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HISTORY

Onscreen credits misspell Mickey Rentschler's name as "Rentchler." According to a news item in HR, The Scarlet Letter was to be the first production of Larry Darmour's "newly organized" Globe Pictures Corp. Filming was to begin at Darmour's Hollywood studio on 1 Apr 1934. No review, release chart, screen credit or other source, however, refers to Globe Pictures Corp. as the production company for this film. A HR production chart includes Alma Chester in the cast, but her participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
       The Scarlet Letter has been filmed many times, including a 1909 Kalem Pictures short; a 1917 Fox production, directed by Carl Harbaugh and starring Mary G. Martin and Stuart Holmes; a 1926 M-G-M picture, directed by Victor Seastrom and starring Lillian Gish and Henry B. Walthall; and, a 1995 Hollywood Pictures production, directed by Roland Joffé and starring Demi Moore and Gary Oldman (see entries). The 2010 high school comedy Easy A, produced by Screen Gems, directed by Will Gluck and starring Emma Stone, was loosely inspired by the novel and included clips of the 1934 production.
       Television adaptations included a 1950 CBS television broadcast, produced by Worthington Minor for Studio One starring Mary Sinclair; a 1954 NBC television broadcast, adapted by George Faulkner for Kraft Theatre starring Kim Stanley; and a 1979 public television production starring Meg Foster. ...

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Onscreen credits misspell Mickey Rentschler's name as "Rentchler." According to a news item in HR, The Scarlet Letter was to be the first production of Larry Darmour's "newly organized" Globe Pictures Corp. Filming was to begin at Darmour's Hollywood studio on 1 Apr 1934. No review, release chart, screen credit or other source, however, refers to Globe Pictures Corp. as the production company for this film. A HR production chart includes Alma Chester in the cast, but her participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
       The Scarlet Letter has been filmed many times, including a 1909 Kalem Pictures short; a 1917 Fox production, directed by Carl Harbaugh and starring Mary G. Martin and Stuart Holmes; a 1926 M-G-M picture, directed by Victor Seastrom and starring Lillian Gish and Henry B. Walthall; and, a 1995 Hollywood Pictures production, directed by Roland Joffé and starring Demi Moore and Gary Oldman (see entries). The 2010 high school comedy Easy A, produced by Screen Gems, directed by Will Gluck and starring Emma Stone, was loosely inspired by the novel and included clips of the 1934 production.
       Television adaptations included a 1950 CBS television broadcast, produced by Worthington Minor for Studio One starring Mary Sinclair; a 1954 NBC television broadcast, adapted by George Faulkner for Kraft Theatre starring Kim Stanley; and a 1979 public television production starring Meg Foster.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Jul 1934
---
Daily Variety
6 Jul 1934
p. 3
Film Daily
18 Sep 1934
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1934
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 1934
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 1934
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald
2 Jun 1934
p. 30
Motion Picture Herald
14 Jul 1934
p. 40, 42
Motion Picture Herald
17 Nov 1934
p. 80
Variety
25 Sep 1934
p. 14
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost supplied by
SOUND
Thomas J. Lambert
Sd rec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (New York, 1850).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 September 1934
Premiere Information:
Brooklyn, New York opening: 14 Sep 1934
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Majestic Producing Corp.
15 November 1934
LP5149
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63,65 or 70
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
158
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1642, Hester Prynne stands with her baby daughter Pearl before a hostile Puritan crowd in the town square of Boston, accused of adultery. When Hester refuses to reveal Pearl's father, she is sentenced to wear a scarlet "A" on her chest, a cloth brand that will label her as an adulterer, for the rest of her life. Later that day, Hester is visited by Pearl's father, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a handsome young minister with a spotless reputation. Although Arthur begs Hester to allow him to expose his "sin," Hester insists that he remain silent and serve his congregation. Unknown to Hester, her elderly husband, Dr. Roger Prynne, who had left America two years before and was presumed drowned at sea, has just returned to Boston and has witnessed her public humiliation. Roger, using the alias of Dr. Roger Chillingworth, moves in with an unsuspecting Arthur, then reveals himself to his wife. After swearing vengeance on Pearl's father, Roger forces Hester to promise that she will keep his identity a secret. Eventually Roger deduces that Arthur is Pearl's father and starts to practice a form of mental torture on him, playing on his guilt and driving him toward physical collapse. At the same time, Hester's worthiness as a mother is questioned. With Arthur's help, Hester maintains custody of the five-year-old Pearl but, ironically, must deliver her to Arthur for regular catechism lessons. Unable to endure any longer Roger's cruel treatment of Arthur, Hester begs her husband to end his revenge, but he refuses. Angry, she breaks her vow, telling a delirious Arthur about Roger's true identity and insisting that she ...

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In 1642, Hester Prynne stands with her baby daughter Pearl before a hostile Puritan crowd in the town square of Boston, accused of adultery. When Hester refuses to reveal Pearl's father, she is sentenced to wear a scarlet "A" on her chest, a cloth brand that will label her as an adulterer, for the rest of her life. Later that day, Hester is visited by Pearl's father, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a handsome young minister with a spotless reputation. Although Arthur begs Hester to allow him to expose his "sin," Hester insists that he remain silent and serve his congregation. Unknown to Hester, her elderly husband, Dr. Roger Prynne, who had left America two years before and was presumed drowned at sea, has just returned to Boston and has witnessed her public humiliation. Roger, using the alias of Dr. Roger Chillingworth, moves in with an unsuspecting Arthur, then reveals himself to his wife. After swearing vengeance on Pearl's father, Roger forces Hester to promise that she will keep his identity a secret. Eventually Roger deduces that Arthur is Pearl's father and starts to practice a form of mental torture on him, playing on his guilt and driving him toward physical collapse. At the same time, Hester's worthiness as a mother is questioned. With Arthur's help, Hester maintains custody of the five-year-old Pearl but, ironically, must deliver her to Arthur for regular catechism lessons. Unable to endure any longer Roger's cruel treatment of Arthur, Hester begs her husband to end his revenge, but he refuses. Angry, she breaks her vow, telling a delirious Arthur about Roger's true identity and insisting that she and the minister sail away together the next day. Shortly before their departure, however, Hester learns that Roger has booked passage on the same ship. As Arthur is about to preside over his last Boston wedding, he sees Roger in the crowd and, overcome, rips off his shirt and reveals a self-inflicted "A" brand on his chest. Finally freed from his secret shame, Arthur collapses, kisses his daughter and dies.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.