Classic Movies

Released in 1934, The Thin Man was based on a Dashiell Hammett novel. The movie, a comedy-mystery, starred William Powell and Myrna Loy. Made pre-code, some of the scenes and banter would have fallen foul of the censor in later decades.

The main highlight of The Thin Man – forget the plot, this is a banter movie – was the natural interaction between William Powell and Myrna Loy. Scenes were often ad-libbed and shot in one take, which added to the belief that Powell and Loy were a real couple, deeply in love.

Of Myrna Loy, William Powell said, “When we did a scene together, we forgot about technique, camera angles, and microphones. We weren’t acting. We were just two people in perfect harmony. Myrna, unlike some actresses who think only of themselves, has the happy faculty of being able to listen while the other fellow says his lines. She has the give and takes of acting that brings out the best.”

Released in 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird was based on Harper Lee’s 1960 novel and starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. In 2003, the American Film Institute named Atticus Finch as the greatest movie hero of the twentieth century. 

In a foreword to the paperback version, Gregory Peck wrote, “I think perhaps the great appeal of the novel is that it reminds readers everywhere of a person or a town they have known. It is to me a universal story – moving, passionate and told with great humor and tenderness.”

In the liner notes written for the film’s DVD re-release Harper Lee wrote, “When I learned that Gregory Peck would play Atticus Finch in the film production of To Kill a Mockingbird, I was of course delighted: here was a fine actor who had made great films – what more could a writer ask for? The years told me his secret. When he played Atticus Finch, he had played himself, and time has told all of us something more: when he played himself, he touched the world.”