MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 20,984 this week

The Scarlet Letter (1934)

5.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.3/10 from 215 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 2 critic

In the seventeenth century, in Massachusetts, a young woman is forced to wear a scarlet "A" on her dress for bearing a child out of wedlock.

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 902 titles
created 04 Jul 2011
 
a list of 28 titles
created 11 Dec 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 07 Apr 2012
 
a list of 214 titles
created 01 Apr 2013
 
a list of 408 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Scarlet Letter (1934)

The Scarlet Letter (1934) on IMDb 5.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Scarlet Letter.

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Henry B. Walthall ...
Cora Sue Collins ...
Pearl
...
Bartholomew Hockings
Virginia Howell ...
Abigail Crakstone
William Kent ...
Sampson Goodfellow (as William T. Kent)
William Farnum ...
...
Innkeeper
Al O. Henderson ...
Master Wilson (as Al C. Henderson)
Jules Cowles ...
Beadle
Mickey Rentschler ...
Digerie Crakstone
Shirley Jean Rickert ...
Humility Crakstone
Flora Finch ...
Faith Bartle, the Gossip
Edit

Storyline

At the end of the 17th century a impetuous woman of noble birth but poor arrives in Boston when it was just a village rather than a city. As she is married to an old doctor she tries to change her life. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale of sin & redemption!

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 September 1934 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Henry B. Walthall played Chillingworth in both this and the 1926 silent version. See more »

Connections

Version of The Scarlet Letter (1917) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Immortal Hawthorne novel gets poverty row treatment
30 June 2001 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

"The Scarlet Letter" (Majestic, 1934), directed by Robert G. Vignola, is the first sound screen adaptation to the immortal novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, set in 18th century Massachusetts, starring former silent movie comedienne Colleen Moore in what was to become her final screen appearance.

Filmed eight years after the silent MGM 1926 success that starred Lillian Gish and Lars Hanson, this sound adaptation differs from the earlier film in both continuity as well as production values. In the silent version, Hester Prynne (Gish), a seamstress whose husband is away at sea, meets the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale (Hanson), who falls in love with her unaware that she is married. However, she becomes pregnant with his child and after the baby's birth, she keeps Dimmesdale's secret that he is the father in spite of the punishment she must face. In the sound version, set in 1642, the story starts off almost immediately in which the viewer finds Hester Prynne (Moore), already a mother, holding her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms, standing in front of the congregation. She is on trial for having the child out of wedlock and because she refuses to name the father of her baby, for her humiliation and punishment she must wear the scarlet letter "A" over her bosom for the rest of her natural life. Henry B. Walthall, who plays Roger Prynne, Hester's middle-aged husband in both 1926 and 1934 versions, appears in the near beginning of the story while in the silent version, his character makes his appearance almost an hour from the start of the film. In the two versions, his character returns home from his long sea journey to find his young wife has beared forth a child that is obviously not his, thus, and to save face, decides to be known through the community as Doctor Roger Dillingwell. Hester, in turn keeps her husband's identity a secret, knowing that his avenge is to learn the father's identity. Moving forward to 1647, Hester's daughter, Pearl (Cora Sue Collins), now five, must face her own humiliation by being an outcast to the neighborhood children, who refuse to play with her, and being insulted by their mothers, unaware as to why she is being treated just as cruelly as her mother, who steps in on Pearl's behalf after one scene finding Pearl getting mud thrown at her by the other children. As for the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale (Hardie Albright), he silently suffers for being worshiped by his congregation, unable to confess to all, through a promise he had made to Hester to keep silent, that he is the one responsible for Hester's guilt, and continues to suffer until the climax.

While "The Scarlet Letter" in 1926 was intelligently made and still holds up surprisingly well today, the 1934 adaptation might have equaled the earlier had it not been for its low production values and very slow pacing. Some of the dialog spoken has good intentions and meaning, but then sinks with some unnecessary comedy scenes (mostly by Alan Hale and William Kent) and poorly spoken dialog that unbalances the continuity to the story. At times I wonder what it would have been like had MGM itself remade "The Scarlet Letter" with Lillian Gish reprising her earlier role, with possibly Fredric March or Franchot Tone playing Dimmesdale. Would it have been a failure or would it have been in the class of MGM's other literary works of that period, which include the 1935 releases of "David Copperfield," "Anna Karenina" and "A Tale of Two Cities?"

Personally, after seeing "The Scarlet Letter" of 1934 several times, which is currently a public domain title available through numerous video sources, I find it's real fault is its slow pacing, and sometimes the performance of Hardie Albright, whose character plays weak, but fails to bring forth the strong points to his character. Aside from the actors mentioned, the movie includes screen veterans William Farnum, Virginia Howell and Jules Cowles (who can also be seen in the 1926 version). Film buffs will delight into watching this rarely seen find, which did enjoy some frequent revivals during the early years of Cable TV in the 1980s, but others will find themselves falling asleep long before the movie is over. But steer clear of the Demi Moore 1995 "free adaptation.". To learn more about the Hawthorne literary classic, just read the novel. (**)


15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Good movie jeberkin
Discuss The Scarlet Letter (1934) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?