“To Kill a Mockingbird” – Friday Movie

November 13, 2019 // Filed under Blog

On Friday, November 22 at 2:00 pm, Bernardsville Public Library will show a free screening of the movie classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical novel which was published two years earlier.

Set in a small Alabama town in the 1930s, the story focuses on scrupulously honest, highly respected lawyer Atticus Finch, magnificently played by Gregory Peck. Finch puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man accused of rape. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three—for Gregory Peck as lead actor, and for art direction and adapted screenplay.

A New York Times recommendation in 1963 called the movie “a sensitive adaptation of one of the best American novels of the 20th century.” It continued, “A staple of high school English classes, Harper Lee’s book is beloved because it teaches a historically and culturally important lesson about the scourge of racism in the American south, in a way that’s easy for anyone to follow.” One caveat offered was that it is a story of “racial prejudice told from the perspective of white people. In holding close to Lee’s book, the film uses the African-American characters mostly as targets of intolerance, and doesn’t explore their thoughts or lives.”

This classic film, which has been said to adhere to the novel’s focus on the accommodation politics of its time, was chosen to add context to the theatrical update now running on Broadway which focuses on the trial and racial injustice. Viewers are encouraged to linger after the film to talk about it. A brief document with background information will be provided to start the discussion, and there is always a spirited conversation about character, motivation and style.

Bernardsville Library’s movie series is funded by gifts to the Friends of the Bernardsville Library. The movies are selected for cultural enrichment and for appeal to a wide variety of tastes and interests in the community. The next film, “Yesterday,” will be shown on Friday, December 13 at 2:00 pm.

There is no charge to attend the movies; advance sign-up is requested, but not required. Click here to register, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

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