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To Kill a Mockingbird

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 60th Anniv. 4K UHD of 'Mockingbird' elevates a timeless classic with stellar visuals & extras.

    To Kill a Mockingbird 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
  • Video
  • Universal's 4K UHD restoration of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' impresses with stunning detail, enhanced HDR contrast, and a faithful filmic texture, offering the definitive viewing experience.

  • Audio
  • The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track enhances the film's immersive experience with clear dialogue and a subtle, well-layered mix, respecting its original aesthetic without an Atmos upgrade.

  • Extra
  • This UHD release of To Kill a Mockingbird enriches its legacy with a new featurette, maintaining historical content while exploring the film's enduring impact and themes, alongside a treasure trove of supplementary material.

  • Movie
  • Through diverse lenses, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' remains a timeless critique of racism and innocence, its cinematic revival in 4K honoring the classic's deep narrative and visual heritage.

    Video: 95

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "To Kill a Mockingbird" showcases an impressive leap in video quality, setting a new benchmark for the presentation of classic films in the highest resolution. The transfer, derived from a 4K scan of the original camera elements conducted in 2012 for its 50th anniversary, benefits from an additional clean-up and the application of HDR to the 4K DI. Presented in its original widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio, utilizing a 10-bit video depth, and encoded with the HEVC (H.265) codec for HDR10, this release reviewed on state-of-the-art equipment underscores the meticulous care taken in preserving and enhancing the film’s visual legacy. Every frame breathes with life, showcasing exquisite detail in skin textures, clothing weaves, and environmental textures—from the coarse hessian to sun-bleached pavers—elevating the visual storytelling to unprecedented clarity.

    The HDR grading significantly enhances greyscale presentation, yielding a richer, more detailed image that respects the film's original lighting and composition while offering a fresher perspective. Shadows and highlights are rendered with a fidelity that is markedly superior to previous releases, achieving a balance that preserves depth and detail without veering into crush or blown-out extremes. Despite occasional softness attributed to optical zooms inherent to the source material, the overall sharpness and stability of the image are commendable. The grain structure remains organic, enhancing the filmic feel without overwhelming the viewer, ensuring that "To Kill a Mockingbird" retains its nostalgic essence in a contemporary viewing format.

    Moreover, the meticulous transfer injects new life into the picture’s tonal depth, contrasting details, and nuanced gray midrange, facilitating a cinematic experience that is both immersive and faithful to its source. Even elements like clothing textures and background details gain newfound prominence, ensuring that every scene resonates with unparalleled visual fidelity. While minor discrepancies are noted in shots rendered with noise reduction, these are exceptions rather than the norm. Overall, the 4K UHD rendition of "To Kill a Mockingbird" emerges as an essential upgrade that not only honors its heritage but also sets a definitive standard for the presentation of classic films in the Ultra HD era.

    Audio: 90

    The audio presentation of "To Kill a Mockingbird" in 4K UHD Blu-Ray primarily features the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, alongside a 2.0 mono track, staying true to the film's original auditory experience. The 5.1 surround sound extends the understated yet eloquent score by Elmer Bernstein and natural sound effects into the surround channels to create a more immersive soundscape without detracting from the film's inherently quiet and introspective nature. Dialogue remains crystal clear and front-centered in both mixes, ensuring that the Southern accents and period-appropriate speech patterns are preserved, contributing to the authenticity of the viewing experience. The absence of a Dolby Atmos upgrade is hardly missed, given the nature of this classic film where subtlety in audio presentation is key.

    Audio fidelity is remarkable across the board, with the tracks free from any age-related imperfections such as hiss or crackles, enhancing silence and delivering clean, impactful scenes. This care extends to Elmer Bernstein’s score across the speaker array, which sounds freshly recorded thanks to its clarity and discreet yet effective use of bass for weight. Despite the age of the movie, the audio treatment it receives here makes it sound contemporarily impressive, especially with the slight low-end enhancement in orchestration. The 5.1 mix achieves a delicate balance, focusing on enhancing the emotional weight and narrative without overwhelming the viewer with unnecessary surround activity.

    Subtle sound effects and environmental sounds, like rustling leaves and chirping birds, are well defined and contribute to an atmospheric experience. The dynamic range is broad enough to accommodate these subtleties without distortion. Furthermore, additional language tracks and a comprehensive selection of subtitles make this release accessible to a broad audience. The technical decision to forgo re-encoding for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, instead opting to port over existing soundtracks, demonstrates a commitment to preserving the film's original auditory essence while still embracing modern capabilities for clarity and depth.

    Extra: 92

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of "To Kill a Mockingbird" enriches the viewing experience with a blend of both legacy and newly produced extras that delve deeply into the film's production, themes, and its significant impact. Among the standout additions is the "To Kill a Mockingbird: All Points of View", a meticulously crafted 25-minute retrospective, exploring the intricate layers of the story, its undiminished relevance, and the lasting legacy of its message, enhanced with insights from academic scholars and film historians. This featurette alone makes the release a must-have. Coupled with the comprehensive audio commentary from director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula, it offers an enriched understanding of the cinematic masterpiece. The package also includes an intimate documentary on Gregory Peck, providing a nuanced glimpse into his personal life and career, alongside a compelling black-and-white documentary on the making of the film, "Fearful Symmetry", and several other features that celebrate Peck's achievements and contributions to cinema. With these extras, the edition not only pays homage to the film’s historical significance but also offers an immersive exploration of its cultural impact and storytelling genius.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: With director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula.
    • To Kill a Mockingbird: All Points of View: A new retrospective exploring the film's enduring legacy and relevance.
    • Fearful Symmetry: A detailed documentary on the making of the movie.
    • A Conversation with Gregory Peck: An in-depth look at Peck's life and career.
    • Academy Award Best Actor Acceptance Speech: Gregory Peck's acceptance speech for his role as Atticus Finch.
    • American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: Highlights from Peck's reception of the award.
    • Excerpt from Tribute to Gregory Peck: A touching tribute by his daughter, Cecilia Peck.
    • Scout Remembers: Mary Badham shares her experiences working on the film.
    • 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics: Insight into the film restoration process.
    • Theatrical Trailer: The original movie preview.

    Movie: 97

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "To Kill a Mockingbird," a timeless 1962 film masterpiece, significantly enhances the viewing experience through its meticulous restoration. With a video resolution of 2160p/HDR, derived from a new 4K restoration, the film’s nuanced greyscale and shadow details are brought into striking clarity, preserving the esteemed cinematography of Russell Harlan and allowing for a more immersive delve into the small-town Alabama setting. Despite Universal opting to maintain the existing English 5.1 and 2.0 lossless audio tracks, the remastered visuals significantly elevate the film’s delivery, bringing Gregory Peck's iconic performance and the narrative's poignant themes to life with unprecedented vibrancy.

    At the heart of this film lies its storytelling prowess, masterfully adapted from Harper Lee’s novel and vividly brought to the screen by director Robert Mulligan and writer Horton Foote. The decision to tell this sensitive tale through the eyes of children, Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford), infuses the film with an inherent innocence and curiosity, while simultaneously confronting the stark realities of racial prejudice. The performances are uniformly compelling, with Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch standing as a testament to integrity and moral fortitude. The children’s perspective provides a unique lens through which the socio-political commentary remains as relevant as ever, resonating deeply in today’s context just as it did upon its original release.

    In addition to its compelling narrative and performances, the film benefits immeasurably from its technical upgrade. The clarity and depth of the video presentation on this UHD edition underscore the artistic intention behind every shot, whether it’s conveying the eeriness of Boo Radley’s house or the tension-filled courtroom drama. Elmer Bernstein’s evocative score also gains a new lease on life, wrapping the visuals in an auditory embrace that enhances every moment of this cinematic gem. This disc not only offers fans the definitive version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" but also serves as an essential piece for collectors and cinephiles seeking to experience one of cinema’s most significant works in the best quality possible.

    Total: 96

    Robert Mulligan's "To Kill a Mockingbird," a classic that has stood the test of time, is presented in its most magnificent form yet with this 4K UHD release from Universal. The transfer to native 4K, complemented by HDR, not only breathes new life into its visuals but also enriches the grayscale, resulting in perfect blacks and outstanding highlights. The organic grain of the original source is preserved, enhancing the film's historical and emotional depth. Audio receives a similar upgrade with both DTS-HD 2.0 and 5.1 options, offering viewers the choice between a traditional stereo experience and a more immersive surround sound setup. This release is further augmented by a rich collection of extras, including a new 25-minute retrospective alongside revered legacy material, ensuring that fans and newcomers alike gain insight into the film's enduring legacy.

    The 4K UHD presentation of "To Kill a Mockingbird" showcases the unparalleled heights of home video technical achievement. Offering an exceptional 2160p/HDR image quality, this edition captures the nuanced details and emotional subtleties of Harper Lee’s story with greater clarity and depth than ever before. The audio tracks, while carried over from previous releases, remain robust and resonate well with the film’s potent themes and extraordinary performances. The inclusion of both new and historical bonus content makes this edition a comprehensive tribute to the classic, ensuring its reverence for future generations.

    In conclusion, Universal's 60th Anniversary 4K UHD release of "To Kill a Mockingbird" represents the definitive version of this seminal film. The meticulous restoration not only enhances the visual and auditory experience but also reaffirms the film’s status as a crucial piece of American cinema. With impeccable technical presentation and a wealth of supplementary materials, it is an essential addition to any collection, appealing to devoted fans and newcomers alike. This release not only honors the legacy of a film that continues to resonate six decades on but also confirms its place in the digital age as a masterpiece that remains as relevant and potent as ever.