Young lovers fall afoul of repressive society as Salem elders get caught up in the witch hunts and trials of 17th century Massachusetts. One family in particular uses the hysteria to its ... See full summary »
Young lovers fall afoul of repressive society as Salem elders get caught up in the witch hunts and trials of 17th century Massachusetts. One family in particular uses the hysteria to its advantage, getting even with everyone for every slight--real or imagined. Written by
Ed Lorusso <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Bid Me But Live
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As studio policy went at Paramount controversial subjects were usually shied away from. So when Maid Of Salem came out this was a big surprise for the movie-going public and those who review films back in 1937.
Arthur Miller's The Crucible has become the defining work about the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, but Maid Of Salem should not be readily dismissed by Miller's admirers.
Claudette Colbert is in the title role and Fred MacMurray who is a refugee from Virginia colony star in this film. In fact MacMurray's very presence inadvertently ticks off fear of witches and demons and goblins and all kinds of things that go bump in the night. He puts on a spook act that scares some gullible Puritans after they've been given the word of warning about witches.
But the real demons are in one's own mind and in the evil intent of those who use fear of same. That in this film is Bonita Granville who is playing the same kind of role she did in her breakthrough part in These Three.
Lest you think that Maid Of Salem is an unrelenting drama, there are two very nice comic roles. First from E.E. Clive who is a drinker and unashamed of his vice and who goes obligingly off to the stocks like Andy Griffith used to let town drunk Otis lock himself in the jail cell every night. Secondly is Sterling Holloway a person of some property who just can't understand why Claudette Colbert should be less than enthusiastic about getting such a catch.
The performance of Madame Sul-Te-Wan should also be singled out. Back in this day most of the northern colonies also permitted slavery and she does a superb job as a woman who basically because she's not forgotten her African roots yet, still going by a tribal name she becomes an easy first target when she's accused.
Frank Lloyd got good if under-appreciated work from his whole cast. This film ought to be better known for today's audiences.
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