A Few Words About A few words about... To Kill a Mockingbird

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    When Universal Home Video first released To Kill a Mockingbird on DVD in 1998, it was a state of the art presentation, and Universal stood at the technical fore with its compression facility and the beginnings of their DVD special editions, many ported over from laser disc.

    For the past couple of years, and knowing that terrific people were in place in their home video area, they seemed to be nonetheless not firing on all twelve cylinders.

    It couldn't please me more to see what they've done with the new Legacy Series, represented with the release today of To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sting and The Deer Hunter.

    With quality packaging and software, To Kill a Mockingbird is finally presented via the latest technology with all of the care that the film deserves. The image quality is at last getting back to where it should be, and is commensurate with this release.

    I'll make a brief comparison with King Kong, which has been on the boards at Warner for ages and is nearing release, and which has been acknowledged as a problem film for decades.

    Most people would make the assumption that a film of the importance of Mockingbird would be protected with redundancy. But much of its original negative no longer survives. Master fine grain elements are missing, damaged or problematic. Like other black and white releases of the era, many prints were struck directly off the original camera negative, essentially wearing it out.

    The most recent work, both photochemical and digital has restored it to a position nearing its original look.

    In short, Universal is hitting the level of quality they once held as their norm. Not only have they bettered the previous release in every way, but To Kill a Mockingbird is a DVD worthy of the highest industry standards.

    A must buy of one of the most important films ever created!

    RAH
     
  2. Dale MA

    Dale MA Screenwriter

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    Fantastic news. I'm extremely happy with the care that Universal is taking with this Legacy Series, I'm already importing all three of the new Legacy Series DVDs to the UK and I will snap up any future LS DVDs that Universal release if they keep up the fantastic work [​IMG]
     
  3. Joel...Lane

    Joel...Lane Second Unit

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    When NBC and Universal merged they gave all employees a gift to celebrate the new alliance. It's a nice 4 disc dvd collection of "specially selected" movies and tv shows that represented the best of both companies.

    From NBC: 25 Years of SNL and the pilot of the original Law and Order. (VERY bad transfer!)

    From Universal: E.T. and To Kill A Mockingbird.

    I'm certainly no expert on video and film transfers, but I've seen it once, TKAM, and remember it being a fairly decent transfer.

    But you're spot on about one thing though Robert, it is a fantastic movie!
     
  4. Matt Birchall

    Matt Birchall Supporting Actor

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    Very glad to hear about the new transfer, but I am wondering if all of the extras from the prior release were ported over to the new one:

    -Commentary with Mulligan and Pakula
    -"Fearful Symmetry (The Making of. . .)"
    -Production Notes
    -Cast and Filmmakers' Bios
    -Theatrical Trailer

    Went through the old disc over the weekend, and while the old transfer left much to be desired, the documentary (1:30!) was fantastic. I hope that it made it over to the new version (along with the commentary). Looking forward to picking up the new one.
     
  5. Dale MA

    Dale MA Screenwriter

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    Here's the extras Matt, straight from amazon.com:

    - Feature Commentary with Director Robert Mulligan and Producer Alan Pakula

    - Making of Documentary: Fearful Symmetry

    - A Conversation with Gregory Peck

    - Academy Award Best Actor Acceptance Speech

    - American Film Institute Life Achievment Award

    - Excerpt from Academy Tribute to Gregory Peck

    - Scout Remembers

    - Theatrical Trailer


    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...v=glance&s=dvd
     
  6. Matt Birchall

    Matt Birchall Supporting Actor

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    Right on. My computer's been a little gimpy lately, so I haven't been checking out the usual spots as much. Plus, there hasn't been a whole lot of info here--until now, anyway. Glad to see that all of the important supplements made it over to the new set.

    Thanks for the info, and thanks to Mr. Harris for starting the thread. . .
     
  7. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Good to hear that Universal may be turning the corner on their DVD quality, which has certainly been lacking in many respects.

    Do these new LS releases have forced trailers?
     
  8. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    Question for you film library/studio catalog buffs:

    Any speculation on what future titles might (or should) become part of the Legacy Series? I was very glad to see the first press release for these three titles and I hope more of their classic films are on the way.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    No forced trailers or "don't copy" promos.
     
  10. Kain_C

    Kain_C Screenwriter

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    Bought this and The Sting, but am debating buying The Deer Hunter because of the special feature snafu. I don't like the cover either but that doesn't usually influence my decision. I already own the VHS and previous DVD version, and have seen this film plenty, but I would like an anamorphic version with better PQ.

    I do like the packaging. Really nice to the touch and a nice sophisticated look to it. I hope the inner trays don't come apart like my Lawrence of Arabia discs tho. [​IMG]

    Good question about what will be the next films to bear the Legacy Edition label.
     
  11. Jing_B

    Jing_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Double Indemnity
    Touch of Evil
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Letter From an Unknown Woman[​IMG]
     
  12. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    This bodes well for THE FRIGHTENERS SE. My fingers are crossed.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    IMO, one of the best films ever made and a terrific film debut by Robert Duvall, who express more personal emotion with his facial expressions in this film than many actors can do with a boat load of dialogue.






    Crawdaddy
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I have never seen this film.

    I bought The Sting and somehow
    neglected To Kill A Mockingbird

    Just placed an order today. Looking forward
    to watching this for the first time.

    Did the picture or its actors/director win
    any awards?
     
  15. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    Peck had the Best Actor Oscar easily. B&W Art/Set Decoration and Best Screenplay Based On Material From Another Medium as well.

    Now's a good time to link one of my favorite websites, the Fennec Awards Database. The easiest resource for what film won what, from the Oscars to the Globes to the Apex Scrolls. Check it out:

    http://awards.fennec.org/
     
  16. Scott Shanks

    Scott Shanks Second Unit

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    To Kill A Mockingbird had the misfoturne of being up against Lawrence of Arabia for Best Picture and Best Director.
     
  17. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    The great Gregory Peck's only Oscar win was for "Mockingbird". Hard to fathom he only won one, but true. He also garnered a Golden Globe for TKAM as well.

    A fabulous film -- all the way through.

    I ran across this movie poster for "Mockingbird" -- and while it's true there's some heavy material in the script, I'm not sure I agree at all with the disclaimer presented here, i.e. "Not Suitable For Children". .....

    [​IMG]

    BTW -- Re. the new DVD of TKAM ..... It appears that the "11 poster reproductions" replace the originally-announced bonus of a replica of G. Peck's script, with notes. Too bad. Wonder why the script idea was scrapped?

    Upon looking closely at the 11 posters in this box photo, it looks like that exact poster (above) just might be one of the eleven included here.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=57387
     
  18. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    This is definitely on my to-buy list, and I'm thrilled to hear that the transfer is an improvement over the original release and justifies the upgrade.

    This really is one of the greatest films ever made, and it may actually be a better film today than when it was originally released.

    But one extra I really wish Universal had thought to include is an isolated score track. Elmer Bernstein's score for the film is one of the lovliest works of film music ever written - I can't hear the first few notes of it without getting choked up. I guess I'll have to be content with the CD soundtrack.

    But a great film, and what looks to be a great DVD. I couldn't be more pleased.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This is no shot at LOA, but "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a film that I am emotionally attached to and will have vivid memories of it for the remainder of my life.






    Crawdaddy
     
  20. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    I've got to agree with what everyone has just shared. When I was in graduate school, this was one of the books I had to read in my Film vs. Literature class, and we also watched the film as well to discuss any and all comparisons and contrasts. The film is as equally powerful as Harper Lee's original novel. No wonder Gregory Peck's character of Atticus Finch was deemed AFI's number one hero, because of his quiet dignity and strength in wanting to do the right thing. The moment when everyone stands up in the courtroom for Finch, you can see the honor and respect everyone has for him.

    It's also a very timely release, given that we just lost Brock Peters, who was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in TKAM, last month.

    I had debated about getting the VHS of this film for some time, but after seeing the care and quality that went into this DVD, I'll definitely have to get it now. Great thoughts all around!
     

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