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Toward the end of Capote, the thin-skinned writer breaks off relations with his best friend because her novel had overshadowed In Cold Blood. The friend was Harper Lee, the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and indeed there was much to envy: The book won the Pulitzer Prize, and Robert Mulligan’s 1962 film adaptation, featuring a performance by Gregory Peck that made Atticus Finch the model for a generation of ACLU lawyers, won three Academy Awards. But as with the book, the film’s triumph is in the details: the knothole in the tree where Atticus’ daughter Scout finds a series of increasingly puzzling gifts; the crippled right hand of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman; Robert Duvall’s debut as Boo Radley, the village idiot and the children’s improbable protector; and a soundtrack as measured and moving as Peck’s single father, who singlehandedly tries to hold back a flood of hate in a small Alabama town.
THE FILM SHOWS AT 3 P.M. AT AFI SILVER THEATRE AND CULTURAL CENTER, 8633 COLESVILLE ROAD, SILVER SPRING. $6–$10. (301) 495-6720.