The Scarlet Letter (1979)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama
5.8
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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.

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Title: The Scarlet Letter (1979– )

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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 Nathaniel Hawthorne (unknown episodes)
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Storyline

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.

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2 April 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der scharlachrote Buchstabe  »

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(4 episodes)

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The filmmakers' decision to outfit Hester Prynne with a gold letter "A" was sharply criticized at the time of the mini-series' premiere on P.B.S. as author Nathaniel Hawthorne was quite specific about the "scarlet letter" being red-colored. In the novel, the adjective "scarlet" wasn't only used in the symbolic sense (scarlet meaning "grossly and glaringly offensive" in the sense of "sinning in flagrant and scarlet fashion" [deriving from the use of the word in Isaiah 1:18 & Revelation 17:1-6], thus being associated with sexual immorality); the letter sewn onto Hester Prynne's clothing in the novel actually was colored scarlet, albeit it was sewn to her clothing with gold thread. In the words of Hawthorne, "...[W]ith all the townspeople assembled and levelling their stern regards at Hester Prynne, - yes, at herself, - who stood on the scaffold of the pillory, an infant on her arm, and the letter A, in scarlet, fantastically embroidered with gold thread, upon her bosom!" (Chapter Two). See more »

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Version of The Scarlet Letter (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Loved this version
25 March 2001 | by (California) – See all my reviews

I saw this series when it first premiered with much fanfare on PBS in the Boston area 20 years ago. I was in my early teens, but the story moved me and has endured as a favorite. I was delighted to see that this version had finally come to video a few years ago, and was as beautiful as I remembered. I get so much more out of the dialogue now, and although the effects are as cheesy as you might expect from a PBS miniseries from over 20 years ago, the music is still affecting, and the performances excellent. It's gorgeously filmed in and around New England, and the "making of" shorts included on the video are a nice touch. As I recall, the story is very close to the original -- a notable difference being the color of Hester Prynne's eyes, which were black in the story, but are light blue in this version. I mention this because Meg Foster's eyes stand out to give her an other-worldly look which is very effective. This miniseries is way up there on my must-see list!


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