Hey, There Aren’t Any Robots in This! #1

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First things first, my name is Ben and I am your friendly neighborhood podcaster from The Adequately-Sized Podcast. My goal is to introduce you (and myself) to movies from yesteryear, be they classics or… not so classic. In most cases, there will be no robots, and I’m not sorry.

To Kill a Mockingbird is based on the novel by Harper Lee, directed by Robert Mulligan…

It follows attorney Atticus Finch and his two children Jem and Scout in the Depression-era south. Atticus is chosen to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. During this, Jem and Scout learn the secret of a mysterious neighbor named Boo Radley.

The movie itself is excellently cast; Gregory Peck’s slow drawl works perfectly for the genteel lawyer Atticus Finch. His kids Scout and Jem (Mary Badham and Phillip Alford) are the definition of precocious and really steal most of the movie from Atticus. All the secondary characters fit well, with standout performances during the trial scene by Brock Peters and Collin Wilcox Paxton, as the accused Tom Robinson and accuser Mayella Ewell, respectively. In a nearly silent role, we see the amazing Robert Duvall in his youth.

I’ve wanted to see this movie for years, and I consider myself a philistine for having not read the book or seen the movie. Let me just say: I’m glad I finally saw this. I came into this experience thinking hoping the movie would be an utter rejection and vilification of racism in the pre-civil rights era South. It wasn’t. After my initial disappointment receded, I realized that this movie deserves all the praise heaped upon it for 50 years because it didn’t reject the racism outright, but did it subtly through well-developed characters and their choices, culminating in Atticus’ closing argument of the trial which was much more powerful than if it had been a two hour lecture on why racism sucks.

If you haven’t seen this, see it. If you have, see it again. The message is still important, and even if it wasn’t the movie would still shine.

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