The movie To Kill A Mockingbird is based on the novel by Harper Lee. The movie was directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan J. Pakula. The main characters were Gregory Peck (Atticus Finch), Phillip Alford (Jem), Mary Badham (Scout), John Megna (Dill), Brock Peters (Tom Robinson), Collin Wilcox (Mayella Ewell) and Robert Duvall as Boo Radley.
The film begins with Scout, as an adult, looking back and narrating the events that took place in a small Georgia town in 1932 when she was only six years old. Atticus Finch, a lawyer and a widower is raising his son Jem, age nine, and his daughter Scout, age six, in the peaceful, quiet little Southern town. The narrator informs us that nothing exciting ever happens there. The main story is that of a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman and Finch being appointed by the town judge to defend Tom Robinson. There is a sub plot surrounding a mentally handicapped man, Boo Radley, and the fear people have of him. That fear, like the guilt of the black man, is unfounded and caused by ignorance. Disruption continues to build throughout the movie as the townspeople turn on Finch and his defense of Tom. Although the evidence is overwhelmingly in Tom s favor, at his trial he is still found guilty and subsequently shot and killed in an attempt to escape. Just when it looks as if things are about to return to some sense of normalnace, more disruption occurs when Bob Ewell, the father of the girl who accused Tom, attacks Scout and Jem as they return home through the woods one night, beating Jem to the point of unconsciousness, and the balance is finally restored when the mysterious mentally ill neighbor, Boo Radley rescues the children from Ewell and Ewell is killed in the process. Instead of prosecuting Boo, the Sheriff decides that the town has is better off to rid the evil Ewell, and that Ewell s fate is just for the way he was ultimately responsible for the death of the innocent black man, and covers up the murder by saying that Ewell fell on his own knife. Jem recovers and the movie ends with the family reunited safely with a new acceptance of their strange neighbor, Boo.
The scene I chose for discussion comes at the end of the courtroom proceedings of the trial of Tom Robinson. Finch has just presented his dignified, convincing closing argument, a powerful reflection against the ignorance of stereotyping the Negro man. The jury has deliberated and returned with the guilty verdict. Tom has just been led from the courtroom in handcuffs and all of the white people on the lower floor except for the court reporter and the bailiff have left the room. The lighting is dim, suggestive of the gloom surrounding the guilty verdict.
The camera cuts then to a slightly up-angled long shot of the right side of the balcony, all of the black people still seated. Two women stand and then others gradually rise by ones and twos. All are looking down at Finch in complete silence. The Reverend and Dill remain seated and Scout is sitting in the floor peering through the balcony railing. All the blacks are now standing in solemn silence. There is an air of respect for Finch expressed in their sad, solemn silence. The Reverend tells Scout to, Stand up. Your father s passing. As Finch leaves the courtroom he never looks up. This scene then dissolves into an extra long shot of Finch and the two children walking home that night, the only lighting a streetlamp under which they are passing.
I chose this scene because it so clearly, without a word being spoken, except for the Reverend s directions to Scout to rise, sums up exactly what the movie is about, the message that the movie is conveying throughout the idea of racism and the stereo-typing of the black man and the unsuccessful efforts of one man of character attempting to change things. In all the previous events, in confrontations with the enraged citizens, Finch has never stated whether or not he believes in Tom s innocence or guilt but has insisted that he has been appointed to defend him and that it is a matter of honor that he do just this to the best of his ability. But in the sequence of scenes just prior to this one, during the trial, in his cross-examinations of the witnesses and in his powerfully moving closing argument, he has left no doubt in the minds of the audience and of the characters in the movie that he is absolutely convinced that Tom has been wrongly accused and is completely innocent of any wrong-doing. This scene demonstrates how Finch, a man of integrity, has won the respect and the trust, not only of the entire black community, but that of his children as well. He has set an example for them against racism and all that it entails. I think Miss Maudie, a neighbor to Finch, sums it up best in the following scene when the three have returned home after the trial and she tells Jem and Scout, There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father is one of them. I think that if this sequence of scenes had been omitted from the movie, the audience would not have received the full impact of the importance in the message of Finch doing the right thing – of standing up for and acting according to one s convictions concerning the fair treatment of all human beings whatever the color of their skin. The respect and awe of the black community and their silent standing ovation as Finch left the courtroom reinforced this impression.
In speaking of the title of this movie it relates to a specific scene in which Atticus states it s a sin to kill a mockingbird and explains that it s because they never do anything to hurt us, they just sing pretty songs. In the end , Tom Robinson and the savior of the children Boo Radley are both mockingbirds.
This movie is one that is very realistic dating back to the year that it was released, 1962, and the sequence of events that occurred throughout it. All of the actors did an outstanding job, in my opinion, of really bringing their characters to life and filling this movie with different types of emotions throughout. The script had many meanings that were very well perceived to me personally. Overall I felt that this movie was cast with the perfect group of people. This movie was very good and one that I would suggest for anyone to watch.