One of those books at whose feet the movies should cower, Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is too astute, too well-observed and to sure of its own voice to ever be sufficiently translated to the screen. Even so, this stuffy effort by director Robert Mulligan is a disappointment. So much of the novel’s reckless atmosphere is missing, while Mary Badham is nothing less than a crime as our beloved young Scout. But then there is Gregory Peck as Atticus, every inch the father of the book, and more so. Perhaps too much. Peck is so good – in a humbly noble, James Stewart and Tom Hanks sort of way – that this To Kill a Mockingbird becomes the story of Atticus, not Scout. Nominated for eight Oscars and winner of three, because it is, after all, an adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.
Could only be more promising if it was written by Barton Fink