The story begins in 1932, in a little town called Macomb, where everyone seems to be living a completely normal life. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is a lawyer, he lives with his two young children, Jean Louise (Mary Badham), nicknamed Scout, and Jem (Phillip Alford). I would say there are two main stories in this film, or say two different points of view: We have a more serious, adult part of the film when Atticus is assigned to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman, and we all know how strong the racism was back then. But we also get to see a lot of things through the eyes of the children. Scout, Jem and their friend Dill (John Megna) are always wondering how life would be for a person thet know as Boo Radley. It's been said Boo is crazy and violent, and his father keeps him locked to his bed. The kids are terribly scared of the Radley's house, but they can't resist the temptation of getting near, only to then run home as quick as possible.
Atticus' case is interesting and sad, it would appear that Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), the man he's defending, is innocent, but everyone in town believes the white woman, and they even threaten Atticus in order to get rid of Robinson. The children, who are always interested in Atticus' activities, sometimes get to see things maybe they shouldn't bee seeing. Atticus says to Jem: "There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible."
I can't really describe in a couple of lines the beaty of this story, based on a Pulitzer winner book by Harper Lee. It's the kind of story that you just can't dislike, it's great for people of all ages. We don't see much stories like this nowdays, most filmmakers try to make their movies good by using a lot of special effects and other techniques, but movies like "To Kill a Mockingbird" don't need anything, just the story and the people, that's all.
The director himself said that besides Peck, he wanted to cast a crew formed mainly by rather unknown people, and he couldn't have been luckier. All the unknown kids were great, wonderful acting job, Mary Badham became the youngest girl to ever receive an Oscar nomination. Most of the cast was just great, I really liked Gregory Peck too, I must confess this was the first film I've seen him in. Why they didn't use colors is something I don't know at the moment, but I do know it was a great usage of black and white, it looked terrific and although I have no idea of how any town looked back in 1932, I'm sure it helped the atmosphere look more suitable for the era. If you haven't seen this film, you should, it's a classic.
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