First let me say that I’m sorry if you were expecting this yesterday. Yesterday was kind of a big deal. So, here’s what it would have said yesterday…
a/perture cinema, The Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Crucible (1996), The Less Desirables Movie of the Week. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder and Paul Scofield.
Per IMDb: “A Salem resident attempts to frame her ex-lover’s wife for being a witch in the middle of the 1692 witchcraft trials.”
In late-17th century Salem Massachusetts, Abigail Williams (Ryder) is the ex-lover of John Proctor (Day-Lewis) who is unhappily married to Elizabeth (Joan Allen). Along with several other girls in Salem, Abby sneaks into the woods with Barbadian slave, Tituba where they participate in ritualistic dancing in hopes of finding love. Abby freaks out and kills a rooster and drinks its blood in hopes of causing harm to the Mrs. Proctor. Abby’s uncle, Reverend Parris catches them all in the woods around a fire and pot of something brewing. There is a frog in the soupy liquid. Abby’s cousin, Reverend Parris’ daughter, Betty, appears to pass out and doesn’t wake. When the adults aren’t around the other girls find that Betty is faking it but everything looks more and more as if there was witchcraft going on.
When questioned, Abby throws Tituba under the cart (I suppose since there was no buses then) and when Tituba is being beaten all the girls start naming names of women who are “less desirable” and Abby names Elizabeth, at that point, as a witch. All the girls in town are playing along and giving false accounts of what happened. Ridiculous claims of spirits being sent to perform mischief and misery upon others abound. Abby’s hate toward Elizabeth sets the whole town into flux and a domino effect of destruction and misery sets in. How this works out, you’ll have to watch to find out.
This film is basically historical fiction based on two historical themes: the anti-Communist driven “House of Un-American Activities Committee” (HUAC) and the Salem witch trials. I’ll say this, it’s amazing what people fell for back in Salem, then for the HUAC and what they still fall for now. The clutch that religion and fear keeps on the people that allow themselves to be led like sheep confounds me. It burns me up when this stuff happens in films and in real life.
There was weird sound effects that would happen when damning events were upon them. A strange sound envelope that rang through footsteps, wind and ambiance, but not when dialog was upon the screen. It was powerful. The whole film was powerful. The scenes were rustic (it was the 1690s after all) and, to me, the acting was spot on. The cast was superb; some familiar faces, though you may not recognize names. Little bad can be said about the execution of this film, from my eyes.
It wasn’t a commercial, nor critical success, but it has been the most produced work of Arthur Miller, ever, even beating out Death of a Salesman. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at only 67% with an Audience Score of 66%. IMDb has it at 6.8 stars out of 10. I’ll never say it was a great film but it kept my interest and for its genre, I think it was worth a view from everyday movie watchers. I saw this film on Netflix and I’m rating it 3.75 stars. Have you seen it? What did you think of it? What would you like to see/hear me review in the future? Let me know.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Who weeps for these weeps for corruption.” – Judge Danforth