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A small group of teen girls in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts caught in an innocent conjuring of love potions to catch young men are forced to tell lies that Satan had invaded them and forced them to participate in the rites and are then forced to name those involved. Thrown into the mix are greedy preachers and other major landowners trying to steal others' land and one young woman infatuated with a married man and determined to get rid of his innocent wife. Arthur Miller wrote the events and the subsequent trials where those who demanded their innocence were executed, those who would not name names were incarcerated and tortured, and those who admitted their guilt were immediately freed as a parable of the Congressional Communist witch hunts led by Senator Joe McCarthy in 1950's America.Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nicholas Hytner has a great track record for screen adaptations of plays (The Madness Of King George won the sort of awards for which this film was nominated). In this film about the 17th century Salem witch trials, commonly regarded as a critique of McCarthyism and the HUAC, the past infidelities of a man come back to ruin him and his wife.
Paul Scofield is the stony-faced, implacable agent of proto-religious non-logic (a super role in Miller's play as he's frighteningly plausible most of the time). It's the cold-hearted centre of this tough film. The victims of his assumed position of rule are husband and wife John and Elizabeth Proctor given impeccable, nervy performances by Day-Lewis and Joan Allen. Winona Ryder is the truly possessed villager, if only with a deadly, souring, unrequited love for John. Powerful stuff. 7/10
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