In Puritan Boston, seamstress Hester Prynne is punished for playing on the Sabbath day; but kindly minister Arthur Dimmesdale takes pity on her. The two fall in love, but their relationship cannot be: Hester is already married to Roger Prynne, a physician who has been missing seven years. Dimmesdale has to go away to England; when he returns, he finds Hester pregnant with their child, and the focus of the town's censure. In a humiliating public ceremony, she is forced to don the scarlet letter A - for adultery - and wear it the rest of her life. Dimmesdale is encouraged by the church fathers to demand of Hester the person with whom she sinned.Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
Lillian Gish's puritan costume from this film was at one point housed in The Crocker Museum in Hollywood, the first museum dedicated to props and other artifacts from American films. The museum was started by actor Harry Crocker, circa 1928, and was located on Sunset Blvd. See more »
In 2000, Turner Entertainment Co. copyrighted a restored version with a musical score written by Lisa Anne Miller and Mark Northam and a running time of 98 minutes. Its previous version ran 79 minutes. See more »
MGM's 1926 adaption of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is, quite possibly, the best motion picture to have been released in the silent screen era's latter days. It can, undoubtedly, be looked upon as the best that two of that era's best actors-Lillian Gish & Lars Hanson-were paired up in. And, too, one very talented child actress, by the name of Joyce Coads, deserves to be given big credit. (She made only 10 more films before taking a final bow from the limelight; in her 2nd to last-"Devotion" 1931-she didn't get billing.) "The Scarlet Letter" should also be noted as, perhaps, the very best that Victor Seastrom- whom Charlie Chaplain had called "the best director in all the world" ever delivered. Just don't make the mistake of seeing this film as a good adaption of Hawthorne's novel. Because it's not. The film is a total of an hour and 20 minutes. Had it been really true to the novel, it just might have been longer than "Gone With The Wind." (And, speaking of the wind, as fate would have it, Seastrom directed only one more film in the US, which also teamed up Gish and Hanson: namely, "The Wind" (1928). MGM gave Seastrom his walking papers because he'd refused to give "The Wind" a happy ending. "The Scarlet Letter" of 1926 should also be seen by anyone who just might be under the mistaken impression that silent films can't leave a lasting impression.
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