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.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Cora Sue Collins ...
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Bartholomew Hockings
Virginia Howell ...
Abigail Crakstone
William Kent ...
Sampson Goodfellow (as William T. Kent)
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Innkeeper
Al O. Henderson ...
Master Wilson (as Al C. Henderson)
Jules Cowles ...
Mickey Rentschler ...
Digerie Crakstone
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Humility Crakstone
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Faith Bartle, the Gossip
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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

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale of sin & redemption!

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Drama | History | Romance

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Release Date:

18 September 1934 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred Monday 10 January 1944 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). See more »

Connections

Version of The Scarlet Letter (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Society Hard On Unwed Mothers
4 July 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This version of The Scarlet Letter starring Colleen Moore, Hardie Albright, and Henry B. Walthall was the first one done in sound and the seventh in 10 adaptions according Internet Movie Database. It marked the farewell performance of Colleen Moore who retired from the screen rather than continue in sound where she hadn't done as well as in silent films.

An independent outfit called Majestic Pictures did this one and to give it a nice ring of authenticity it was filmed at what now would be called a Puritan theme park set in Salem, Massachusetts. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne knew this culture well, one of his ancestors was the infamous Judge Hathorne of the Salem Witch Trials which occurred a couple of generations later.

These solemn and dour people who while the action of this film is taking place, 1642-1647, were also busy affecting a revolution over in the mother country that brought Oliver Cromwell to power eventually. Colleen Moore whose husband Henry B. Walthall had disappeared into the American wilderness some years before has an affair which produces a young girl child who is played by Cora Sue Collins.

But this Puritan Society is hard on unwed mothers and the town council deems her punishment to be that she be forced to wear a Scarlett Letter sewn to her garments of dress. Not unlike Jews forced to wear a yellow star of David or gays forced to wear the pink triangle under the Nazis. Walthall returns just in time to see this punishment pronounced, but he does not divulge his identity and he's welcomed in the community because he's a doctor.

Moore will not divulge the identity of the father and that would really rock this smug community as it is the town's pastor, Reverend Hardie Albright. Even back then we had people of the cloth who were not role models.

The problem is that Albright is a believer and he's really just human in a society that does not understand or tolerate human weakness. In the end it destroys him.

The whole novel with all its subtle nuances could not be filmed in a 70 minute running time. Yet I think the film managed to convey all that Hawthorne had to say on the subject. Being an independent film, it lacked production values a big studio could offer. Still the location filming made up for a lot of that.

This version of The Scarlet Letter is not a bad Cliff's Notes version of the classic novel.


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