To Kill a Mockingbird celebrates its 50th anniversary with a commemorative Limited Edition Collector’s Series Blu-ray™ out on 13 February 2012 from Universal Pictures UK.
To mark the occasion here are 50 facts about the film.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Gregory Peck:
- Gregory Peck’s 9 minute summation speech in To Kill A Mockingbird was nailed in only one take
- Gregory Peck won his first and only Academy Award® in 1963 for his role as Atticus Finch
- After being offered the part of Atticus Finch, Gregory Peck read Harper Lee’s novel in one sitting and called Robert Mulligan immediately after to say that he would play the part
- Gregory Peck’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was stolen. Other stars have been taken during construction projects but Gregory Peck’s was sawed out of the cement sidewalk. The star was replaced but the thief and the missing star have never been found
- Gregory Peck was active in many charities, Peck also served as chairman (1967-1969) of the American Film Institute and President (1967-1970) of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
5 Facts about Robert Duvall:
- His role as Boo Radley was his first ‘major’ role since his 1956 motion picture debut as an MP in Somebody Up There Likes Me.
- Duvall was cast as Boo Radley on the recommendation of screenwriter Horton Foote who met him during Foote’s 1957 production of the play: The Midnight Caller.
- Duvall and several other cast members of To Kill a Mockingbird has also appeared in episodes of the original Twilight Zone TV series.
- Duvall has won an Academy Award, 2 Emmy’s, 4 Golden Globes and a BAFTA
- Has had a role in more American Film Institute Top 100 films than any other actor. Includes To Kill a Mockingbird, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Parts I & II, MASH and Network.
5 Facts about Brock Peters:
- Brock Peters delivered Gregory Peck‘s eulogy on the day of his funeral and burial, June 16 2003
- His real name is George Fisher
- Brock began to cry while shooting the testifying scene with no rehearsal; Gregory Peck said that he couldn’t look him in the eye during the scene without choking up himself
- He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre
- Accolades include a SAG award for Lifetime achievement, National Film Society Award and a Tony Award nomination for Broadway’s Lost in the Stars
20 Facts About To Kill a Mockingbird:
- Despite their close characters, Mary Badham (Scout) and Phillip Alford (Jem) did not get along while filming. Mary would mimic Phillip saying his lines off camera so that he couldn’t concentrate
- Phillip Alford who played Jem, had trouble eating certain foods for years after; particularly bacon and eggs as they had to eat their food repeatedly until they got the scenes right
- Robert Duvall made his debut playing the character Boo Radley. To prepare for the role Duvall spent six weeks out of the sun so he would look the part of a person who had spent most of his life indoors
- When the marble rolls during the opening credits, several members of the camera crew can be seen reflected in it
- The watch used in the film was a prop, but Harper Lee gave Gregory Peck her father’s watch after the film was completed because he reminded her so much of him. Gregory Peck wore this to the Academy Awards
- Hollywood studios were initially reluctant to buy the film rights, as they deemed it lacked action, love story and the villain doesn’t get his comeuppance
- The Courthouse that was copied for the film is still in Monroeville, Alabama. It is now a museum dedicated to the book, movie and the lives represented in the work
- Every year the town of Monroeville produces a community play based on the book held at held at the courthouse
- The film ranks twenty-fifth on the American Film Institute’s list of greatest American movies of all time.
- AFI named Atticus Finch as the greatest movie hero of all time in 2003
- AFI acknowledged To Kill A Mockingbird as the best film in the courtroom drama genre in 2008
- To Kill A Mockingbird marks the film debuts of Robert Duvall, William Windom and Alice Ghostley
- The film premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City
- To Kill A Mockingbird was the first of six films director Robert Mulligan made with his producer partner; Alan J Pakula
- Mary Badham became the youngest girl to receive a Oscar nomination. However lost out to another child actress: Patty Duke
- In 1995 To Kill A Mockingbird was selected to be preserved in the USA’s National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being ‘culturally, historically and aesthetically’ significant
- The estimated production costs were around $2,000,000 but the film ended up grossing over $13,000,000
- To Kill A Mockingbird is Clark Kent’s favourite movie in the Superman comics
- Brock Peters, who played Tom Robinson, read Gregory Pecks eulogy when he died
- Scout’s real name is actually Jean Louise
5 Award Facts about To Kill a Mockingbird
- Gregory Peck won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Atticus Finch
- To Kill A Mockingbird won the Gary Cooper Award at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival
- The film won 3 of its 8 Oscar nominations
- The film also won 3 Golden Globe Awards
- The film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards
5 Memorable Quotes from To Kill A Mockingbird:
- Atticus Finch: “If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
- Older Scout: [narrating] “There just didn’t seem to be anyone or anything Atticus couldn’t explain. Though it wasn’t a talent that would arouse the admiration of any of our friends, Jem and I had to admit he was very good at that – but that was *all* he was good at… we thought.”
- Miss Maudie Atkinson: [about Atticus] “He can do plenty of things… He can make somebody’s will so airtight you can’t break it. You count your blessings and stop complaining, both of you. Thank your stars he has the sense to act his age.”
- Scout: “Jem is up in a tree, he said he won’t come down until you agree to play football with the Methodists.”
- Atticus Finch: Good Afternoon Miss Dubose… My, you look like a picture this afternoon.
Scout: [hiding behind Atticus whispering to Jem and Dill] He don’t say a picture of what.
5 Facts about Harper Lee
- Harper Lee won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for To Kill A Mockingbird
- To Kill A Mockingbird is Harper Lee’s only published novel
- In 2007 Harper Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the United States for her contribution to literature
- Gregory Peck’s grandson Harper Peck Voll is named after her as she became close friends with the actor
- As a child Lee was best friends with her schoolmate and neighbour: Truman Capote, whom she assisted in research for his best-selling book In Cold Blood
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ 50th Anniversary’ and ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ are released on Blu-ray on February 13 from Universal Pictures UK as part of the Limited Edition Digibook Collector’s Series celebrating Universal Pictures’ 100th Anniversary