Atticus Finch a racist? There goes the ideal

July 15, 2015 10:02 AM

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Something odd happens after Gregory Peck delivers one of cinema's most celebrated courtroom orations as attorney Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird." The wrongful conviction of his client, a black man named Tom Robinson accused of raping a white woman, unfolds as an afterthought.

When the trial's white audience files out, the black observers in the balcony remain, not to express anger or grief, or to confer about how to help Robinson's wife and children, but to honor Atticus by rising silently from their seats.

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