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Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10 from N/A votes
Release: 13 May 2011 /

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Genre: Biography, Documentary, History
Director: Mary McDonagh Murphy,
Stars: , ,
Synopsis: It is our national novel. Reading to Kill a Mockingbird is something we all have in common. Harper Lee's first and only novel turns 50 this summer and the author hasn't given an interview ...

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Critic Reviews


In this engaging documentary film, director/writer Mary Murphy explores both the background to and impact of author Harper Lee's enormously influential and well-loved 1960 novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird." Drawing upon a host of resources including: interviews with residents of Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama and personal friends of the author's; film footage of civil rights demonstrations in the U.S. south during the early and mid-1960's; commentary by a host of celebrities (Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Scott Turow and many others); still photographs; and scenes from the 1962 movie starring Gregory Peck, Murphy weaves together a compelling portrait of the gestation of a literary novel. "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- which won a Pulitzer Prize -- is one of those rare books that manages both to look back in time to small-town southern life in the 1930's and also forward to the racial and social issues surrounding the civil rights struggles of the 1960's. It has rightly become a touchstone of American literature in the 50+ years since its publication. It is to filmmaker Murphy's credit that -- while not scanting the civil rights' issues the book antedates -- she keeps the major focus of this 2010 film upon the book and its author. By so doing, she manages to augment the viewer's sense of the book's impact; understatement possesses a quiet power that overblown rhetoric cannot touch.

At 78 running minutes, "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'" is not a long film documentary, but it pulls the viewer in and commands attention. It is delightfully funny in some places (novelist Allan Gurganus' reminiscing about novelist Truman Capote -- a childhood friend of Lee's -- comes to mind); horrifying in others, and -- like the book it examines -- ultimately moving.

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