TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
1962, Universal, 129 min, USA, Dir: Robert Mulligan

Hollywood pro Robert Mulligan pulls off the rarest of achievements with this adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel: He brings a great book to the screen and improves upon it. Gregory Peck is superb as a small-town lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape. But what distinguishes the film is director Mulligan's deft use of subjective camerawork to approximate the point of view of the children who struggle to understand the case. Peck, screenwriter Horton Foote and a team of art directors that included the legendary Henry Bumstead deservedly won Oscars for their work on this timeless classic. Robert Duvall makes his feature debut as Boo Radley.


MANHATTAN MELODRAMA
1934, Warner Bros., 93 min, USA, Dir: W.S. Van Dyke, George Cukor (uncredited)

Hard gambler and racketeer Edward "Blackie" Gallagher (Clark Gable) and bookish district attorney and would-be governor Jim Wade (William Powell) have been lifelong friends, brought together by their both being orphans. When Blackie's girlfriend, Eleanor (Myrna Loy), leaves him for the more sensible Jim, there are no ill feelings between the friends, but when Blackie kills the D.A. running opposite Jim for the election of governor, Jim must face the most difficult case of his career: convicting his best friend of murder. The first of 14 onscreen pairings between Loy and Powell, and made in the same year as their most famous film, THE THIN MAN. Look for Mickey Rooney in one of his earliest roles, playing Blackie as a child. MANHATTAN MELODRAMA has become infamous as the last film seen by gangster John Dillinger before he was gunned down leaving Chicago's Biograph Theater.


THE VERDICT
1982, 20th Century Fox, 129 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet (PRINCE OF THE CITY, DOG DAY AFTERNOON) directs Paul Newman as Frank Galvin, a washed-up alcoholic Boston lawyer who is tossed a malpractice case by a successful colleague (Jack Warden). Ready to settle out of court until he realizes the full impact of what has happened to his client’s family, he stubbornly digs in, taking on the Catholic archdiocese, which runs the offending hospital, and its condescending shark of a lawyer (James Mason). Behind the scenes, Galvin tries to navigate the rough terrain of his romance with younger Laura (Charlotte Rampling). Nominated for five Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Newman), Supporting Actor (Mason), Director (Lumet), Screenplay (David Mamet). "The performances, the dialogue and the plot all work together like a rare machine." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


Syndicate content