Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Scarlet Letter (1934)
"Previously filmed with Lillian Gish in 1926, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was given a remarkably faithful treatment by low-budget Majestic Pictures in 1934. In her last film appearance, Colleen Moore stars as 17th-century Salem resident Hester Prynne, who when she delivers a child out of wedlock is forced by the prudish townspeople to wear the scarlet "A" for adultery. The father of the baby is none other than Reverend Dimmesdale (Hardie Albright), who wants to confess to his indiscretion but is prohibited from doing so by the pious Hester. Things come to a sorry pass when Hester's long-missing husband Roger Chillingworth (Henry B. Walthall, repeating his role from the 1926 version) returns to Salem and demands a few immediate answers. The film's colonial-era milieu is not always realized, due to inconsistent period costumes and phraseology; also, the direction and acting ranges from adequate to stilted. Still, this Scarlet Letter is a lot more worthwhile than Demi Moore's vanity remake of 1995."