Obama to intro To Kill a Mockingbird

Peck and Peters in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

To Kill a Mockingbird, the 1962 Robert Mulligan-directed classic starring Gregory Peck and Brock Peters, will screen Saturday on the USA network -- a new digitally re-mastered version to be preceded by an introduction from President Obama.

A heartwrenching adaptation of the novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird is set in 1930s Alabama, in a small town where a black man is found guilty of raping a white woman, even though the evidence strongly supports his innocence. Peck plays Atticus Finch, the local lawyer who defends Peters' Tom Robinson. The issues of racism and justice raised by the film continue to resonate – witness the controversy over the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

In 1995, the Library of Congress selected To Kill a Mockingbird for preservation in the National Film Registry. In a statement issued Tuesday, Lee, now 85, said she was honored that Obama will introduce the film’s USA showing, adding, “I’m proud to know that Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on - in a world that needs him now more than ever.”