.
  • This was reported to have been Peck's favorite film role.

To watch the film on YouTube, click on the link below.

To join the discussion on December 5. 2022, 6:30 p.m., Central Time, click here. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation and a link to the discussion on Zoom.

Gregory Peck and Brock Peters

Discussion questions

  1. The producer and director chose to film the movie in black and white. Do you think this was a good choice? Explain.
  2. The movie was filmed on the backlot of Universal Studios. Did it seem authentic to you?
  3. Was defending Tom Robinson a lost cause? Do you think Atticus thought he could successfully defend Tom, leading to his freedom?
  4. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley have several things in common. What characteristics do they share?
  5. Why did the lynch mob disperse after the children arrived on the scene and Scout talked to them?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...