14 February 2012

Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (Film: 50th Anniversary Edition)

I know you've seen the movie To Kill a Mockingbird and I bet you love it just as much as I do. I had the great good luck to see the movie again on BluRay, out last month from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Let me just say that I loved this edition. The quality of the picture and sound were stupendous. And everything, from the rabid dog scene to the courtroom scene, was just as moving, exciting, and heartfelt as I remembered it.

But what's really incredible about the special 50th Anniversary To Kill a Mockingbird edition is the bonus materials. There are over 3 hours of them, and every one is fascinating. This is truly a copy to own and one that you'll view many times.

There is so much on this disc that I'm simply going to copy the promo information, then I'll talk about some of my favorites.

  • Fearful Symmetry— A feature-length documentary on the making of To Kill a Mockingbird with cast and crew interviews and a visit to author Harper Lee's home town.
  • A Conversation with Gregory Peck— An intimate feature-length documentary on one of the most beloved actors in film history with interviews, film clips, home movies and more.
  • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics— An in-depth look at the film restoration process
  • Academy Award® Best Actor Acceptance Speech— Gregory Peck's speech after winning the Academy Award® for his performance as Atticus Finch.
  • American Film Institute Life Achievement Award— Gregory Peck's memorable remarks upon receiving the AFI Life Achievement Award.
  • Excerpt from “Tribute To Gregory Peck”— Cecilia Peck's heartwarming farewell to her father given at the Academy in celebration of his life.
  • Scout Remembers— Actress Mary Badham shares her experiences working with Gregory Peck.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Robert Mulligan and Producer Alan Pakula
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
Mr. BFR and I watched the BluRay edition of the movie one night and then watched the bonus materials over two more evenings. I recommend watching all the features, but three of them really stand out.

In Fearful Symmetry the actors and writers talk about the making of the feature film, and we're treated to vintage photos and movies and interviews with people who knew Harper Lee when she was young. The commentary in this bonus film is not to be missed, and it alone is worth the cost of the DVD/BluRay.

A Conversation with Gregory Peck was filmed and produced by his daughter, and through this documentary we really get to know Peck, his family life, stories of his career, and of course backstage tales of To Kill a Mockingbird. I have always loved Peck, and this was a wonderful look at his life.

Scout Remembers also interesting because we get to see Mary Badham as an adult and learn about the close relationship she had with Peck all her life.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment did a wonderful job on this anniversary edition, and I can't say enough good things about it. I thank them for the opportunity to review it.

Take a look at the 50th Anniversary Edition trailer to learn more about this not-to-miss version of To Kill a Mockingbird.


bermudaonion 2/14/12, 7:43 AM  

Oh my gosh, I've got to get a copy of that! It sounds like the movie moved the actors as well as those of us who watched it.

Beth Hoffman 2/14/12, 9:32 AM  

I didn't know it was now available on BluRay!

Daryl 2/14/12, 9:37 AM  

an incredible film .. an even more incredible book ..

Maude Lynn 2/14/12, 10:26 AM  

This sounds marvelous!

Jennie 2/14/12, 10:45 AM  

This is going on my birthday wish list. Love it!

Martha @ Hey, I want to read that 2/14/12, 11:08 AM  

This is one of the only movies I think is as good as the book and this is hands down my favorite book. And the movie is just beautiful when Reverend Sykes says "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. You're fathers passing" it just gets me every time. I think I'm going to go order this today.

Sandy Nawrot 2/14/12, 11:56 AM  

This is SO on my list! We recently got a remastered Blu Ray Gone With the Wind that has oodles of extra stuff as well. And we got the enhanced set of LOTR as well. We are into this stuff, especially when you can learn about the actors and the behind the scenes facts. Love it!

Unknown 2/14/12, 12:19 PM  

I will be purchasing this very soon!! I've seen a lot of interviews and talks with the actors and read much more too, it is truly my favorite book and movie. I hope the DVD is good, we don't have a blu ray player yet :(. Thanks so much for telling us about this.

Zibilee 2/14/12, 12:20 PM  

Though I have read the book several times, I have not yet seen the movie, which is one reason that your post entices me! I need to see if I can grab this and give it a go. It seems like I have really been missing out!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 2/14/12, 2:18 PM  

I haven't seen it!! I'll be on the lookout for it--the extras sound amazing. Also need to re-read the book.

Julie P. 2/14/12, 7:03 PM  

Squeeee! I absolutely love that movie!

Nise' 2/14/12, 9:48 PM  

I love that it has bonus material! This may be what I spend my Valentine money on!

dog eared copy 2/14/12, 9:54 PM  

When I originally read this book, it was being covered in my high school class and; I really didn't care for it all. Years later, when it was selected for a SLAM group listen, I got the edition narrated by Sissy Spacek; and it blew me away! I loved it! I could go on for days about it; but what's more to the point here is that I watched the movie right after finishing the book. The part where Scout asks about her mother and Atticus is on the porch? An incredibly poignant scene that I thought was worthy to have been included in the book itself. I definitely have to put this 50th Anniversary edition on my wish list :-)

Anonymous,  2/14/12, 10:01 PM  

I adore this movie, even if I did have to watch it ten bajillion times as a substitute teacher. I swear it's every English teacher's favorite emergency lesson plan.

caite 2/14/12, 11:12 PM  

love that book...love that movie...but 3 hours bonus material! that sounds fantastic!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 2/15/12, 9:47 AM  

I've only seen the movie on TV and that was years ago. This will be great with no interruptions and much better quality than the old tube.

Kailana 2/16/12, 2:36 AM  

I really need to get around to this book. I haven't seen the movie yet, either...

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