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United States history film - Essay Example

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The film To Kill a Mockingbird by Robert Mulligan was released in 1962. The film’s running time is 128 minutes, and the same is distributed by Universal Pictures. Besides, Robert Mulligan and Alan J. Pakula are the producers of the film…
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United s History Film Review Assignment Summary The film To Kill a Mockingbird by Robert Mulligan was released in 1962. The film’s running timeis 128 minutes, and the same is distributed by Universal Pictures. Besides, Robert Mulligan and Alan J. Pakula are the producers of the film. The mastermind behind the film’s screenplay is Horton Foote. The main actors in the film include: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, and Phillip Alford. The film’s plot revolves around the topic of racism in the southern states in USA. To be specific, the film attaches great importance to the problem of racism, segregation and prejudice faced by the African-Americans. In addition, the plot develops through the viewpoint of two main characters, Scout and Jem. The director makes use of the protagonists (say, Scout and Jem) to unveil the real identity of the mysterious character of Arthur "Boo" Radley. The time period of the incidents in the film is 1930, in Alabama. In the film, the children enjoy immense freedom because their father (Atticus) is a lawyer. Once, they happen to watch a rape trial, which reveals the depth of prejudice based on racism against the black population. During the trial, the victim (Tom Robinson) was not allowed to prove his innocence. Later Arthur “Boo” Radley saves the protagonist’ life and proves that prejudice is based on rumors and not on solid evidence. On the other side, Tom Robinson becomes the victim of racism, but his victimization is a hard blow on the prejudice and segregation based on racial identity. The Reviews Within the context of the film, the review (15 February 1963) by Bosley Crowther, a special reviewer at The New York Times, is noteworthy. Bosley Crowther, in the movie review in The New York Times, stated that, “It is, in short, on the level of adult awareness of right and wrong, of good and evil, that most of the action in the picture occurs.” The main ideas unearthed by the reviewer include the film’s plot and the difference between immature (children) view on racism and the mature (adult) view on the same. On the other side, Tammy Castleman’s review which appeared in 2000 is noteworthy because the same deals with the relevance of the film in the new millennium. Tammy Castleman opined that, “In its film version, To Kill a Mockingbird only touches on the issues of femininity” (84). In this work (say, book), Tammy Castleman unveils the difference between the film and the novel. The authors of the reviews deal with the film from different viewpoints because Bosley Crowther’s review was published in 1963 and Tammy Castleman’s review was released in 2000. Both reviews are equally convincing because one needs to consider the fact that the first review appeared in the second half of the twentieth century and the second one appeared towards the end of the twentieth century. One can see that Bosley Crowther was influenced by his own historical context and Tammy Castleman is influenced by the world outlook. If Bosley Crowther attempts to write the review in the 2000s, the output will be similar to Tammy Castleman’s review. In short, both reviewers give high importance to the treatment of racism in southern states as the most important theme in the film. Historical Analysis & Opinion The film To Kill a Mockingbird, released in the 1960s, can be considered as the director’s/ scriptwriter’s/author’s protest against racism in the southern states. The film represents the past because it portrays the hardships faced by the African Americans in the mainstream society. The film suggests that in the past, the African Americans had less access to civil rights in America. But one can see that the present condition is entirely different because the Civil Rights Movement reduced racism in the society to an extent. Besides, the protagonists (Scout and Jem) are not depicted in the film with prejudice, but they were forced to witness the negative effect of prejudice on African Americans. The film conveys the message that prejudice prevents upward mobility of the African Americans because they are the victims of prejudice. The time period (1960s), place (fictitious city in Alabama), and people (African Americans) portrayed in the film are accurate because the African Americans in the southern states were forced to face racism in the 1960s. The producer/director chose to portray the past through the view point of children because the same is convincing to the viewers. From a different angle of view, the film is set in the past but deals with contemporary issues in the society. For instance, racism and related issues lead the African Americans to face a number of problems in the contemporary society. In addition, the film is relevant today because the problem of racism is an unresolved issue in the society. I like this film because the same plays the role of an eye-opener to the dominant race in the society. I recommend this film to the history students because it is related to the hardships faced by the members of African American community. This film contributes to U.S. history by portraying the grass root level reason behind the problems faced by the African Americans in the southern states. Works Cited Crowther, Bosley. “To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Screen: 'To Kill a Mockingbird': One Adult Omission in a Fine Film 2 Superb Discoveries Add to Delight.” The New York Times 15 Feb. 1963. Web. 24 September 2012. Castleman, Tammy. CliffsNotes on Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Foster City: John Wiley & Sons, 2000. Print. Read More
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