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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In 1666 in the Massachusetts Bay colony, Puritans and Algonquian have an uneasy truce. Hester arrives from England, seeking independence. Awaiting her husband, she establishes independence, fixing up a house, befriending Quakers and other outsiders. Passion draws her to a young pastor. He feels the same; when they learn her husband has probably died at the hands of Indians, they consummate their love. A child is born, and on the day Hester is publicly humiliated and made to wear a scarlet letter, her husband appears after a year with Indians. Calling himself Chillingworth, he seeks revenge, searching out Hester's lover and stirring fears of witchcraft. Will his murderous plot succeed? Written by
(Based on Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings")
Performed by Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers
(Adm. by G. Schirmen Inc. (ASCAP))
Courtesy of Telarc International Corporation See more »
You could try to imagine a worse film, but why bother? As a film and as an adaptation ("freely adapted" is perhaps the greatest understatement since our involvement in Vietnam was labeled a "police action") of a book, it's a complete failure. The acting ranges from the clueless to the atrocious. Gary Oldman is apparently trying to do a Scottish accent, Demi Moore is just plain terrible, and Robert Duvall is nuts. The soft-glow sex scene is risible. There's no tension to the story because Oldman & Moore don't appear to have souls to lose. Instead of a perceptive & morally soaked tale of guilt, sin, and conscience, this is a trite, gushy story about being true to yourself. It's basically a Disney cartoon message, except without as sophisticated a presentation. The script (it's idea of 17th century English is lots of thees & thous) is as bad as everything else, substituting a nick of time rescue happy ending for Hawthorne's. So bad that it's not even enjoyable on a camp level. C-R-A-P.
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