The Crucible tells an interesting tale about one of the most shameful events in (pre-)America’s history: the Salem witch hunt. The Crucible was written at the time of the McCarthy commie witch hunt and in that light it is an interesting comparison.
The Ox-Bow Incident, 1943, William Wellman, for another look at crowds turning into mobs.
However, I found myself asking “why now?” Why, at this moment in history, did Miller et al. decide to produce The Crucible? I can’t think of an interesting modern parallel. The story is well told and the movie is well made, but the plot is a little transparent, a little heavy handed. The movie feels like something between a morality play and a propaganda piece; I felt as if I should be drawing an important lesson from the movie. But the lesson to be learned — the lesson hammered at constantly throughout the movie — is a lesson that America, for now, seems to have learned. In the early fifties, this movie could have had the impact it seeks and deserves, but on the first day of 1997, this movie is not just to be preaching to the choir, it preaches against a sin that hasn’t crossed their minds in decades.
So in spite of The Crucible being a well-executed movie about an interesting subject, I do not fully recommend it.