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Crucible [Import]

4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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6 used from CDN$ 18.69


Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison
  • Directors: Nicholas Hytner
  • Writers: Arthur Miller
  • Producers: David V. Picker, Diana Pokorny, Mitchell Levin, Robert A. Miller
  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: Oct. 13 1998
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 079394144X
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Product Description

Product Description

The Salem witch trials of 1692 are brought vividly to life in this compelling adaptation of Arthur Miller's play, directed by Nicholas Hytner ("The Madness of King George"). A group of teenage girls meet in the woods at midnight for a secret love-conjuring ceremony. While the other girls attempt to cast love spells, Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) wishes for the death of her former lover's (Daniel Day-Lewis) wife. When their ceremony is witnessed by the town minister, the girls suddenly find themselves accused of witchcraft. Soon the entire village is consumed by cries of witchcraft, and as the hysteria grows, blameless victims are torn from their homes, leading to a devastating climax.

Amazon.ca

The Salem witch hunts are given a new and nasty perspective when a vengeful teenage girl uses superstition and repression to her advantage, creating a killing machine that becomes a force unto itself. Pulsating with seductive energy, this provocative drama is as visually arresting as it is intellectually engrossing. Arthur Miller based his classic 1953 play on the actual Salem witch trials of 1692, creating what has since become a durable fixture of school drama courses. It may look like a historical drama, but Miller also meant the work as a parable for the misery created by the McCarthy anti-Communist hearings of the 1950s. This searing version of his drama delves into matters of conscience with concise accuracy and emotional honesty. Three passionate cheers for Miller, director Nicholas Hytner, and costars Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Although the playwright Arthur Miller was also the screenwriter for this production starring Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis, the film bears little resemblance to the play in tone and impact. Director Nicholas Hytner has abandoned the intimate, almost claustrophobic atmosphere of the dark, interior scenes in the play, in favor of an expansive setting, with many scenes set outside, including panoramic shots of Salem in 1692, full of costumed "citizens." The expanded setting makes the psychology and motivation of the witchcraft hysteria more difficult to determine, since the intensity of the settlers' repressed, interior lives is not obvious. The explanatory notes which Miller incorporates into the play about land disputes, religious controversies, and personal animosities, which led to specific individuals being accused and arrested for witchcraft, are seen only peripherally.
As a result, we see Winona Ryder, as Abigail Williams, and her coterie of bewitched girls, screaming hysterically and accusing innocent women of witchcraft without the background which would make these accusations plausible. Her previous relationship with John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis), in the absence of other motivations, seems to be the primary reason for her behavior, but this thwarted love does not explain the extent of her rage and, especially, the involvement of the other girls. Day-Lewis is reduced to the role of victim, and one of the hallmarks of his acting, his subtlety, is absent here, except in a wonderful final scene with his wife, played by Joan Allen.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is a very powerful tale based partly on the actual events that happened in Salem back in the 1600s concerning some young girls who started dabbling in the occult and then tried to cover it up and avoid blame by accusing others of bewitching THEM. The story also concerns an unfaithful man (John Proctor) who cheated on his good and modest wife with a calculating and obsessive young hussy played perfectly by the character of Winona Ryder. But he loves his wife and turns away from the hussy, who then takes her revenge. John is publicly made to pay for his private sins, and asked to sign a humiliating confession that will destroy his reputation as it is going to be posted on the church door for all to read. In order to save his life, he signs his name to the confession and gives up his soul to his inquisitors, but the confession is a lie because he was never a witch. In a heart-wrenching scene where he changes his mind, he shrieks: "I sign myself to lies!" and he pleads: "I have given you my soul!... please leave me my good name!" He rips up the signed false confession and seals his doom.
I was very pleased with the sad and moving ending. I hope the viewing public understands the powerful paradox of it--the good true Christian people being falsely accused and hanged for witchcraft while their satanic accusers and evilly misled inquisitors look on along with a mournful, remorseful crowd. The scene at the very end with the Lord's prayer was a poignant touch. I'm glad the director had the courage to give it, as usually Hollywood plays it safe by providing the "happy ending", whether it fits or not. This heart-breaking and haunting ending was much more effective than any contrived happy ending could have been. Brilliant drama!
David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"
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Format: VHS Tape
The Crucible is gripping, yet it is also frightening and terrible in the inexorable march of its protagonists towards their doom. The story is based on Arthur Miller's rendition of the infamous 1692 Salem witch trials. In this Puritan town, a group of girls are caught dancing and love-spell casting in the woods. To save themselves from being whipped, they claim it was the Devil's doing and furthermore that some of Salem's residents are compacted with Lucifer. But private vengeance is also at work here. The girls' ringleader, Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) is obsessed with a local farmer (Daniel Day-Lewis) and will stop at nothing to get him for herself. Then the court investigating the claims of witchery begins to proscribe hanging for those who won't 'confess'. . . . . . . . . .
It is unfortunate then, that a movie such as this is marred by several flaws. While it vividly and unnervingly portrays the transformation of a community into warring factions, and ultimately the disintegration into mob-mentality and mass hysteria, it also seems very stagey. You can almost see the notations in the film script - "crowd murmurs in agreement", and so on. Additionally, Day-Lewis, and particularly Ryder, play the entire film at full volume. Thus, several integral speeches get lost in the blast. However, there are some excellent performances from those in the court scenes - the steely remorselessness of Judge Danforth and the pompous and insidious questioning of Judge Hathorne. Fortunately director Nicholas Hytner has moved as much of the action as possible out of doors, which is just as well, for Puritan dwellings are no great objects of beauty.
However, despite its shortcomings and largely unadventurous cinematography, The Crucible is a film that will remain with the viewer long after its dramatic and memorable conclusion. Even in death there is triumph and redemption.
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