6 user 1 critic

The Scarecrow (1972)

Just before the Salem Witch Trials, an embittered old woman, who has learned witchcraft, teams up with the Devil, and brings a scarecrow to life as part of her diabolical revenge on the judge who was once her lover.


Boris Sagal


Percy MacKaye (play)

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina Foch ... Goody Rickby
Norman Lloyd ... Dickon
Blythe Danner ... Rachel Merton
Pete Duel ... Richard Talbot
Will Geer ... Justice Gilead Merton
Gene Wilder ... Lord Ravensbane
Joan Tompkins Joan Tompkins ... Mistress Cynthia Merton
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Micah (as Elisha Cook)
Peter Kastner Peter Kastner ... Captain Bugby
Robert Karnes ... Minister Dodge
Ann Doran ... Mistress Dodge
Vaughn Taylor ... Reverend Rand
John Myhers John Myhers ... Reverend Todd
Tom Helmore ... Sir Charles Reddington
Lizabeth Deen Lizabeth Deen ... Mistress Reddington


Just before the Salem Witch Trials, an embittered old woman, who has learned witchcraft, teams up with the Devil, and brings a scarecrow to life as part of her diabolical revenge on the judge who was once her lover.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Romance







Release Date:

10 January 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hollywood Television Theater: The Scarecrow See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Last filmed project of actor Pete Duel. See more »


Richard Talbot: [to Goody Rickby] Charm all the broomsticks you like; bewitch all the mirrors and saucepans, but gull no more money out of young girls! Mind you, we're not so enterprising in this town as in Salem, but we may come to it!
See more »


Version of The Woman Who Did Not Care (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

"Love, is it to nourish, to life up, to smile upon a worm?"
20 June 2016 | by oOoBarracudaSee all my reviews

The Scarecrow is a quirky 1972 made for t.v. film starring Gene Wilder. Boris Sagal directed this Broadway Theatre Archive and has gone quite forgotten in Gene Wilder's filmography. Conquering such subjects as love and witches, this film based on the 17th-century witch scares The Scarecrow does an able job at illustrating the fate which befell those who were even interested in witchcraft. A wonderful ensemble cast including Blythe Danner, Norman Lloyd, The Scarecrow is an intense exploration of forbidden love.

Massachusetts in the 1690's wasn't the easiest place to live in. Young Rachel Merton (Blythe Danner) is interested in witchcraft, and the tools of those who practice it. When she happens upon a gorgeous mirror that is to show one's true self and love, she decides she must have it. Under the cover of a rising sun, she sneaks out of her home not telling Richard Talbot (Pete Duel) to whom she has been promised in marriage. Richard, suspicious of her early morning activities, travels to the witch from whom she buys the mirror, and is furious to see his fiancé giving into the ideas of witchcraft. When the witch is ridiculed by Richard and the girl's Uncle, Justice Gilead Merton (Will Geer) she becomes enraged and promises revenge. Her errand boy, Dickon (Norman Lloyd) tells her about a spell he can perform on a scarecrow to bring it to life and embody the illegitimate child she had with Justice Gilead Merton. Dickon performed the spell and the two begin to teach the man that has sprung to life from the straw, the one they call Lord Ravensbane (Gene Wilder) all the regal habits he will need to know to enact the ultimate revenge of making the niece of the Justice fall in love with a product of witchcraft.

A wonderfully acted piece, The Scarecrow, is filmed exactly as one would see it onstage. There are very few sets and costume changes involved, and what really shines through is the acting of the characters on screen. Some of the dialogue that accompanies a play of this nature was a bit hard to handle after an hour. For instance, the phrase "permit me" was uttered before anyone said anything, or so it seemed. There was also the prevalence of referring to everyone by their name each time they spoke to them, which was enough to wear at the nerves a little bit. Of course, this goes along with watching a film or play of that period, it should still be noted that those idiosyncracies definitely stand out. Each character was extremely convincing in their role. The play was filled with top notch performances, which was the best part of an otherwise stuffy dialogue-centered piece. Wilder's performance was as cautiously angelic as ever, proving how much talent he had as an actor, even in 1972. The Scarecrow is definitely one of Wilder's early performances not to be ignored.

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