THE CRUCIBLE (1996)

Comparison Films

Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

The time is 1951, a time when anti-communist bureaucrats and politicians thought it was their rightful duty to defend the nation from communism whether it was a genuine threat or not.  To do so they put innocent people on trial and forced them to sell out their friends or risk a life of misery and unemployment.  David Merrill, a Hollywood director, comes home from France to find that his fellow Hollywood friends are all in an uproar over the “witch-hunt” that is taking place.  They are being forced by these unorthodox trials to name their friends, and Merrill finds that he was “named” by someone close to him.   After being confronted and refusing to name his own friends, he soon finds himself without employment and needing to escape to New York, where the FBI finds him anyway.  After getting rejected from job after job, he decides to go to trial and name his friends.  At the end, he just could not betray his friends and stood up for his beliefs, which prompts others to do the same.  This ending definitely will remind you of The Crucible when John Proctor is almost persuaded to give in but finally stands his ground.  Like The Crucible, this is also a contemporary film on an issue that many people would like to forget about because it was a shameful time in our nation.  The characters in Guilty by Suspicion are fictitious, but, like The Crucible, the historical accuracy does not take away from the purpose of the film, which is to portray the paranoia and fear of the times.  This film can be used to portray the similarities between this era and the Salem witch trials and it helps us to see why Arthur Miller saw a parallel between the two.

Other films:

The Front (1976),  Maid of Salem (1937),  The Witches of Salem  (1956)
 
 

Copyright (c) 1999 by Tina T. Kao, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

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