Raymond Rouleau

Sog.: dalla pièce Il crogiuolo di Arthur Miller. Scen., Dial.: Jean-Paul Sartre. F.: Claude Renoir. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: René Moulaert. Mus.: Georges Auric. Int.: Yves Montand (John Proctor), Simone Signoret (Elizabeth Proctor), Mylène Demongeot (Abigaïl), Raymond Rouleau (Danforth), Jean Debucourt (Parris), Françoise Lugagne (Madame Putnam), Alfred Adam (Thomas Putnam), Jeanne Fusier-Gir (Martha Corey), Yves Brainville (Hale), Pierre Larquey (Francis Nurse). Prod.: Raymond Borderie per Films Borderie, C.I.C.C. – Compagnie Industrielle et Commerciale Cinématographique, Pathé Cinéma, DEFA – Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft (Berlino). DCP. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Les Sorcières de Salem is a film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s famous play, The Crucible, which was first performed on Broadway in January 1953. It premiered in Paris on December 16, 1954, at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt with an adaptation by Marcel Aymé and directed by Raymond Rouleau.
Inspired by the 1692 witch trials in Salem, a small village in the Puritan colony of Massachusetts, Miller created an allegory of the McCarthyism rampant in American society and especially in Hollywood. The Proctors, the main characters, seem similar to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a New York communist couple that had just been to trial and sentenced to death for spying for the USSR (executed on the electric chair on June 19, 1953, while Miller’s play was billed on Broadway). Simone Signoret and her husband Yves Montand advanced plans for a French adaptation. For these fellow travelers of the French communist party who had just participated in the international campaign to save the Rosenbergs, the drama of Miller’s characters and the martyrdom of the couple in the name of McCarthyism coincided despite being separated by three centuries. At the end of 1953, Montand and Signoret received a literal translation of The Crucible, of which their friend and American director John Berry – who had recently resettled in France – had spoken enthusiastically. Signoret and Montand got to work. Their only request: the director had to be Raymond Rouleau, one of Jacques Becker’s favorite actors and an acclaimed man of theater who was known for being demanding and uncompromising. “It was hard to get the project off the ground because it was not easy to find a producer interested in that kind of story. We managed to find one, though, Raymond Borderie, while Montand and I decided to co-produce it by investing our salaries in the film” (Simone Signoret). The screenplay and dialogues were assigned to Jean-Paul Sartre, who was Miller’s first choice for its stage adaptation (despite that, Miller would criticize Sartre’s Marxist angle!). Rouleau’s film has remained unseen since its first release in France.

Lenny Borger

Copy From

Restored in 2K by Pathé, at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, from the original camera negative and a duplicate negative scanned at 4K, and an optical negative soundtrack