Sunday, July 11, 2010

As the Civil Rights Movement came to fruition in the early 1960s, the book struck a chord. So did the equally classic 1962 movie version, which in addition to Gregory Peck at the height of his fame, had quite a pedigree behind the camera. Alan Pakula produced it (though only his second feature as a producer, he later produced Klute, Sophie's Choice and other hits, as well as directing All the President's Men, etc.) Robert Mulligan directed, Elmer Bernstein wrote the musical score, and the screenplay was written by Horton Foote, the Texan playwright, who had written extensively for television drama and later wrote many acclaimed movie scripts, including Tender Mercies for Robert Duvall. Duvall’s first movie role was Boo Radley.

Harper Lee was a consultant on the movie and present for the filming (mostly on a backlot in California.) She and other participants formed lifelong friendships on that set. She and Gregory Peck in particular remained close. As she watched the first scene being shot she was seen to shed a few tears: he reminded her so much of her father. For his part, Peck’s grandson Harper Peck Voll is named after Harper Lee.

No comments: