Monday, December 22, 2008


I couldn't not blog the passing of Robert Mulligan, the film's director.
We owe him a debt of gratitude for a great film.
The importance of the story, the significance of its release at that time, the acting, the cinematography, the amazing score, the whole film.............Perfect.
Yes, it's my Number One..amid about 238942743 Number Two's....

God rest his soul.


Jungle Mom said...

I made all of my children read the book and then watch the film. I feel it had so much to offer and who could ever forget Scout????

CJ said...
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CJ said...
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Brooke said...

I had no idea he'd passed. Thanks for the update.

Ducky's here said...

It's too bad his "Love with a Proper Stranger" is out of print.

He was an actor's director and got a very good performance from both Natalie Wood and McQueen.

One of the only (if not the only) absolutely pro-life film that isn't preachy.

Anonymous said...

I agree Z. That was an OUTSTANDING movie!


Chuck said...

I'm with you, Z, one of my favorites. My dad's family is from the south and I was a huge fan of the book as a child. Remember the young Robert Duvall? Great movie.

Z said...

Chuck, many people forget that's Robert Duval..Boo Radley, right?

There is SO MUCh in that many 'layers' many subjects, truths, etc's really got it all.

shoprat said...

I always wondered why she called her father Atticus.

Anonymous said...

I have a great love for To Kill A Mockingbird, myself. I was in college when it first came out. I went to the theater alone. It was a good thing, because after it was over, I wept uncontrollably. I had walked to the theater, and couldn't go back to the dorm for a long while. I just walked and walked and couldn't stop crying. I don't think I was ever so moved before in my life --- and I am not shamed to admit it.

Atticus Finch and Gregory Peck became one and the same in my mind. It was his finest performance by far, I think.

I'm so glad you love Elmer Bernstein's musical score, Z. It is haunting, evocative, agonizingly beautiful --- a perfect means of emphasizing and illustrating the moral and philosophical points of the narrative, as music composed for the movies often was in the great days of cinematic art. Few moviegoers realize the tremendous contribution the "background music" makes to most of the best films.

Eric Korngold, Dimitri Tiomkin, Bronislau Kaper, Alex North, and of course Max Steiner who composed the music for Gone With The Wind and many of Bette Davis's greatest triumphs. And then there was Hugo Friedlander who brilliantly composed the wholesome, thoroughly English-sounding, absolutely charming music for the Bishop's Wife. Adolf Deutsch, who composed the score for The Maltese Falcon was no slouch either. And then there was Bernard Herrmann, whose score for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ---full of mystery, enchantment, the lure of the sea and a sense of timelessness is probably my favorite of all.

Everyone remembers Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Ingrid Berman, Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotton, Orson Wells, et al., but how many would recognize the names of the composers I just listed? How many realize that the great stars we so admire would have had far less impact had the complex, imaginative, wonderfully expressive musical accompaniment had been absent from their films?

So I too love To Kill a Mockingbird, but after having seen it for the umpteenth time just a day or two ago, I think The Bishop's Wife has to be my very favorite film --- if I had to choose just one.

Thank God I don't.


~ FreeThinke

Z said...

shoprat...I found it odd they called their Dad by his name, too...maybe it's a Southern thing??!
strange, wasn't it.

FT...THE BISHOP'S WIFE is SO SO good, isn't it?
I've seen it twice in the last few weeks and I think we own it, too.
I LOVE that line to the bishop "please, have a seat.." he waddles around with that chair stuck to his bottom and says " have one!"

wonderful stuff!

And, isn't Loretta YOung BEAUTIFUL? I adore Monty Woolly, too...and SYLVESTER the cabbie! SO SO CUTE! What's Dudley say "His children and his children's children shall call him bless-ed"...OH, I am SUCH a sucker for good stuff like that!

christian soldier said...

I was 'racking' my brain as what movies I would rent for Christmas Day--Thank you for reminding me of To...A Mockingbird..

Ducky's here said...

Free thinker no Nino Rota?

There's also David Raskin for "Laura".

Does anyone remember the name of the actress who turned down Jean Tierney's part and later said "Yes, I turned it down. They sent me the script instead of the score."

Was it Joan Fontaine?

Z said...

Ducky, I don't know, but what a compliment to the

I LOVE "Laura"'s got everything, including CLIFTON WEBB. Bliss.

Christian Soldier...terrific!!

Always On Watch said...

In the case of To Kill A Mockingbird, the movie was every bit as good as the book.

Anonymous said...

Are we really to believe that you watched the nearly quarter billion movies you call number two? At two hours a film, it would have taken nearly 60 000 years to watch them.

Why did I have to be born an engineer?

--Tio Bowser

ps: what is hyperbole?

Z said...

AOW, exactly true.

Tio....yes, very engineer-like..(TOO engineer-like)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ducky. I haven't seen Laura in years, because AMC got taken over by imbeciles who put in commercials and stopped showing the great old films in favor of stuff I regard as undesirable. Believe it or not the composer's names was David Raksin. I thought it was Raskin too for a long time, but it isn't. And yes the music for Laura is enchanting. Without it the film would be far less so.

Just learned that Raksin lived to the age of ninety-two. Amazing for a composer!

BTW did you see Renee Fleming as Blanche Dubois in Previn's incredibly good opera based on Streetcar? I thought it was far better than Williams's play, but then I'm unusually partial to serious music. Too bad there isn't more of a market for such fare!

Didn't know that anyone but Gene Tierney was considered for that role. I enjoy some of Fontaine's stuff -- particularly Rebecca --- but she was nowhere near beautiful enough to be Laura in my never humble opinion.

Tell me more about Nino Rota. Then name's familiar, but I can't place it with a movie.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, Ducky!

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Z, it's one of my favorite books and movies! But for such different reasons. Oh, how I loved Gregory Peck in the movie.
Scout, Jem, and even Boo.
I wanted to BE Atticus Finch when I grew up.
Ahhh, I love this movie!!!

Z said...

FT...REBECCA..WHAT a story and what a beautiful film. That haunting of Rebecca when the truth was SO different.
I ADORE George Sanders, don't you?

And yes, LAURA, the theme song is absolutely's got a kind of haunting thing going on in the melody, too.
Gene Tierney was SO lovely, you're right

Streetcar's always bothered me for some reason....that faded beauty, reliant on 'strangers' thing feels bad to me...always has. "STELLA!" yuck. I'm no Marlon fan, either.

Pinky....You wanted TO BE Atticus, huh? Other girls want to be princesses!!! (where are you? At your Mom's yet?) xxx

CJ said...

FT and anyone who's interested, may I recommend Netflix for movies of all genres you can get on DVD in the mail, or over your PC instantly (I've watched dozens this way) or even instantly on your TV if you invest in some sort of gizmo that makes it possible. No commercials, wide variety available. I put "Laura" on my list after reading the posts here.

I went and watched TKAM on Netflix last night because of this discussion, to remind myself of it, and I did appreciate it a lot more than I remember it on my first view years ago. The kids were great, but the court scene and some of the acting was too melodramatic for me.

Gayle said...

I don't think that the fact that they called their Dad by his name is a southern thing, Z. At least it isn't in Texas. I don't know any children who call their parents by their first names. Some call them Mom or Dad, and in public many of them call them Mam or Sir, but they don't call them by their first name. I found it to be a bit strange that they did that in the film too.

My daughter had to write a book report on the book. She had to do that when she was actually too young to understand the book. She hated it! Later, after she got older, she read the book again and loved both it and the movie.

It's also one of my all time favorites. :)

CJ said...
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CJ said...

Calling your parents by their first names is a "progressive" ("liberal") thing I believe, a clue to Atticus' character. TKAM is a very well done movie overall, and I gather the book was very good to begin with, and its theme is important and so on, but I can't help thinking of it as a leftie propaganda type film. Of course there are -- or were -- such people as the degenerate poor whites in it, and I agree with the plea for the blacks that Atticus makes in the court, but at the same time it's like it is intent on creating its own stereotypes to counter the old ones, the superior progressive lawyer who could be working for the ACLU, with a progressive classical name yet (not Christian), the precocious children raised in a progressive home, the poor white woman who is intent on seducing the black man, the white men who are nothing but barbarians and so on.

Anonymous said...

Originating from the deep south, I assure you , that calling one's parents by their given name is NOT a southern thang.

Atticus was a modern, progressive man.

Loved the book, read it in junior high , ninth grade.
However, seeing it on the film that was shown in school, it seems like they left out a lot of the business with Ms,Duboir and her morphine addiction.

Maybe I have seen the movie and read the story too much.

And I too, loved the movie: Laura, and Rebecca.

And yes, southerners do call those huge wardrobes :chiffrobes.

Z said...

Chiffrobe sounds very French, WV...

Duboir? Morphine addiction? Is that Blanche DuBois from Streetcar Names Desire? Or where does this addict fit in the Mockingbird book? It's been a LONG time since I read Mockingbird.........

I couldn't imagine the South would let kids call the parents by their first names because I think of the South having particularly good, traditional manners, but I could only guess what the reason was.
I figure it's because Atticus was progressive, just doesn't feel right. Not back then, anyway. VERY interesting point.

Ducky's here said...

Freethinker, I wasn't aware an opera of "Streetcar" had been done.

That's an intriguing idea.

Anonymous said...

Wow I can't believe that! The movie was great, but personally I enjoyed the book more. I just feel it went much deeper than the movie allowed, although I'm sure if the movie had been longer it would have been even more amazing!