Peck (Born April 5, 1916- )
Few actors have conveyed
the sense of dignity that the great Gregory Peck communicates on the
screen. Despite this screen image of towering respect, Peck has never been
afraid to take his shot at playing the bad guys. As Josef Mengele in the Boys
from Brazil Peck his grotesquely frightening. In Duel
in the Sun plays Lewt McCanles with an oily confidence and
an arrogant nastiness that often comes off as overacting. It is the
dignified roles that will live in our collective screen memories forever.
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird defines
everything a father and a man should be. Peck was a deserved Oscar winner
for Best Actor as Finch. In Gentlenmen's Agreement
Peck played Phil Green, a writer determined to discover the extent of
anti-Semitism in America. In The Big Country
Peck even towers over the great Western landscape with an inner strength
that seems to defy the barrel of a gun.
Gregory Peck was comfortable carrying a gun
whether playing in Westerns or War movies. In The Gunfighter
Peck painted a frightening portrait of a cold trigger man with an icy
draw. Only the Valiant
saw Peck playing a cavalry martinet while in Pork Chop Hill
he played a Lieutenant leading a platoon in Korea. Comedy was never
considered Peck's strong suit but in Roman Holiday
he captures all the breeziness opposite Audrey Hepburn to help create a
classic American comedy. Playing a journalist again in Designing
Woman opposite Lauren Bacall, Peck does not capture the
magic he found in Rome. An unusual but delightful Peck turn is in a small
British film called Man with a Million. Peck
finds the right comic tone for a penniless man that suddenly finds himself
in possession of a million pound note.
Whether watching the handsome actor lead a team
of mis-matched commandos on a suicide mission in The Guns of
Navarone or as a lawyer in Cape Fear
or To Kill a Mockingbird, whether wielding a
sword and sailing big ships in Captain Horatio Hornblower
or The World in His Arms or defining Captain
Ahab in Moby Dick another sea-going turn, Peck
is an actor who commands the screen.
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Billy Wilder left movie lovers a legacy of cinematic treasure. From
defining Film Noir to outrageous comedy, writer/director Wilder delivered
the goods with consummate style.
To Kill a Mockingbird (SE)/ A,A
From the great novel by Harper Lee, this tale of growing up in
the 1930s South is splendidly evocative of place and period. Gregory Peck
is splendid. Direction impeccable.
The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) is the
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