To Kill A Mockingbird: Formal Aesthetic Analysis: Scout Saves Atticus

1029 words - 5 pages

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout unknowingly saves Atticus from a group of men outside the jailhouse. The 1962 film faithfully adapts the novel by conveying the same implication that Scout unknowingly made the men feel bad about themselves and placed herself as an equal among the men. The unspoken elements of lighting, camera angles and framing helped achieve this concept.
The scene in the film begins with Scout, played by Mary Badham, running up to Atticus, played Gregory Peck, through the group of men with Jem and Dill following behind. The camera is at Badham’s point of view which shows the men from their torsos and leads up to showing Peck with a low angle and high-key lighting while he ...view middle of the document...

As the conversation continues so does the close-up framing on Peck’s face. His eyebrows can now be noticeably seen drawn together and when the camera reaches to a full close-up, Peck’s jaw is seen to be tightening as he begins to worry more. Jem is also shown to be worrying although Alford’s facial expressions are different than Peck’s. Alford’s shots are between a medium and long framing shot and as well between a high and eye-level angle. Although Badham and Megna are included in the shots, it can be noted that the attention is on Alford because during the conversation when he steps up the camera follows his movement and cuts off part of Megna’s face. When Alford reaches the bottom of the steps and sees Peck, Alford’s eyebrows draw together for a moment and then go up and remains so as he turns to look at the men gathered behind which demonstrates more of a frighten worried expression. There are similarities in Alford’s and Peck’s worried facial expressions due to both maintaining a ‘straight’ face, but the blinking and raised eyebrows when Alford speaks up shows more of being frighten; moreover, both Alford and Peck set the idea that the men are the object of worry.
After the bit of confrontation between the men and the children, where the men try to ‘help’ Atticus make the children go home, the children end up at the top of the steps with Atticus. When Atticus turns to tell Jem once again to go home, Badham’s eyes scan through the crowd till she spots Mr. Cunningham, played by Crahan Denton. When Scout begins talking to Mr. Cunningham everyone turns their attention to them. Badham’s shots start off by being somewhat of a long framing at eye-level then turn to being medium framing at eye-level. The eye-level angle shows Scout as being an equal or at the least not someone to look down at. This angle also...

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