RECORDED DELIVERY; A critical guide to the week's videos

The Crucible (12) Fox, rental, 15 Sept (above). Based on Arthur Miller's enduringly disturbing play about the 17th-century witch trials in Salem, Nicholas Hytner's rendition is terrifying. The complacent puritanism of a small community is turned upside-down by a gaggle of young girls, led by the demented Abigail (Winona Ryder), who are discovered dancing around a bonfire and casting love spells in the woods. Fearing punishment, they blame the devil and accuse other villagers of encouraging them with Satanic visitations. A witchcraft expert is called in who embarks on a ruthless cleansing of the town. There is some ferocious acting from Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor, a farmer who becomes embroiled in the witch- hunting through a past affair with Abigail, and a stern performance from Paul Scofield as the magisterial judge.

Box of Moonlight (15) First Independent, rental, 15 Sept. The misery of a workaholic is the over-subscribed subject of Tom DiCillo's film. John Turturro plays the steadfast Al Fountain, an electrical engineer whose construction project is mysteriously cut short. He takes time out for a bit of spiritual enlightenment, retreating to a childhood haunt where he hooks up with The Kid, an irresponsible delinquent who sells stolen suburban gnomes to make ends meet. A formulaic plot is resuscitated by its unexpected depth and some curious detours from the narrative.

Mulholland Falls (18) Retail, pounds 12.99, 15 Sept. A testosterone-filled 1950s cop flick about blackmail and skulduggery in which Max Hoover (Nick Nolte) plays an unscrupulous and adulterous detective, sporting a ridiculously huge hat. On investigating the mysterious death of his mistress he uncovers a nuclear conspiracy, a story which fails to sustain interest. The most unthrilling of thrillers.

Dance With The Teletubbies (U) Retail, pounds 12.99, 15 Sept. Twinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po have transcended their pastel pre-school status through their newfound adult audience. But will health-conscious grown- ups be prepared to part with Jane Fonda for a work-out with four beer- bellied soft toys?

Fiona Sturges

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