To Kill a Mockingbird: Collector's Edition (1962)
Featurette-Making Of-Fearful Symmetry (DD2.0, 1.85:1, 4x3, 90:13 minutes)
Audio Commentary-Robert Mulligan (Director) & Alan Pakula (Producer)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-(DD2.0, 1.33:1, 2:52 minutes)
|Year Of Production||1962|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (94:24)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Robert Mulligan|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The film begins by recounting the long, warm summer days of the author's youth, soon followed by the beginning of school. In this, as in all of the film, the time and effort taken in recreating the feel and mood of the times is wonderfully repaid as the viewer becomes part of the setting (and perhaps our own childhood memories are rekindled). We are reminded that there are more than simple children's games going on, as Atticus is approached by the town's Judge to provide legal defense for a young black man charged with the rape of a white woman. That the man is innocent, in fact that he is physically incapable of committing the crime, is ignored by many in the town as they try to reconcile their own immutable social conditioning with what has really happened. The girl's father, Bob Ewell (James Anderson) is an example of the very worst kind of a man, the behaviour and attitude of whom are at the opposite extreme of what Atticus tries to instil in his children. Unfortunately, as Atticus admits to Jem, it's impossible for him to protect his children from the evils of the world forever. There are many contrasts for the children to learn and understand. For example, in spite of Atticus rejecting the use of guns, and preventing his son from owning one, he shows in one scene that he is in fact a fine marksman himself.
The children have their own, simple, strain of bigotry, expressed in their stories of a hideous man-monster - Boo Radley (Robert Duvall) - living in the house of their neighbour and only coming out to roam the streets of a night. That they have never seen or even heard Boo for real doesn't deter them in lavishing ever more fantasy on his story. That it should all turn out to be so far from the truth is part of the magic that makes this film so special.
There is no action of any real kind in this film. In fact it could almost be described as being "slow". Yet this is part of the magic that unfurls on the screen, and which really can't be described adequately here. It is because this is a story as seen by the children, for whom (as we all know), time seems to crawl by so slowly. This is a film about story, and characterizations and remembrance of a previous age, and has been made with very real love and care. It is full of very special moments, such as when Scout is told to stand as Atticus is walking out of the courtroom because her "daddy is passing", or in the bare one or two minutes in which Robert Duvall is on screen and utters not a single word. Within minutes of the opening we have been literally beguiled into the world of the depression era rural township, into the world of the children. That Gregory Peck simply IS Atticus Finch is a remarkable testament to his legendary star status.
The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced, but the quality of the transfer is such that this does not show up as a significant problem. Black and white films seem to bear up relatively better than colour prints in this area but, of course, I would much rather have had the full widescreen enhancement for even better quality.
Image sharpness is extremely good, especially so for a film of almost 40 years of age. By modern standards, the picture would be considered slightly soft but still yields remarkable detail. One such example is the clarity of reflections that are frequently seen in Atticus' reading glasses - there are no blurs or smudges at any point. Shadow detail is similarly clearly rendered. In fact, the black and white image seems to lend shadows a certain type of magic, where foreground imagery is crystal clear and background shadow begins to merge seamlessly into the dark. There is no low level noise and scarcely any grain - see 78:05 and 121:00 for a couple of rare examples of minor grain.
The black and white adds to the setting of the film and prevents the story from being overpowered by overt displays of colour. Several of the night scenes, the last couple in particular, I think benefit especially from this. The greyscale graduation is wonderfully recorded, and allows for wide and clear contrast between the various objects on screen. At one stage this huge range of different shades led me to feel that there were no real blacks to be had on screen, but this turns out not to be the case.
There were no MPEG compression artefacts to be seen throughout the film. Aliasing did show up, once worth mentioning at 37:12 just to show how trivial this was.
Film artefacts can certainly be found, such as at 16:17 where a faint blemish running the full height of the picture persists for some time. Reel change marks begin at 17:29 and then at intervals of about 20 minutes thereafter. Finally, tiny scratch marks are dotted throughout, but they are so small you actually have to look for them to see them. Notwithstanding these comments, the general feel is that the picture is nigh on pristine.
The disc is formatted as a dual layer DVD, with the layer change coming at 94:24 midway through a scene. Perhaps the first layer was crammed full by that stage, because an ideal spot for the change comes just a few minutes later in a fade out to a night scene. In any case it is a relatively quick change and not too troublesome.
The weakest part of the soundtrack, in my opinion, is the occasional lack of clarity of the children's dialogue. Scout is the worst offender in this regard, and there were a couple of times when I resorted to the subtitles to understand what was being said. No doubt the problem is caused by a combination of the youth and inexperience of the children (none of them had had any serious acting experience) together with the southern accents they possess. It goes without saying that Atticus' dialogue, and that of the other adults, is never less than crystal clear.
Special mention must be made of the beautiful musical score created by Elmer Bernstein. The Children's Theme is an especially lovely piece of music that seems to blend with the film's mood to perfection. A comment is made during the audio commentary that it would have been a very different viewing experience in the absence of the music, and I entirely agree. From the opening credits, the music is enough to bring tears to your eyes with its simple beauty. This is repeated several times to great effect during the more important parts of the film, and several other themes were composed to add to other dramatic scenes. I found myself replaying the opening credits several times just to hear the music.
There is no use made of the surround channels or the subwoofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Richter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)|