To Kill A Mockingbird

It's hard to describe, more than 40 years after its release, the impact of To Kill A Mockingbird. The 1962 adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning book is one of the truest adaptations ever made; it's one of the most sensitive and layered portrayals of the American South committed to screen; it features the career-defining performance of the great Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch; and it informed and impacted generations about race and justice in America. It's also richly entertaining, beautifully filmed and surprisingly relevant. The primary action concerns Finch defending a black man wrongly accused of raping and beating a white woman, but the heart of the film is in Finch's relationship with his children, Jem and Scout, and his moral standing in the community — in this, Peck's Finch is the ultimate symbol of high-minded liberalism and tolerance. Universal's Legacy Series presents this two-disc reissue that honours the film through two beautiful full-length documentaries: Barbara Kopple's 1999 film A Conversation with Gregory Peck (far more than simply talking heads, it follows Peck along a college speaking tour), and the 1998 documentary Fearful Symmetry, a full-length making of. A commentary by director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan Pakula is unsurprisingly effusive about everything from Elmer Bernstein's stunning score to the casting process to a touching scene between Peck and Mary Badham's young Scout. It's impossible to overstate the accomplishment of the film and its legacy in film history; that this two-disc issue gives it proper due is the highest of praise. Plus: Peck's Best Actor Oscar speech, AFI Lifetime Achievement Award outtakes, more. (Universal)