Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Academy Screens Universal's Gorgeous Remastered 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Followed by Awkward Q&A

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood April 12, 2012 at 1:09PM

Universal's gorgeous, unblemished digital restoration of "To Kill a Mockingbird," which premiered in Washington D.C. last week and had its TV debut on the USA network April 7, screened to a packed house at the Academy Wednesday evening. The night highlighted a recurring issue with Academy events: Good screening. Bad Q&A.
0
Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Universal's gorgeous, unblemished digital restoration of "To Kill a Mockingbird," which premiered in Washington D.C. last week and had its TV debut on the USA network April 7 (complete with Barack Obama intro), screened to a packed house at the Academy Wednesday evening. The night highlighted a recurring issue with Academy events: Good screening. Bad Q&A.

PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley gave an eloquent introduction to the film, though he mislabeled the screening format as a "digitally restored print." It was actually a DCP ("digital cinema package"), which is a collection of digital files, usually on a hard drive. It's understandable that Smiley made this mistake, as nowhere in the Academy's online promotion or in the leaflet programs was there a mention of the DCP -- just that the film was screening as a "new digital restoration."

Not to nitpick, but if state-of-the-art theaters want to de-stigmatize digital projection, they should begin by labeling it as such. Take a tip from New York's Film Forum, which recently hosted the admirably-titled film series "This Is DCP."

The DCP of "To Kill a Mockingbird" looked great. The lush spectrum of greys in the black-and-white color palette were thrown into beautiful relief -- particularly in those crisp close-ups in the opening credits. When Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) gives his agonized testimony, the sweat on his brow glistens. Robert Duvall as wordless Boo Radley glowed like an apparition. Gregory Peck's deep intonations during Atticus Finch's courtroom monologue rumbled with passion. There's still something sanitary about digital projection -- it doesn't sweep me away like the vivid grain of a pristine 35mm -- but, nonetheless, it looked and sounded superb.

Mary Badham (Scout), Little Rock Nine member Terrence Roberts and civil rights attorney Connie Rice were on hand for a discussion afterward. At this point, the audience's high from the film started to sink. Instead of talking about the film, Badham dominated the Q&A with long-winded stories from her childhood, and pushed an inner-city schools education agenda--and moderator Ellen Harrington didn't intervene. "Ignorance is the root of all evil, and education is the key to freedom," Badham said. Roberts cut through the platitudes: "That would work in a universe that didn't revere ignorance."

An unexpected delight from the evening was the French New Wave photography exhibit in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre lobby. Sipping red wine while looking at off-set pictures of Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre and Francois Truffaut during the making of "Jules and Jim" is a good start to any night.

This article is related to: Classics, Digital Future, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH