< Mockingbird: the film >

The Cast & Credits of To Kill a Mockingbird
Notes on cast and crew with a few photos. Accounts by Mary Badham, Phillip Alford and Brock Peters about making Mockingbird.

1963 Chicago Press Call
Rogue printed an account of Miss Lee appearing at a press call in 1963.

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To Kill a Mockingbird was made into a film in 1962. It won three Oscars: for Best Direction, Set Decoration, and Actor.


The motion picture rights to the novel were reported as sold to Alan Pakula and Robert Mulligan in the February 23 1961 edition of The Monroe Journal, about two months before the Pulitzer Prize was awarded. Pakula was a week-end guest of the Lees when initial plans for the movie were discussed. By the first week of January 1962, pre-production was well under way, and Gregory Peck went to Monroeville, visiting Lee, observing local folks and going to the Monroeville Courthouse and other places of interest. The Montgomery Advertiser of January 4 1962 reported that Peck said, "I feel at home here. My hometown is very much like Monroeville ...we came here to talk with Harper Lee and to familiarize ourselves with what might have been the locale of the book...". Mrs. Peck and Robert Mulligan and Mrs. Mulligan also visited at that time. Production was expected to begin February 13.

Things seem to have gone on as scheduled. The Monroe Journal of February 9 reported that Miss Lee was in Hollywood to look at the preparations. "I know that authors are supposed to knock Hollywood and complain about how their works are treated here," she said, "but I just can't manage it. Everybody has been so darn nice to me and everything is being done with such care that I can't find anything to complain about."

At the time Mockingbird was filmed, studios released articles and photos in a package called "Showman's Manual". Mat # 602, released in 1963, is for Mockingbird. It contains advertisements and promotional materials for individual theatres to use. It offers ready-made advance praise for the movie, articles about some of the actors and crew, stills from the film, suggested copy for radio spots, and small curiosities--stills of scenes not in the final cut, mention of things not in the the final cut. One such small article:


In "To Kill a Mockingbird," now at the ............ Theater, director Robert Mulligan selected 12 actors to form an Alabama jury for a scene in which Gregory Peck defends a Negro on a criminal charge. Only two jurors have lines to speak in the scene. Exchanging dialogue will be Barbara Mason and Joseph Dixon.

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Premiere Petitions

The movie theatres in both Monroeville and Mobile circulated petitions in an effort to win the right to host the premiere of To Kill a Mockingbird. As early as April 1962, when filming was still taking place in Hollywood, Downtown Theater in Mobile collected names and sent them to Universal-International Studios. In May, Milton Dorriety, manager of Monroe Theatre, said several hundred people had signed a similar petition in Monroeville. Birmingham was reported to be also showing interest. An exclusive pre-release showing of the movie was held Christmas Day 1962 to qualify the picture for the 1962 Academy Awards.

The state premiere was held in Mobile on Thursday, March 21, 1963. Miss Lee, Mary Badham and Philip Alford were among the attendees.

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Monroeville Run

To Kill a Mockingbird opened at the Monroe Theatre for a one week run on March 28, 1963. Reserved seat tickets were on sale by March 17 at the theatre box office or by mail order. They cost $1.50 for adults; General Admission was $1.00 for adults and .50 for children. There were large advertisements in the Monroe Journal, and a full page invitation to visit Monroeville to see the film, and to shop and save. It was sponsored by a number of businesses, and declared:

We Are Proud Of Harper Lee... And Her Masterpiece!
We Would Like To Share With Her These Moments Of Artistic Triumph!

The theatre also advertised that it would pay ten dollars cash each to the first five customers bringing in a live Mockingbird on Saturday, March 23. The film was held over for two days. On Thursday, May 23 Mockingbird opened for a one week run at the Area Drive-In in Grove Hill.

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I am always interested in reading and writing about To Kill a Mockingbird.

Jane Kansas + kansas at chebucto.ca Last revised 25 May 2004.