Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck's first film performance was in, Days of Glory (1944). A film which tells the story of a group of Soviet guerrillas fighting back against impossible odds during the 1941 Nazi invasion of Russia.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times, four of which came in his first five years of film acting:

The Keys of the Kingdom (1944). Cast: Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Rose Stradner, Edmund Gwenn, Benson Fong, Roddy McDowall and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. A story about a Scottish priest, who is assigned a mission in China, the story spanning sixty years from 1878 to 1938.

The Yearling (1946). After the American Civil War, a rebel soldier, his wife and 11 year old son, live on a farm. When a rattler bites pa, he kills a doe to use its organs to draw out the poison. Jody begs to keep the doe's fawn as a pet. The parents agree and the boy and the deer become fast friends. The fawn grows quickly and tramples tobacco shoots and eats the newly-sprouted corn. This is too much for ma and Jody has to face the harsh truth.

Gentleman's Agreement (1947). Philip Green is a highly respected writer who is hired by a national magazine to write a series of articles on anti-Semitism in America. He's not to sure how to write the article until he comes up with the idea to pretend that he was Jewish. It does not take long before he experiences what it must have been like for the Jews.

Twelve O'Clock High (1949). In this story General Frank Savage must take command of a "hard luck" bomber group, in spite of heavy losses and attacks by German fighters over their targets. Actual combat footage is used in this war drama.

Among his other films:

Spellbound (1945).The head of the Green Manors mental asylum Dr. Murchison is retiring to be replaced by Dr. Edwardes, a famous psychiatrist. Edwardes arrives and is immediately attracted to Dr. Constance Petersen. You soon learn that Dr. Edwardes is really a paranoid amnesiac patient. He goes into hiding with Constance who tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the real Dr. Edwardes.

The Paradine Case (1947). Mrs. Paradine is accused of poisoning her blind husband. She hires married Anthony Keane as her lawyer and things become complicated when he begins to fall in love with her...

The Gunfighter (1950). A reformed Gunfighter Jimmy Ringo is on his way to reunite with his estranged sweetheart and son who he has never seen. Jimmy's, reputation has sparked interest in three vengeful cowboys and a local gunslinger hoping to use Jimmy to make a name for himself. The town is in a frenzy as news of Jimmy's arrival spreads. He is restricted to the saloon while a secret meeting with his son is planned.

Moby Dick (1956). This story is about Captain Ahab and his obsession with a whale, Moby Dick. The whale caused the loss of Ahab's leg years before. Ahab, is so obsessed to kill the whale, that he is prepared to sacrifice everything, including his life, the lives of his crew members and even his ship.

On the Beach (1959). In 1964, atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere. One American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end.

The Guns of Navarone (1961). Two powerful German guns control the seas past the Greek island of Navarone making the evacuation of endangered British troops on a island impossible. Air attack is useless so a team of six Allied and Greek soldiers is put ashore on a dangerous mission  to try and dynamite the guns.

Roman Holiday (1953). Princess Anne goes on a highly publicized tour of European capitals. One night Anne sneaks out of her room, hops into the back of a delivery truck and escapes her luxurious confinement. However, a sedative she was forced to take earlier starts to take effect and the Princess falls asleep on a public bench. She is found by Joe Bradley, an American newspaper reporter stationed in Rome. He takes her back to his apartment. The next morning Joe dashes off to cover the Princess Anne press conference, unaware that she is sleeping on his couch. Once he realizes who she is, Joe promises his editor an exclusive interview with the Princess.
Peck and Hepburn were close friends until her death, Peck even introduced her to her first husband, Mel Ferrer.

Peck once again teamed up with director William Wyler in the epic Western, The Big Country (1958), which he co-produced.

Peck won the Academy award with his fifth nomination, playing Atticus Finch, a Depression-era lawyer and widowed father, in a film adaptation of the Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Released in 1962 during the height of the US civil rights movement in the South, this movie and his role were Peck's favorites.

He served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute from 1967 to 1969, Chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund in 1971 and National Chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1966. He was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1964 to 1966.

Peck, was known to do most of his own fight scenes, rarely using body or stunt doubles. In fact, Robert Mitchum, often said that when Peck once accidentally punched him for real during their final fight scene in the movie Cape Fear, he felt the impact for days afterward.

One of my favorite Gregory Peck's movies, Duel in the Sun(1946). A Western film directed by King Vidor, produced and written by David O. Selznick, which tells the story of a Mestiza (half-Native American) girl who goes to live with her Anglo relatives, becoming involved in prejudice and forbidden love. Cast: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lillian Gish and Lionel Barrymore.


  1. I am very excited to get to know Peck better this month. I predict a new crush!

  2. Every once in awhile, Hollywood gets the casting perfect for a movie. I can't imagine any other mainstream performer as Atticus Finch in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Gregory Peck was the ideal choice.

  3. Sarah, I totality agree. Gregory Peck, is one of my favorite actors. He is handsome and talented.((sigh)). It is going to be a fabulous month on TCM.

    Rick, I do not think Gregory Peck, can give a bad performance. I forgot to add to my blog another of my favorite Gregory Peck movies...Snows of Kilimanjaro.


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