What are some of the director's touches in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird?
Examples: a broken swing, a ramshackle house. Find other examples of the director's focus, subtle on this or another virtue.
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I decided to re-watch the movie again just to give you some good examples.
- I thought the opening scene, with the slow pan of the gifts that the children had received from Boo, was a great touch.
- The decision to shoot in black-and-white (most films were in color at this point) was a good one, giving the picture an old-time feel.
- Scout fondling Atticus' pocket watch is right from the story.
- Jem's appearance in the collard patch followed the story nicely (although the vegetables looked more like cabbages).
- The tire swing was something that most Southern children had in their yards at the time.
- Scout's overalls and sleeveless "muscle man" t-shirt (ironically known as the "wife beater") is priceless.
- The homes--every single one built above ground on blocks or bricks--are entirely realistic. (Remember, there was only one home in Maycomb with a basement, owned by Misses Tutti and Frutti.)
- The tree house
- The incredibly old oak trees
- The Radley house does, indeed, look neglected.
- Miss Maudie is shown watering her precious flowers.
- The casting of Bob Ewell is totally authentic. The actor, James Anderson, apparently was a true Southern cracker and native Alabaman. Gregory Peck, who played Atticus, did not care for Anderson's racial views at all.
- Before entering the Radley's gate on their night excursion to get a glimpse of Boo, the kids repeatedly spit on the gate so it wouldn't creak--just like in the novel.
- I liked the scene where Scout beats up Walter Cunningham Jr. in the school yard--wearing a dress! I don't believe the book says so, but I pictured Scout in her overalls--not a dress.
- Scout sitting in Atticus' lap on the porch swing
- The well-trained dog who staggered up the street really looked mad.
- The old-style telephones and 1920s/1930s cars
- The lynch mob scene is faithful to the novel and very moving.
- The groups of people passing the Finch house in wagons on the day of the trial
- The scenes of the trial are among the best in film history--realistic (you can sense the sweltering heat inside), powerful, faithful and riveting. The actors playing Bob, Mayella, Gilmer, Judge Taylor and Tom--and, of course, Peck's Atticus--are perfect in every way.
- Atticus' summation to the jury won Gregory Peck the Best Actor Oscar.
- The balcony scene where the black assemblage stands out of respect for Atticus is highly emotional.
- The horse-drawn carriages outside the school house on the night of the Halloween pageant
- Scout's ham costume
- The children's walk home following the Halloween pageant is both ominous and creepy.
- The attack by Bob Ewell is seen only through the diminished view of Scout within her costume--a wise directorial decision.
- The long-anticipated appearance of Boo Radley is worth the wait. Boo is played by the famed actor, Robert Duvall, in his very first role. His ghostly appearance fits his description in the novel to a tee.
- The scene where Sheriff Tate decides that "Bob Ewell fell on his knife" is also excellent.
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