Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital celebrating its 60th Anniversary from director Robert Mulligan and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment based on the novel of the same name by Harper Lee is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Jean Louise Finch (Mary Badham) is a young girl who questions everything and is curious about the world around her. Called Scout by her brother Jem (Philip Alford) and father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), they all live in Alabama in the 1930’s. Being raised by a single father, he relied on the help of their beloved housekeeper Calpurnia (Estelle Evans).

Scout and Jem spend their summer playing with friend Dill (John Megna) with their biggest game being that they want to see Boo Radley (Robert Duvall). He is a recluse who is never seen but lives with his brother Nathan (Richard Hale). That is odd considering Jem finds things inside a tree in the Radley yard. One time, Jem finds little carvings that look like Jem and Scout!

While they are off adventuring, father Atticus is a lawyer that works hard for the people of their small town. Sometimes folks pay with money but others pay with whatever they have, like food. All of his cases are important, but this summer Atticus is about to take on the hardest case ever. Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) has been arrested for the attack on Mayella Ewell (Collin Wilcox), the bigger issue, however, is that Tom is African American and Mayella is white.

Atticus does whatever possible to protect Tom until the trial starts as Jem and Scout see how the town reacts. When a covered mob of people come to the jail, it is Scout who calls out in recognition one of the men and they leave quickly.

As the trial begins, Tom tells how he had seen Mayella on the day in question and she looked like someone had beaten her up. She asked that Tom help break down a cabinet, a chifforobe and that is supposedly when he attacked the girl. Atticus also calls the girls father, Bob Ewell (James Anderson), and confronts the man about the actions of his daughter.

When the jury reaches its verdict, the African American community shows Atticus respect and soon after the reality of the world comes crashing home. Trying to continue with life, time passes as Scout is part of a school play, on their walk home, the children are attacked. Rescuing them is the most unlikely town’s person and who attacks them is no surprise.

What is a surprise is the decision to carry on as Scout walks Boo home.

Peck as Atticus Finch is a man who keeps himself in check at all times. He doesn’t ruffle easily and if he did, you would never know it. Peck gives the performance of a father who wants his children to always be aware of the world in its true form, with no blinders. I love this character and see why Peck was chosen for the role. It is honorable and beautiful in equal measure.

Badham as Scout is a young girl who questions everything and is probably the first female character that I remember not having a filter. Even when her own father tries to reign her in, Scout finds a way to make sure she is heard. She is a strong girl who sees injustice as her father taught her, knows life isn’t always fair and can be truly dangerous. Badham is perfection.

Alford as Jem also sees what his father is going through and feels extra protection toward pesky sister Scout. His is like Atticus in many ways in his quiet demeanor as if he is taking everything in rather than act out. Alford gives a wonderful portrayal.

Peters are Tom is a man who knows that there is no one who is going to listen or believe him except for Atticus. Telling his truth, the real truth falls on deaf ears during a time and place that makes it clear that only one race can be believed. Peters gives us all the emotion we would expect to see and does so with grace.

Wilcox as Mayella is a young woman that has no idea what she is doing. Whether put up to it by her father or trying to escape the life she is trapped in, this is a disturbed woman. From the moment she steps on the stand, it is hard to hear the lies that she is trying to believe herself. Well done Ms. Wilcox. Anderson as Bob is everything about the racially motivated south in his hatred of Tom and knowing he can hide behind his color. His anger and idea of revenge comes through the screen and it is frightening.

Now, let us speak on Mr. Duvall as Boo Radley – absolute and stunning perfection. His character does not have a big role in the film but instead a subtle reality of the world without a word being spoken. Instead, Boo is a gentle soul that finds his own way through the insanity and Scout sees its beauty. Just spectacular and memorable.

Other cast include Jester Hairston as Spence, Frank Overton as Sheriff Tate, Hugh Sanders as Doctor Reynolds, Rosemary Murphy as Miss Atkinson, Ruth White as Mrs. Dubose, Paul Fix as Judge Taylor, Paulene Myers as Jesse, Alice Ghostley as Miss Crawford, Jamie Forster as Mr. Townsend, William Windom as Horace Gilmer, Crahan Denton as Walter Cunningham, Kim Hamilton as Helen, Bill Walker as Reverend Sykes, and Kim Stanley who narrates the beginning of the film as adult Scout.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit

Bonus Features include TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: All Points of View, Two Feature Length Documentaries: Fearful Symmetry and A Conversation with Gregory Peck, Academy Award Best Actor Acceptance Speech, American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, Excerpt from Tribute to Gregory Peck, Scout Remembers, Feature Commentary with Director Robert Mulligan and Produce Alan Pakua and more.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is an iconic and beloved film and if you haven’t read the book, you really should. The film is stark, strong and powerful every step of the way. Seeing it in black and white is sublime and if they ever tried to colorize it, I’d probably lose my mind.

The film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards with a win for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Gregory Peck, Best Writing Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Horton Foote and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White for Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead and Oliver Emert.

Also, a winner is Robert Mulligan for the Gary Cooper Award at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, winner Best Foreign Actor for Gregory Peck from the David di Donatello Wards, Golden Globe winners Best Actor-Drama for Gregory Peck, Best Original Score for Elmer Bernstein and Best Film Promoting International Understanding. The list is almost endless!

I have always believed classrooms should carry this film, even with its delicate subject matter, because it is a teachable film. It is a story of humanity, lack of humanity, brutality, honorable actions and acceptance of those who might be different in so many different ways.

If it has been some time since you’ve seen the film, then see it again as well as introduce it to the next generation.

In the end – it is a sin to kill a mockingbird!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.