The settling is 17th Century Salem, Massachusetts. A group of spoil teenage girls fearing in getting in trouble for meeting in the woods at midnight for a secret love-conjuring ceremony where the town minister mistook it as witchcraft. Instead of love, psychopath Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) wishes for the death of her former lover's John Proctor (Daniel Day Lewis) wife. The girls are accused of witchcraft, but to save themselves they accused others. Soon the entire village is consumed by hysteria, and innocent victims are put on trial, leading to a accusations flying, judgments are pronounced, and sentences are quickly and ruthlessly carried out. The only person whom can save them is Mary Warren (Karron Graves). The Crucible isn't a pretty film, but Nicholas Hytner's grim movie version of the classic Arthur Miller concerning the Salem witch hunts is a tragedy and in some what could be also be called a horror/thriller movie. It explodes into a melodramatic but never less than gripping story between both John Proctor Vs Abigail Williams. Ryder is wicked insidious, as the angry, hysterical Abigail, caught up in a conspiracy of lies from which there's no escape looking for revenge against him. Daniel Day-Lewis gives us a stubborn yet vulnerable John Proctor. He gives one of the best lines in the film toward the end. Joan Allen delivers a heart-breaking performance as the anguished Elizabeth, a fervently religious woman unable to disprove the allegations made against her and her husband.it's pretty evident (if you read the book) that Elizabeth did forgive John Proctor. if she hadn't, she wouldn't have blamed herself partly for the affair. their relationship is very complex, but in the end she does forgive him. this draws on one of Miller's main themes of forgiveness. This story really shows how far people will go in their words and actions when they are motivated by blind fear. The Crucible was written as a thinly disguised attack on the McCarthy anti-communist Red Scare \"witch hunts\" of the 1950s America.! This is so dramatic and powerful my heart clenches every time I see this, so check it out.
Arthur Miller is gone now, but he lived long enough to see his master work The Crucible finally on the big screen. Back when it was on Broadway it was deemed too controversial in those paranoid days of the Fifties. The Crucible was Miller's answer to the witch hunting House Un-American Activities Committee and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee of Joe McCarthy. He saw parallels between the Salem Witch Trials where several people were put to death in that sad town for the elusive crime of witchcraft. Miller even got to adapt his work to the screen and did it so well that the stage origins aren't even noticeable.One of the things I marveled when viewing the film was Miller's mastery of the Puritan culture. He must have done some heavy research into it to capture so well the spirit of those times and how they paralleled the McCarthy Fifties.But I would take a different tack in talking about The Crucible. It is a wonderful condemnation of a religious based society as the Puritans were in those days. These people came to the new world to seek freedom of conscience to worship the Creator/Deity in their own way. No sooner do they get here than a society is built by them excluding others who don't buy into their view of things. It would be another century before the novel idea was seriously raised about having NO established religion. It hasn't taken fully hold yet as witness by the Moslem theocratic states like Iran or the newly found influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in some of the former Soviet Union. Not to mention here where after thirty or so years the influence of bible beaters in the body politic seems finally to be receding.Daniel Day-Lewis plays John Proctor the farmer who is by no means an ideal hero is the man forced into martyrdom simply because he won't denounce his neighbors as witches and warlocks. Joan Allen is magnificent as Mrs. Proctor who pays for her husband's indiscretions with teenage flirt Winona Ryder. All of this gets started when Ryder and several of her peers go out to dance in the moonlight, strictly forbidden in the Puritan society. Who led them into this is Charlayne Woodard, an African slave and recently over from Africa where she remembers her customs from her tribe. The girls get spotted and all that follows come from some young girls who rather than face punishment for breaking their strict code say the devil made them do it and start naming friends and neighbors as witches. This whole business gives the girls an opportunity to escape punishment and settle some personal scores. And it spreads to the adults who ought to know better.I've also thought that Arthur Miller might also have been influenced by Lillian Hellman's These Three which is also about tattle tale young girls and the harm they cause. The parallels are too obvious to ignore.Though it took half a century to make it to the screen, The Crucible was worth every second of the wait.
and it's spoken by Henry IV Part II. So, the Part II gives me an indication that this is a quote from some way in Shakespeare's texts. If I then go on Google and actually have a look and type up this quote, then I know for sure that it is indeed from Henry IV Part II, a text and play that was written by William Shakespeare. So, I'm telling you these things because this is actually how I would go on to learn information about the film. I don't just automatically know for sure that it is from this particular text that Shakespeare wrote up. So, I want to ensure that I'm right by going and having a look at Google.
Quotes at the start of any film, at the start of any book, usually have importance to them and they usually should give you an insight as to what's to come. And, for me, I find when I look at this particular quote, it definitely links to the themes of leadership, of motherhood, parenthood, and of perhaps the sacrifices that the queen has needed to make in order to lead her nation. So, with this particular quote, I would write it down somewhere and keep it in mind as you're watching the remainder of the film, because you'll see those themes come to life and have a better understanding of what this quote is talking about.
So, immediately, this film opens up with a news presenter talking about Tony Blair going to the election polls. It's displayed as footage on a TV screen. This gives us insight into a couple of different things. Firstly, it gives us context. The second thing is that it's displayed on a TV and it's broadcasted by a news channel. And, as you probably know, the media, the paparazzi, and just the entire culture of representing news during this time is something that will be heavily explored throughout this film. Especially because it may or may not have led to the death of Princess Diana.
So, again, contextually, it gives us an idea that around this time, the news media was quite overwhelming and omnipresent, which means that it was sort of just everywhere. It was always around. It's sort of no different from today, but there's a reason why they establish it as an opening shot. And that's just sort of give us as viewers an understanding that the news has a big play in what's going to happen in the remainder of this film.
that's spoken by the painter, who's drawing a portrait of the queen. This, again, sort of establishes that idea of change immediately at the beginning of the film, or should I say, resistance to change. So, it's already sort of outlining the path that this film is about to take.
I think this part with the music in the background and how the queen breaks the fourth wall. So, the fourth wall is basically when any character inside a film actually looks directly at the camera, at you, as the audience. And, to me, this gives me a sense of joy. It makes me feel like it's quite funny, the way that she's looking at us, especially with the...and again, this sort of reiterates my idea that we're not supposed to look at the queen as some evil or some cold-hearted person who is unfeeling for Diana's death later on, but that she's just like one of us and she can participate in a joke and we come to see this in a little bit.
So, in the next scene, we have a wide shot of Buckingham Palace, and in the background, you can hear bagpipes playing. This is something called diegetic sound. Diegetic sound is when you have sounds that come directly from the world in the film. So, the bagpipes sort of establish this sense of tradition. Everything in the scene represents tradition. Buckingham, Palace, the flag, the bagpipes, and that as an early shot of this film sort of shows us the entrenched tradition that exists. That nothing has changed as of yet, and things as sort of going on as they've always had.
This time, we have archival footage. So, archival footage is footage that has been taken from that period of time and placed into this film. It adds to the film's sense of authenticity, the fact that it's based off historical offense.
When Robin makes the joke about Tony Blair's wife having a curtsy that's described as shallow, it's humorous, it's funny, and the queen laughs as a result. The humor that's speckled throughout this film, I think really helps to lighten up the situation, but also to again, show us that the queen is human and that she can enjoy a joke.
Another important thing to know is that Mrs. Blair is actually accompanying the prime minister this first time round that he goes to Buckingham Palace. It shows that he is nervous, he said it himself, but he's not entirely comfortable with his role yet. So he needs the support of his wife. This is in comparison with later in the film at the very end, actually, where Tony Blair goes to Buckingham Palace himself and conducts a meeting with the queen, very similar to the one that he's doing now.
Something to keep an eye on is parallels in the film. It's always a really good idea to compare the start and end of this particular film, because we've got such similar scenarios in meaning at the start of the film and in meaning at the end of the film. What you'll notice in this particular scene is that they don't appear in the same shot. They sit opposite one another and one shot on Tony Blair, one shot on the queen, and it sort of goes back and forth. And that's to heighten that sense of distance between them. That sense of unfamiliarity. This is in comparison with the end of the film when we see the two of them walking down the hallway together, out into the garden as equal.