MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 7,111 this week

The Scarlet Letter (1973)
"Der scharlachrote Buchstabe" (original title)

 -  Drama | History  -  January 1977 (USA)
6.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.0/10 from 473 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 7 critic

In 17th-century Salem, Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A because she is an adulteress, with a child out of wedlock. For seven years, she has refused to name the father. A vigorous older ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(scenario Der Herr klagt über sein Volk in der Wildnis Amerika), (scenario Der Herr klagt über sein Volk in der Wildnis Amerika), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: March

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in March.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 757 titles
created 11 Mar 2012
 
a list of 446 titles
created 07 Apr 2013
 
list image
a list of 2313 titles
created 23 Apr 2013
 
list image
a list of 171 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 433 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Scarlet Letter (1973)

The Scarlet Letter (1973) on IMDb 6/10

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

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Scarlet Letter (TV Mini-Series 1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In the 17th century Massachusetts, a married women, whose husband is missing, has a child with the local pastor. The puritanical residents of her town condemn her to carry the Scarlet Letter of shame. Then the husband shows up.

Stars: Josef Sommer, Meg Foster, Elisa Erali
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Sequence of five shots, each one with a particular color treatment, in which a man carrying a machine gun runs. He moves fast in the beginning but, as the end comes closer, he starts to ... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Hanns Zischler
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Tragi-comic, romantic whodunnit set in a run down hotel which plays host to mentally ill people too poor to afford medical insurance.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Jeremy Davies, Milla Jovovich, Mel Gibson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An affair between a young woman and a pastor has disastrous consequences.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, Robert Duvall
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander
Pina (2011)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A tribute to the late German choreographer, Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Pina Bausch, Regina Advento, Malou Airaudo
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Made of four short tales, linked by a story filmed by Wim Wenders. Taking place in Ferrara, Portofino, Aix en Provence and Paris, each story, which always a woman as the crux of the story, ... See full summary »

Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni, Wim Wenders
Stars: Fanny Ardant, Chiara Caselli, Irène Jacob
Paris, Texas (1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A man is found in the desert after four years.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Documentary about the rock group BAP from Cologne in Germany.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Wolfgang Niedecken, Wolf Biermann, Marie Bäumer
Schauplätze (1967)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Wim Wenders
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The film tells the story of a noble but poor woman who arrives at Boston in the 17th century. There she marries an old but quite rich doctor but does not become happy.

Director: Carl Harbaugh
Stars: Mary Martin, Stuart Holmes, Dan Mason
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hans Christian Blech ...
...
Yelena Samarina ...
Mistress Hibbins, the daughter of Gov. Bellingham
Yella Rottländer ...
Pearl
William Layton ...
Alfredo Mayo ...
Gov. Fuller
Ángel Álvarez ...
Rev. Wilson
Laura Currie ...
Sarah
Tito García ...
Church Attendant
Lorenzo Robledo ...
Captain
Rafael Albaicín ...
Indian
José Villasante ...
Shop Owner
Rüdiger Vogler ...
The Sailor
José Vivó
Edit

Storyline

In 17th-century Salem, Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A because she is an adulteress, with a child out of wedlock. For seven years, she has refused to name the father. A vigorous older stranger arrives, recognized by Hester but unknown to others as her missing husband. He poses as Chillingworth, a doctor, watching Hester and searching out the identity of her lover. His eye soon rests on Dimmesdale, a young overwrought pastor. Enmity grows between the two men; Chillingworth applies psychological pressure, and the pastor begins to crack. A ship stops in Salem, and Hester sees it as a providential refuge for her daughter, herself, and her lover. But will Dimmesdale flee with her? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

January 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Scarlet Letter  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 850,000 (estimated)

Gross:

ESP 3,258,945 (Spain)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Version of La lettre écarlate (1977) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Nontraditional but wondrous version of "Scarlet Letter" with magnificent Senta Berger performance
23 August 2004 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

This version of "The Scarlet Letter" is no more faithful to Hawthorne's novel than most of the others, but in its own way it's utterly magnificent.

Hawthorne's gloomy? Well, Wenders makes Hawthorne look positively cheerful! The film begins with Pearl about seven years old, and Hester is summoned to stand on the scaffold in what seems to have been some kind of annual ritual for the town elders and clerics to demand that she reveal the child's name. It's positively sadistic. At least Hawthorne only subjected Hester to one such public humiliation.

But it's Senta Berger's performance that makes this film such an absolute stand-out. She generally appears heavily wrapped up in clothing, and here's where the desolate Portuguese coast comes in so nicely, justifying such heavy clothing as protection against the wind and the cold. But it also comes across as if Hester is trying to wrap herself so heavily to suppress her own womanly sexuality. It's much like survivors of abuse, who often "overdress" in a form of psychological protection, almost as a kind of armor. And make no mistake, Hester is clearly a victim of abuse, condemned for her sexual expression and now reacting to that condemnation with such heavy self-defense against any emotional contact with those who have shunned her.

What this "cover-up" of her sexuality does is make it all the more impressive when Hester uncovers her hair and lets it flow down her back in the "forest scene" with Dimmesdale. For at least a few moments, this woman is finally finding some freedom, and it's especially impressive with that combination of gentleness and extraordinary beauty that Senta Berger manages to project as she "lets her hair down."

There's so many wonders to this film, especially with this wondrous performance by Senta Berger. I can understand that someone might dislike the constant background music. If I knew German and were trying to follow the dialog, I'd probably find it distracting. But since I'm simply following the subtitles, I actually found this constant background music a reinforcement to the extreme claustrophobic pressure on Hester's person-hood throughout this movie.

Yelena Samarina (whom Wenders apparently wanted for the role of Hester but was refused by his financial backers) is fascinating as "Mistress Hibbins," playing the role non-traditionally as the governor's daughter.

And Hans Christian Blech is also a fascinating Chillingworth, but his is not the traditional demonic portrayal of the betrayed husband. Instead, he's the "rational" investigator, the kind of "scientific detective" who would tear wings off a butterfly to see how the creature will react. All in all, he's actually even more evil than Hawthorne's portrayal, evil in a coldly and unemotionally "scientific" kind of way.

The one flaw in this movie is Lou Castel as Dimmesdale, who I actually think is the most difficult of all characters to cast in any of the film versions. The problem with Dimmesdale is that he can't be a "hunka hunka" (like Gary Oldman in the 1995 version with Demi Moore) or you wonder why he doesn't just take charge of the situation and set everything to rights. On the other hand, he can't be such a wimp that you start wondering whatever it was that Hester saw in this poor slob in the first place. Well, Lou Castel certainly doesn't err on the "hunka hunka" side, but I for one do wonder what any woman would see in the Dimmesdale that he portrayed!

I'm biased. I adore Meg Foster and think her performance in the 1979 TV-miniseries is the greatest portrayal of Hester imaginable. Unfortunately, the 1979 miniseries, though literally faithful to Hawthorne's novel, was flawed by its length which resulted in a loss of intensity. The Wenders version, on the other hand, is painfully and claustrophobic-ally intense, and Senta Berger's performance is one that draws the viewer literally into inhabiting Hester's own person and viewing all of Salem through her eyes.

You'll find VHS tapes of this on eBay. The video isn't as sharp and crisp as I might like, but since it hasn't been reissued in a better version, be happy for what you can find and snap it up as soon as you can. This film is an absolute glory.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Scarlet Letter (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?