There are some films that stick in the minds of moviegoers everywhere, even decades after they’ve left the silver screen. Midtown Cinema has created a series devoted to the appreciation of those films—the ones we find ourselves going back to over and over, the ones that make us think, make us feel, that keep the allure of the cinema alive.
And what better way to start off this series than with the film, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” An adaptation of Harper Lee’s beloved book of the same name, Robert Mulligan’s film gives us a glimpse into the South in the time of the Great Depression and delves into racism and injustice in the judicial system in a way that remains relevant today.
The film follows two main threads, each predominantly seen from the perspective of 6-year-old Scout (Mary Badham). Scout is the avid tagalong in the antics of her older brother, Jem (Phillip Alford), who is a bit obsessed with Boo Radley, the purportedly mad son of a man who lives down the street. And though their father (Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck) tells them to leave the family alone, the children can’t help but pry.
But the most important thread in the film is Atticus’ story. Atticus Finch is a lawyer and happens to be presiding over a very difficult case—he is defending a black man accused of raping a white woman. As Atticus fights the injustice of the man’s plight, he strives to raise his children to see that injustice. Scout’s 6-year-old perspective—still absorbing her surroundings and crafting her worldview—makes for a very interesting window through which to see the case.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” remains a powerful story, speaking not only to the racism and prejudice of its time but to what remains under the surface (or not-so-under the surface) of today’s society. While the book will always be this reviewer’s choice—the movie adheres pretty closely to the book, but for length’s purposes has to leave a lot of nuance out—the film does give us fantastic performances by Peck, Badham and Alford.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” plays Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 at Midtown Cinema, 250 Reily St., Harrisburg. For more information, visit www.midtowncinema.com.
3rd in the Burg $3 Movie
“The Toxic Avenger” (1986)
Friday, Aug. 16, 9:30 p.m.
“A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (1969)
Sunday, Aug. 18, 2 p.m.
Down in Front! Presents
“Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)
Friday, Aug. 23, 9:30 p.m.
Film Appreciation Series
“To Kill A Mockingbird” (1962)
Sunday, Aug. 25, 2 p.m. (with post-screening discussion)
Monday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 9
“Paddington 2” (2017)
Friday, Aug. 30
All outdoor films start at dusk.