The Crucible (1957 film)

  • Simone Signoret: Elizabeth Proctor
  • Yves Montand: John Proctor
  • Mylène Demongeot: Abigail Williams
  • Pascale Petit: Mary Warren
  • Jean Debucourt: Reverend Parris
  • Sabine Thalbach: Kitty
  • Ursula Körbs: Wolitt
  • Michel Piccoli: James Putnam
  • Alfred Adam Thomas Putnam
  • Françoise Lugagne: Jane Putnam
  • Darling Légitimus: Tituba
  • Pierre Larquey: Francis Nurse
  • Aribert Grimmer: Giles Corey
  • Jeanne Fusier - Gir: Martha Corey
  • Hans Klering: Field
  • Werner Segtrop: drummer
  • Gerd Michael Henneberg: Herrick

The Witches of Salem (French Les sorcières de Salem) is a feature film by Belgian director Raymond Rouleau from the year 1957. In the film, which co-produced the GDR was at the DEFA studios in Babelsberg with France, it is a film adaptation of the play the Crucible ( as well as the West German film title ) by Arthur Miller. The screenplay adaptation written by the French writer and philosopher Jean -Paul Sartre.


Massachusetts, late 17th century. In the Puritan village of Salem Abigail Williams fell in love with the married John Proctor, who leads a loveless marriage with the virtuous Elizabeth. Abigail developed an intense passion for the settlers who turns into boundless jealousy when she can not hold him. She accuses Elizabeth in their spiritual uncle as a witch. In the course of the onset of mass hysteria, a process takes place in which Elizabeth is confronted by Abigail's accusations. During the process the pious Elizabeth opens her husband, who tried to avert the death sentence for his wife love. This he succeeds, but he is himself arrested and sentenced to death; but he finds with the help of his wife back to faith. After his death, Elizabeth shows mercy to the informer.


Arthur Miller was inspired by the Salem Witch Trials in the early 1950s. With the play he transformed his own experiences. During the McCarthy era, the writer should, by the U.S. Congress committee to combat " un-American activities " charged in June 1956 and sentenced in 1957 for " contempt of Congress " to a fine and a year in prison on probation. The following year, Miller was acquitted. His piece was premiered in January 1953 at New York's Broadway and award-winning two Tony Awards.

The first film version of Miller's play was co-produced by the DEFA. In order to retain its international status, the GDR film studio was in the 1950s co-productions with French companies, a. In addition to The Witches of Salem arisen among others Gérard Philipes Joris Ivens and ' The Adventures of Till Ulenspiegel (1956) and Jean -Paul Le Chanois ' Hugo film adaptation Les Misérables ( 1958). As a main actor the play couple Simone Signoret and Yves Montand was obliged who had previously interpreted the Proctor - married couple on stage. Cinematographer Claude Renoir worked with an intense close-up - style and high-contrast light-dark illumination.


The U.S. American critic Bosley Crowther (The New York Times) praised the witches of Salem, despite some lengths as " persistently captivating film" and pointed to the presence of actors. " Perhaps the most striking illustration is the Yves Montand puritanical as impotent husband ... But Simone Signoret follows closely behind, as a strict Puritanerfrau whose inherent sense of justice is greater than their innate jealousy ," said Crowther. Mylène Demongeot was " brilliantly smoothly and properly disturbing. " British Times highlighted the " thoughtful, brooding intensive" operation of director Raymond Rouleau forth that would benefit mainly the scenes with Abigail and Elizabeth. " Mademoiselle Mylene Demongeot takes no more than to spare a smile of her mouth angle to make it clear that they will denounce Elizabeth as a witch ... Mademoiselle Simone Signoret is silence and a passive resignation, however, are not enough to be a tragedian to prevent. "

According to the West German filmdienst fails the film, " drop the historical costume, thus taking the example of adherence to the generally valid. " Even Sartre's screenplay find " on a piece of ... on the abuse and madness of religious power and existence no clear answer ." Blessed was the game the main character Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, for which she "unlimited admiration " deserved. " Almost without transition and with the simplest means it shapes ( Signoret ) her image from the varying voltage internal conversion stages ... "

Displeasure aroused an inserted Sartre prison scene that does not appear in Miller's play. In a monologue condemning Proctor accuses people's representatives and church representatives. Critics of Christian circles held the witches of Salem then only for " mature adults " suitable and believed a " significant anti-clerical tendency of the spirit of liberalism " to identify.


The Witches of Salem was represented in 1957 in competition at the International Film Festival of Karlovy Vary. Although Shades had film in the award of the first prize against the Indian contribution Chased Raho of Shanbhu Mitra in the cold, but Yves Montand, Simone Signoret and Mylène Demongeot were awarded the Best Actor Award. A year later, Simone Signoret won for the second time after 1953 the price for the Best Foreign Actress at the British Film Academy Awards. Mylène Demongeot received a nomination for Best Young Actress.