17th Century New England, with special emphasis on the Salem Witchcraft Trials


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Hollywood: Movies and History

Movies are currently the most compelling medium for telling tales about ourselves and our history, but the truth often gets lost in the pursuit of box-office receipts.

Witch City [Link #290]
This site is about a documentary movie about the contemporary merchandising of Salem, MA's history: Salem Witches, Evangelical Preachers, Greed ... and Business as Usual, a non-fiction film by Joe Cultrera, Henry Ferrini, Phil Lamy, Bob Quinn, John Stanton, and May Liao.

Film Views the Pitfalls of Witch City Hype by Ann Driscoll [Link #291]
Review of the film Salem Witches, Evangelical Preachers, Greed... and Business as Usual in The Boston Globe, "Film Views the Pitfalls of Witch City Hype."

Why I Wrote The Crucible: An artist's answer to politics by Arthur Miller [Link #86]
This article appears in the October 21 & 28 , 1996 issues of The New Yorker, pages 158-164. The author of the play and screenplay reflects on the 1950's political origins of his play, as the motion picture is about to be released.

Witch City -- Our Review by Peg Aloi [Link #297]
A review of the documentary "Witch City" by Witches' Voice. From the site: "The Witches' Voice makes every effort to keep up on the media's portrayal of Witches & Witchcraft. Since our fundamental mission is to educate and 'undo' centuries of bad press we are always on the lookout as to just how the media views our religion and its ways. "

Arthur Miller's The Crucible: Fact & Fiction (or Picky, Picky, Picky...) by Margo Burns [Link #85]
My interest in the historical facts of the events in Salem in 1692 made it hard for me to acheive a "willing suspension of disbelief" while watching the recent movie version of The Crucible. To vent my frustration, I wrote this page to outline the major differences between the screenplay and actual historical fact. NOTE: There are also differences between Miller's play and his screenplay, so if you're familiar with the play, you may find some of the changes he made for the big screen kind of perplexing, too!

Please also check my FAQ before writing to ask me anything about this piece:
  • My FAQ - brace yourself: my answers may not be the ones you want to hear!

Honesty, Dignity, and Integrity: The Crucible continues to unmask the powers by Randy Nelson [Link #88]
Review of the movie, from Sojourners, July-August 1997, Vol. 26, No. 4.

The Pocahontas Myth - Powhatan Renape Nation - the real story, not Disney's Distortion by Chief Roy Crazy Horse [Link #113]
from the site: "In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as 'Pocahontas'. In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is 'responsible, accurate, and respectful.' We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred. "

Witches of Salem: The Horror and the Hope [Link #150]
Catalog info about a 21-minute educational video: "Witchcraft in America: Behind The Crucible." From the site: "Explore the background of the witch trials of 17th-Century Salem in the context of the religious and social conditions of that era and as a background to The Crucible." Includes study questions

Teach with Movies: The Crucible [Link #160]
An interesting approach to using the movie in the classroom. This page includes discussion questions and other ideas.

Rotten Tomatoes: Reviews of the movie The Crucible (1996) [Link #323]
A great site which links to lots of published reviews of this movie.

Salem Witch Trials by CBS [Link #318]
Real PlayerFrom the site: "This new four-hour mini-series explores how in 1692 the small Puritan community of Salem, Massachusetts succumbs to mass hysteria - enabling a small influential force to haphazardly accuse, jail, convict and even kill members of their own churchgoing community whom they suddenly deem to be witches." This miniseries was actually pretty laughable, since they had Henry Czerny as Rev. Parris lusting after a naked African-American Gloria Rueben as Tituba Indian (in yet another example of Hollywood's failure to portray non-Caucasian races with any regard to accuracy!) in her bath -- then whipping himself to assuage his guilt! Then there's Shirley McLane as Rebecca Nurse enduring a strip-search in front of Rev. Parris, William Stoughton and a jury of men. Best line in the show, when Peter Ustinov as Stoughton, reminds the women searching her to check her "pupenda" The only plus was the chance to see that hoofer McLane's aging butt is still in pretty good shape! Add to this that the story sets up Kirsty Alley as Ann Putnam, Sr., as the one community member with a conscience, who devises a way to put the insanity to an end -- by making an over-the-top accusation of the governor's wife, trusting that he would step in. Interesting story, but t'ain't what happened, McGee! This is just one more instance of Hollywood sacrificing accuracy for the sake of titilation. And the special effects were something to behold! It made me laugh out loud, it was that bad.

Links in this Category = 11

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This page was last updated Feb. 15, 2009 by Margo Burns, margoburns@gmail.com