By Percy MacKaye. In a 17th century Massachusetts town, a scarecrow is magically transformed into a man and charged with the mission of destroying true love. Spectacular performances by two-time Oscar┬n a 17th century Mass... more »achusetts town, a scarecrow is magically transformed into a man and charged with the mission of destroying true love. Spectacular performances by two-time Oscar┬«-nominee Gene Wilder (Young Frankenstein, The Producers)and Tony┬« Award-winner Blythe Danner (Butterflies Are Free). Also starring Norman Lloyd and Will Geer (The Waltons).« less
Scarecrow: A welcomed gem returns after 32 years...
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a pleasure to revisit this first-rate production after its 30 years in obscurity. Funny, serious and haunting "Scarecrow" is the colorful tale of a bewitched scarecrow, falsely disguised as the image of true love, and the awakening of his heart's desire to seek and claim his soul as his own.
This production is worth viewing just to enjoy Gene Wilder's compelling and earlier performances and he is joined by an impressive cast.
Pete Duel, as the real image of true love, provides important balance as the story's sole voice of truth and reason to Blythe Danner's spellbound maiden and Wilder's beguiling scarecrow. Will Geer as the central target of Norman Lloyd's Devil and his disciple, Nina Foch, are all perfection and terrific fun."
"Man is but a vessel wherein imps and angels play charades."
Mary Whipple | New England | 07/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Set in seventeenth century Massachusetts, Percy MacKaye's historical fantasy, based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1852 short story "Feathertop Tale," had its world premier in 1909. In MacKay's play, Goody Rickby, a woman who admits to being a witch, and her assistant Dickon, the Devil incarnate, create a scarecrow which they bring to life. Goody Rickby has had a long-standing hatred of her neighbor, Justice Gilead Merton, who lives beside her, ever since their child died at birth and he refused to acknowledge the relationship or any responsibility.
When Merton's ward Rachel is about to get married, Goody Rickby and Dickon decide to pay him back for his sins and his arrogance by introducing the scarecrow-come-to-life as Merton's illegitimate son from England. If Merton allows the scarecrow, now known as Lord Ravensbane, to meet Rachel and Merton's friends, they imply, the world will never know of his hypocrisy. Dickon, however, is charged with the task of making Lord Ravensbane so attractive to Rachel that she will fall in love with him, Goody Rickby's perfect revenge.
In this 1972 Broadway Theatre Archive production, Gene Wilder is Lord Ravensbane, a role he plays with the stilted movements of a not-quite-real being and the innocence of someone just come to life. Talking as much with his eyes as with his voice, Lord Ravensbane relies on Dickon (Norman Lloyd) for coaching as he courts Rachel (Blythe Danner, the perfect ingenue). Rachel finds him a refreshing change from her current suitor (Pete Duel) with his stilted Puritanism--and far more interesting--and Lord Ravensbane inevitably surprises Goody Rickby (Nina Foch) and Dickon by falling in love with Rachel. Will Geer, as Justice Merton, though pompous, lacks puritanical fervor, but he plays his role as Rachel's guardian to the hilt. In the climactic scene, "Lord Ravensbane," awaiting final word on whether Rachel will marry him, must decide whether to not to continue as the shadow of a man.
As far from Arthur Miller's The Crucible as it is possible to be, this fantasy is a light comedy in which each scene resembles a sit-com. No effort is made to replicate the real tenor of the times or the real behavior of the Puritans (or real period architecture or furnishings, for that matter). The author does, however, illustrate the themes of what makes a man, what makes a man fall in love, and what is love itself. Fun to see, and with a terrific cast, this is another winner from Broadway Theatre Archives. n Mary Whipple "
Remembering Pete Duel
ASJ Fan | UK | 08/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this awhile back to see the performance by the late Peter Duel (of Alias Smith and Jones fame). He was very good, but Gene Wilder was brilliant, totally different from the usual comedy roles he has done. Totally recommended for any Gene Wilder or Pete Duel fan."
Beckys | Great Plains, USA | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was in high school and not very impressed by professional "theater" when this aired in 1972. Yet I sat glued to the television for the entire program (it aired without commercials) because of the performance of Gene Wilder. Sure, I loved Pete Duel (and still do) and Blythe Danner was marvelous, but Wilder was absolutely stunning, mesmerizing, and all those overused words. Watching this show, I learned the power of a comedic actor in a dramatic role and have never forgotten it. Jackie Gleason in The Hustler...Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People...Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society...Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. I was willing to watch them all because I believed I could be transformed by their performances as I was by Gene Wilder's. I have wished for years that this would be reshown or released so that others could be as enthralled as I was. And seeing it nearly 40 years later, it's still as powerful as the first time."
Scarecrow (Broadway Theatre Archive)
John Michael Rafter | 11/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I mainly purchased the video Scarecrow (Broadway Theatre Archive) becaure I'm a fan of Pete Duel, one of the actors in the play. The play had a touching philosophical ending with the Scarecrow played by Gene Wilder asking questions like Is there a God? Who made me? Why am I here? What is love? I only wish it had subtitles so I can follow along easier because of my poor hearing."