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Word Count: 2,434
As I watched The Crucible taking shape as a movie over much of the past year the sheer depth of time that it represents for me kept returning to mind As those powerful actors blossomed on the screen and the children and the horses the crowds and the wagons I thought again about how I came to cook all this up nearly fifty years ago in an America almost nobody I know seems to remember clearly In a way there is a biting irony in this films having been made by a Hollywood studio something unimaginable in the fifties But there they are--Daniel Day-Lewis John Proctor scything his sea-bordered field Joan Allen Elizabeth lying pregnant in the frigid jail Winona Ryder Abigail stealing her minister-uncles money majestic Paul Scofield Judge Danforth and his righteous empathy with the Devil-possessed children and all of them looking as inevitable as rain I remember those years-- they formed The Crucible s skeleton--but I have lost the dead weight of the fear I had then Fear doesnt travel well just as it can warp judgment its absence can diminish memorys truth What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next I remember how in 1964 only twenty years after the war Harold Clurman the director of Incident at Vichy showed the cast a film of a Hitler speech hoping to give them a sense of the Nazi period in which my play took place They watched as Hitler facing a vast stadium full of adoring people went up on his toes in ecstasy hands clasped under his chin a sublimely self-gratified grin on his face his body swivelling rather cutely and they giggled at his overacting Likewise films of Senator Joseph McCarthy are rather unsettling--if you remember the fear he once spread Buzzing his truculent sidewalk brawlers snarl through the hairs in his nose squinting through his cats eyes and
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