Good Scene / Bad Scene: Chosen by Tim McCanlies, the director of 'Secondhand Lions'

Friday 31 October 2003 01:00

Good: To Kill A Mockingbird Robert Mulligan, 1962

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is defending a black man accused of rape in a small, Southern town. He has obviously proved the man innocent, but he's still found guilty. Atticus turns to walk out, and all the local black people who have been segregated in the gallery get up and stand. Atticus's children are in the gallery also, and they are told: "Stand, your father's walking by." It's a very quiet, dignified scene, without big histrionics or dialogue. It's all visual. Up to this point, everything has been seen through the eyes of his children, and here we see Atticus through other people's eyes for the first time.

Bad: Lawrence of Arabia David Lean, 1962

There's one scene that muddles the whole film. A Turk has captured Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) and he's tortured in a sexual way - we think. Perhaps because of the mores of that time, it's not clear what's happening: is Lawrence playing the victim or affirming his sexual identity? The rest of the film is about adventure, and I think that the whole movie suffers in its latter part because of this change in direction. I didn't understand why it was so important when there were other, more interesting issues to deal with - like how everything fell apart for the Arabs at the end of the war.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments