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Series Highlight: Forty Foot Films

Young Critic Sees Classic ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ For The First Time

Above: Gregory Peck (in the role that won him an Oscar) and Brook Peters star in the film adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Guest blogger Robert Mackey checked out Reading Cinemas' "Forty Foot Film Series" and saw "To Kill A Mockingbird" for the first time.

Recently, my mother and I went to Reading Cinemas to see “To Kill A Mockingbird” at their “Forty Foot Films” classic cinema program. It was my first time seeing the movie, and I’ve been wanting to watch more classic movies. Seeing “To Kill A Mockingbird” has only bolstered that feeling. The movie is truly amazing and is very interesting to me since I have always been interested in American history. The characters felt more real than any characters I’ve seen in a movie today. They were interesting, gripping, intriguing, and thought provoking. This is truly a shining star of cinema, though most of you older filmgoers reading this are likely to know that already.

I feel that the movie shows how things were in the Depression era South better than any modern film or documentary I’ve seen, because the movie was made by people (both Harper Lee the author of the book and the filmmakers) with a truer sense of what those everyday experiences were and of how society behaved at that time. This movie is an example of the fact that newer isn’t always better. This movie from the 1960s based on a book set in 1930 is better than 99% of the movies you will ever see in a modern theater.

A nice touch by the people running the program was that -- in lieu of the regular advertisements you normally get before a movie -- had a trivia contest about the actors and the film, which I felt was a clever workaround of the obvious problem of putting contemporary advertisements before a classic film. Another interesting aspect of the program is that there was an atmosphere unlike anything you could experience in the typical modern theater environment. It felt as if everyone in the room had some appreciation of how great the movie was, whether they had seen it or not, and this was especially apparent during the trivia.

This program was overall very well run, although there were a few speed bumps, most notably that the sound was about a half second off from the video. Although I am not sure if that was just because of the way the movie was made, or a projection problem. I would recommend going to see a movie at this program to anyone; it is an ambitious new way to see amazing examples of classic cinema on the big screen, instead of on a small television or computer monitor.

Tonight you can catch “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and tomorrow night is John Ford’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda in perhaps his finest performance. The "Forty Foot Films" calendar is here.

--Robert Mackey is Cinema Junkie's youngest guest blogger at 12. He loves media, specifically film and videogames, and hopes to work in the entertainment industry in the future. Cinema Junkie highlights the opinions of young people in order to encourage intelligent discussion of film at all ages and to offer a diverse range of opinion from a variety of perspectives.

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