The Crucible, set in a theocratic society, is a 1996 film, based on Arthur Miller’s play of the same name and it features high-profile stars like Daniel Day-Lewis (John Proctor) and Winnona Ryder (Abigail Williams), and the impressive Paul Scofield (John Danforth) and Joan Allen (Elizabeth Proctor) in supporting roles.
The film’s writer himself, Arthur Miller, does the screenplay while Nicholas Hytner is the director. Most scenes in the movie were filmed on Choate Island in Essex, Massachusetts, and they represent the events that took place in the Salem during the seventeenth century. The occurrences portrayed in the film have recurred with astonishing inescapability all through the history of humankind.
The film and the play versions of The Crucible have many parallels. The 1953 play was written during the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigations. During the investigations, Miller was summoned to give his testimony in 1956.
And, even though the play can be considered as an historical allegory for the events that took place during this era, its true worth is found in its capability to be re-construed so that it can fit in any era.
Undeniably, the play’s rich themes, such as intolerance, thirst for power, the need to be accountable for our actions, public and private moralities, and the role that hysteria can play in tearing apart a community, are universal in scope.
Although Miller has never consented to the historical accuracy of the story, most of the events in the story match up with the occurrences in Salem, Massachusetts during the seventeenth century. During that time, superstition was rampant in Puritan town and about nineteen villagers were hanged as witches, four died in prison, and one was tortured to death for refusing to answer questions.
It was a period, similar to that in the U.S. in the mid-twentieth century, when a simple allegation could conceal ones fate. In addition, justice was regarded as secondary to saving a life during that era in America.
The film opens with an astonishing depiction of the event that set all the trials in motion. A number of Salem village girls gather in the woods where they chant and dance, wishing for men that they love to fall in love with. However, the arrival of the local preacher Reverend Parris (Bruce Davison) spoils the party.
Two of the girls subsequently fall into coma-like states. This makes everyone to start suspecting witchcraft as the cause of the misfortune. In order to save themselves from the noose since they confessed to performing witchcraft, the girls plead for their lives. Soon, the girls face trials in which the condemned are arrested. On the other hand, the innocent who do not confess are hanged.
The film that runs for one hundred and twenty-four minutes is rated PG-13 because of the intense portrayal of the Salem Witch Trials. The film is due to the outstanding recreation of the play for the screen. Unquestionably, the storytelling is top-quality, the visual style is perfect, and it is a powerful, thought-provoking production.
All through the film, the atmosphere is maintained. This serves the purpose of creating some original suspense. The crucible is considered as one of the best movies from 1996 and its classic re-interpretation assures us that it will become a component of the film history.