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To Kill A Mockingbird



To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Elmer Bernstein 

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One of the Finest Movie Scores Ever Written
filmfactsman (August 19, 2004)

Without a doubt, Elmer Bernstein's finest hour. And with a repertoire like his, that's saying a great deal. There are those equally great scores which come to mind: Bernard Herrmann's "Psycho", Jerry Goldsmith's "Planet of the Apes", Alex North's "Spartacus", John Williams' "Jaws" and Max Steiner's "Gone With the Wind". There are only a handful of others.

Bernstein captivates the listener with the poignant simplicity of a chlid's view of life. Life in this case is deep, warm, delightful and sometimes even terrifying. "To Kill a Mockingbird" tells the Harper Lee story of Atticus Finch [Gregory Peck], a small-town lawyer in the South, who defends a poor black man unjustly accused of raping a white girl.

Wisely, director Robert Mulligan and composer Bernstein realized that the heart of the story is the children's view of what was happening: their father's principled stand against the bigotry of the town in which they lived; how that stand was an expression of his beliefs; and how such beliefs were the basis for the warmth and love that characterized their life.

With "To Kill a Mockingbird", Elmer Bernstein brought all of his previous experience as an artist to bear on achieving the beauty of simple charm, dignity and lasting value.

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