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Matt Gerson's "Angle on Movies"

The Crucible

Notable: So that you can clearly see one of the most amazing characteristics of Mr. Gerson's style, I've formatted this review one sentence per paragraph. Now, take a look at the length of those sentences. The first 534 words of the review comprise a mere five sentences. This ain't Hemingway! The entire piece of 844 words consists of a little over a dozen sentences. Gerson's w.p.s. (words per sentence) average for this effort is an astounding 60.3. Way to go, Matt! (But does he really need all those words? See the note at the end of the review.)
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I'm Matt Gerson with a five Magic Angle review out of five for The Crucible, a furnace of a movie, a fingering of fickle fate of the condemned falsely, as screenwriter and author Arthur Miller, in a gripping senses boiling over like a witches' brew of unholy calumny, presents the message that man is always in the cauldron of deceit, lies and uneasy passions just below the surface, a flame to incinerate our sense of good waiting to be ignited, lacking only the flint and spark of Abigail Williams--Winona Ryder, giving energy and weight to her former pixie-ish acting--whose spurned lust for married John Proctor, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, and the raised expectation he would actually throw her over for his marriage to a bit too righteous and pale Elizabeth, played by Joan Allen, are shattered by him, and Abigail and her coven of screaming meany [sic] stymied frenzy of unfulfilled needs unholy choir of witches and Greek chorus of children of the devil spread the word of falsehood and witchcraft in all directions.

The Crucible is prejudice unhinged, a foggy and dank-lit, dreary yet overwhelmingly-acted parade of frantic hidden poses by witchcraft-dabbling innocents who fill the cauldron of a black magic practitioner with keepsakes of their intended men, then spend the rest of the movie shifting blame by starting a hunt for the evil spirits that made them do it, often, as in Abigail's case, bearing false witness on the obstacles of the path to their passion and men they crave.

Bruce Davison is twisted, inept and a man of the cloth who soils his soul and station as Reverend Paris, a man who knows too much about the true source of the witches but turns his eye away to the truth, as false accusation parades its bloody path in the kangaroo courts and the hangman's noose awaits all those who won't admit their pact with Satan, sleeping dogs now up at the throat of anyone who tries to spot these girls and devils for the devil's handmaiden that they collectively are.

The solemn, grim Joan Allen is superb as the repressed, self-hating wife of John Proctor, and the yellow and bearded, scraggly, unhealthy image of Proctor, the indicted by a spurned lover's treachery, is played with noble countenance and fiery rages and uprightness by Daniel Day-Lewis, who can grab us with his searching gazes and solemn sense of injustice embodied in his presence in this no-nonsense portrayal of a man with a guilty secret Abigail won't let him forget, ever.

Paul Scofield, who won an Oscar for The [sic] Man for All Seasons, playing a noble man, here plays a righteous paragon who turns ugly and sinister and dirty and foul as the judge who oversees the Salem Witch Trials, which The Crucible is based on, with the iron hands of oppression that all are guilty and none shall escape and to hell with the morale and terror I cause, unflinching pose of the confessor who makes the rope and the false witness the law of the smoking with misty oppresssion and unhinged destruction village of Salem and its witch trials which have come down through history as embodying religious hysteria.

His show trials and easy condemnations and lack of truth searching and reality make him the precursor of Nazi show trials centuries later.

Mary Warren, the honest child, who loses out to terror and threats by the she-devil Abigail, is played with unending gripping power by Karen Graves, as the final betrayer of John Proctor.

She's the last good soul who turns her life into lies to escape vengeance from the witches and cast guilt elsewhere.

As with the entire cast, from officers of the church to hellfire of death for the coven of guilty girls, The Crucible is mesmerizing from start to finish, with its frenzied sense of what it takes and how easy it is to condemn to innocent and shame the guiltless and engage the vile passions of fear into fingering the innocent of nameless commandments, all in the name of shifting blame, and so begin a boiling pit of destruction and murder sanctified by church law and God.

So the leaders in the swayed mob of callous colonials, brought to too-easy mad taste of blood, too close to mankind to be ignored, nipping at our heels in The Crucible with the twin vices of lust and betrayal and false witness awaiting the next witch hunt.

What mankind must know is that as long as hatred and falsehood exist in the breast and belly of women and men, mankind will be instant victimizers when fear and holiness run wild.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Scofield for sure should garner Oscar nominations for resolute victim and steely-eyed would-be overstepping in bigotry and insanity of condemnation of authority.

The Crucible is a perfect expression of anguish and terror, unstoppable in its energy, when the masses' hysteria is lit and the church and state encourage it.

I'm Matt Gerson with my five magic Angle recommendation out of five for The Crucible.

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So--does the Gersonator really need all those words? Not at all. It's just an added bonus for you, the Valued Listener. For even in condensed form, so powerful are the words of Matt that even 144 (for you numerologists out there, that's twelve dozen, which is to say, one gross) words taken from the above review are sufficient to paint a complete, if purple, portrait of The Crucible (which is, after all, the work of Arthur Miller, a mere mortal in comparison to the Genius that is Gerson). So, without further introfuscation, we offer:

A Condensed Review of The Crucible
Considered by Way
A 144-word Distillation
Purple Prose
Matt Gerson, Esq.
accusation anguish betrayal betrayer bigotry blame blame blood bloody boiling boiling brew callous calumny cauldron cauldron condemn condemned condemnation condemnations coven coven death deceit destruction destruction devil devils devil's dirty dogs dreary evil false false false false falsely falsehood falsehood fear fear fiery flame flint foggy foul frantic frenzied frenzy furnace grim guilt guilty guilty guilty hangman hatred hell hellfire hysteria hysteria ignited incinerate indicted inept injustice insanity lies lies lust lust mad magic magic magic mob murder Nazi noose oppression oppresssion passion passions passions pit power prejudice rages repressed rope sanctified Satan scraggly screaming secret self-hating shame she-devil sinister smoking spark spirits spurned spurned steely-eyed stymied terror terror terror threats throat treachery trials trials trials Trials twisted ugly uneasy unending unflinching unfulfilled unhealthy unhinged unhinged unholy unholy unstoppable vengeance vices victim victimizers vile village Witch witch witch witchcraft witchcraft-dabbling witches witches witches witches

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