Two classic adaptations of Pulitzer Prize-winning Southern novels help launch the Carolina Theatre's new RetroTreasures series, which highlights acclaimed and award-winning older films outside of the theater's more action-and-horror-oriented other series. Up first is 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird, the masterful adaptation of Harper Lee's tale of growing up and encountering the ugliness of the world over the course of a summer.
It's paired with a film that takes a different look at a similar era—Steven Spielberg's controversial 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. The film that marked Spielberg's tendency to balance out his blockbuster projects with darker, more complex material, it was a box office hit and received 11 Oscar nominations, infamously winning none. His colorful, bright depiction of the world of the much-abused Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) caused one critic to refer to the film as "the first Disney movie about incest," and its relentless misery was memorably parodied a few years ago on an episode of The Boondocks. Yet it's still a powerful story with powerful performances, particularly by Goldberg and, in the role that put her on the map, Oprah Winfrey. —Zack Smith