Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Scarlet Letter|
Actors: Colleen Moore, Hardie Albright, Henry B. Walthall, Cora Sue Collins, Alan Hale
Director: Robert G. Vignola
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
Taking its place alongside many of the screen's classic thrillers of the 1930s, The Scarlet Letter has never been seen in a high quality version on home video... until now. Though inspired by one of the all-time classic no... more »
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The Gish/Hanson Version Rules
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 04/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen two motion picture renditions of the Hawthorne classic, this one starring Colleen Moore in her final role and the 1926 silent classic starring Lillian Gish and Lars Hanson. This 1934 film is very different than the silent version. The courtship between Hester Prynne and Pastor Dimmesdale that made up a major portion of the Lillian Gish version is skipped entirely. The absence of this background causes the scene where Prynne receives her 'A' to be less dramatic. Henry B. Walthall plays Roger Prynne in both of these films. As a Walthall fan, I was happy to see the silent star have much more significant air time here than in the 1926 film. Walthall is seen right from the beginning and his character is given the opportunity to explain his feelings more than in the earlier rendition. Roger Prynne "Chillingworth," who makes Hester promise not to admit to being his wife, almost shows sympathy towards Hester's plight. Still, Roger will not grant her request to leave Pastor Dimmesdale (played by Hardie Albright) to his own personal guilt. Roger insists on sadistically contributing to the adulterer's slow torment. As the other reviewers have noted, the Laurel and Hardy wannabe team of Alan Hale and some other guy really fall flat. It is not that humor was inappropriate for the Scarlet Letter. The silent film had Karl Dane as the dopey fellow who speaks to his prospective wife through a courtship trumpet only to get slapped for his "unbridled passions" when he steals a kiss before he leaves. This humor worked because it was subtle. Many of the early talkies offered comedy relief which was often excessive. The Scarlet Letter of 1934 is another example. Despite the silly humor, it is not a bad film. The acting is very good. It is just not an emotionally powerful film like the Gish/Hanson version."
Richard D. Papp | Nashville, TN | 12/19/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Buyer beware before ordering this! If you're a fan of Lillian Gish, D.W. Griffith and great films in professional high quality, you're getting none of the above with this scam, this absolute sham. Instead, you get the 1934 version with Colleen Moore. Why the seller doesn't present it as such (even the horrible packaging doesn't) is beyond me... I hope this product gets dropped immediately."
F. P. Horne | London | 01/07/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The film on the disc in the box is NOT as the box claims Victor Sjostrom's wonderful silent version of The Scarlet Letter, which I have seen, but the very poor sound version from the 1930s. I suggest that Amazon ceases to advertise it as the 1926 version."
Secret repentance kills the soul and the body
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 06/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This adaptation of Hawthorne's novel is not a masterpiece according to today's cinematographic art. But it is an essential historical document on how the novel was seen in these old years, and how the cinema worked : with no special effects and no computers, not even color. And moreover it is an essential film because the vision of the novel and of the plot is, though short and simple, extremely faithful. We hence have a full drama of impossible repentance imposed onto one sinner by the other. Repentance has to be public or it is not. We also have a drastic vision of the punished woman becoming the glorified person whereas the man who goes unpunished by society is tenfold more punished by his own soul and guilt. Punished to death. This is the very reversal of the puritan vision by life that thus appears as denying any righteousness to puritanism. The point on which this film is rather deficient is the vision of the child. In those days it xas not that easy to get a child to perform this role, the role of Pearl. It is slightly regrettable because the child is the real center of the novel, in spite of what some may think. She is the real heroin and the true winning victim. At this level there is some cynism on the part of the novel and this film renders it very well.
Dr Jacques Coulardeau