Vale – Robert Mulligan

Robert Mulligan - (1925-2008)

And so we mourn the passing of another legend – not an actor or a famous model, but a director. Today, the world mourns the passing of one of the true gentlemen of cinema, Robert Mulligan. Most people will probably ask (especially here in Australia) who Mulligan was, what he did, and why he should receive a special posting here on Robert Mulligan directed one of cinemas enduring landmarks, To Kill A Mockingbird. Okay, he also directed other films, true, but Mockingbird was probably his most successful, if not his most remembered.

We have already reviewed Mockingbird here at the site, and for those interested in reading about it (and there’s a few of you, since it’s become one of our most visited pages here at the site!) you can follow the link here.

Mr Mulligan directed many films in his illustrious career, including the debut screen performance of Reese Witherspoon, in 1991’s The Man In The Moon, however, it is for his ability to coax a genuinely… well, genuine performance from child actress Mary Badham, as well as co-star Phillip Alford, and create one of the enduring legendary cinema productions, that he will be most remembered.

On a personal note, I remember watching this film in school, and found it to be not the most boring thing I had ever seen, but a wonderous transition from a marvellous book to the silver screen. Gregory Peck, in what I consider to be his finest role, is searingly brilliant as Atticus Finch, the lawyer who is morally obligated to defend a coloured man against racist sentiment in a small town in America. Mulligan crafted a work of art, and if I had to name the films that I consider to be true, all-time classics, then Mockingbird would be on my list.

Vale, Robert Mulligan.

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