Monday, January 5, 2015

Dear Jodie - To Kill a Mockingbird

Dear Jodie,

Gregory Peck won the Oscar playing Atticus Finch for his address to the jury in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and rightly so.  He was marvelous.

But those who come to this wonderful movie seeking a courtroom drama will find the movie out of balance.

Certainly the trial of Tom Robinson for a crime he didn't commit was a major part of the plot, but this is a coming of age story.

Scout, Jem, and Dill's story, of how they learn the ways of the world in which they lived.

I loved it.  Still do. I found much recognition in it.

Growing up, I, too, had a "haunted" house with a boogieman inside six or seven houses away that we sneaked up on from time to time.

I, too, had to stay in the house a few hours while the authorities took care of a rabid dog.

I, too, had to run like hell to get away, leaving behind articles of clothing (shoes in my case ... britches in Jem's).

The essence of this story, to me, lies in Atticus's comment to Jem.  "There are a lot of ugly things in this world, son."

Then there is the Mockingbird ... Boo Radley, wonderfully portrayed by Robert Duval in his first screen role, and all of other human beings in the movie shunned by their fellow humans.

Ah, but I'm supposed to be commenting on the acting, not my own feelings on the movie, so I will.  Mary Badham was amazing as Scout and justly nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  Brock Peters was just brilliant as Tom Robinson.

That Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, and Brock Peters remained friends until Peck's and Peter's respective deaths is telling.  Badham always called Peck "Atticus."

Harper Lee (author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel) remarked of Gregory Peck's performance, "The years told me his secret. When he played Atticus Finch, he had played himself, and time has told all of us something more: when he played himself, he touched the world."

10 out of 10

What did you think, Jodie?