One of the greatest movies ever made, based on one of the greatest books ever written, entered my soul again. This time beautifully on the big screen. In 1960 Harper Lee graced us all with her epic masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird, and Hollywood translated her words and thoughts into an amazing movie in 1962. Multiple times I have viewed the film, but it was only three years ago that the book finally was consumed and loved by me. And last week Cineplex Events presented special showings on the big screen at select cinemas. Thanks to them, we experienced this classic the way it was meant to be seen. It was amazing!
The advance notoriety To Kill A Mockingbird engenders is that of a undisputed movie classic, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. The theater we entered was only a quarter full, and mostly consisted of patrons over 50 years of age, and it was obvious everyone knew this was a special event. As the credits began to roll and the music stirred up, the silence enveloping us all ushered Harper Lee’s world to our senses. And silence fell. Except for laughing at Scout’s antics or gasping at Atticus in danger, not a word, not a syllable, was uttered. It was by far the most respectful, polite audience I have ever been a part of. When the movie ended and the screen faded to black, everyone broke into applause. It felt truly magnificent to be a part of this event. We all shared a love that night.
All throughout viewing To Kill A Mockingbird you constantly recall various parts of the book and storyline. Seeing the journey and hearing the dialogue Harper Lee envisioned always bring a smile to my face. It still amazes me how incredibly faithful the entire adaptation is to the book. Hollywood showed us it is possible to not decay or even destroy the source material. It is well documented of Harper Lee’s involvement with the production, and with the quality of the final result so evident, I have to wonder how powerful a personality she is. Or maybe authors were treated with more respect 50 years ago? After watching the debasement of so many other wonderful books over time, I would not surprised if this was the case. See My Sister’s Keeper movie “adaptation” for a lesson in modern creative butchery.
Gregory Peck IS Atticus Finch. All words and gestures and movements he possesses in this movie bring Atticus to life. Hearing Peck speak the words Lee envisioned causes true happiness within me, because of the gravity in which he exudes in the role. You want to believe in your body and soul that this man, this myth of greatness, is real and waiting to become a part of your life. Atticus Finch the character is personified by Gregory Peck the actor. When he passed away in 2003, we all the world over mourned the loss of the man Harper Lee stated was Atticus. But somewhere in all of our collective consciousness is a place where Atticus Finch is still tucking Scout and Jem into bed at night, still listening to their problems on the porch swing, and still teaching them the value of human life. And he still looks and talks and moves like Mr. Gregory Peck.
After exiting the theater and heading home, I excitedly tweeted my enjoyment to the world. That was only a small capsule of the happiness this story brings to me. If you have not read the book, then read it. If you have not seen the movie, then see it. You will be better for it. I know I am.
To read my review of the book To Kill A Mockingbird, click here.
P.S. To Kill A Mockingbird movie posters are copyright 2012 to Universal Movie Studios.