The Scarlet Letter (1926 film)

For works with similar titles, see The Scarlet Letter.
The Scarlet Letter  (1926) 
by Victor David Sjöström
The Scarlet Letter is a 1926 American drama film based on the 1850 novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne and directed by Swedish filmmaker Victor Sjöström (credited as Victor Seastrom).
Key (info)
Dialogue
In scene
Storyline
Video Camera Icon.svg The following is a transcription of a film. The contents below represent text or spoken dialogue that are transcribed directly from the video of the film provided above. On certain screen sizes, each line is represented by a timestamp next to it which shows when the text appears on the video. For more information, see Help:Film.

ARSGRATIAARTIS

TRADEMARK



Metro
Goldwyn
Mayer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Presents
LILLIAN GISH
IN,
Nathaniel Hawthorne'S
The Scarlet Letter
WITH
LARS HANSON
A VICTOR SEASTROM PRODUCTION


A
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
PICTURE

CONTROLLED BY
LOEW'S INCORPORATED

ADAPTATION AND SCENARIO BY
FRANCES MARION

TITLES BY
FRANCES MARION
SETTINGS BY
CEDRIC GIBBONS & SIDNEY ULLMAN
COSTUMES BY
MAX RÉE
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
HAROLD BUCQUET
PHOTOGRAPHED BY
HENRIK SARTOV
FILM EDITOR
HUGH WYNN

DIRECTED BY
VICTOR SEASTORM

CAST

HESTER PRYNNE
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
LILLIAN GISH
THE REVEREND ARTHUR DIMMESDALE
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
LARS HANSON
ROGER PRYNNE
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
HENRY B. WALTHALL
GILES
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
KARL DANE
THE GOVERNOR
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
WILLIAM H. TOOKER
MISTRESS HIBBINS
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
MARCELLE CORDAY
THE JAILER
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
FRED HERZOG
THE BEADLE
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
JULES COWLES
PATIENCE
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
MARY HAWES
PEARL
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
JOYCE COAD
A SEA CAPTAIN
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
JAMES A. MARCUS

Here is recorded a stark episode in the lives of a stern, unforgiving people, a story of bigotry uncurbed and its train of sorrow, shame and tragedy——

Puritan Boston on a Sabbath Day in June——

The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, beloved by his people.

A WANTON GOSPELLER

"I pray that God will help me to explain the point which thou hast disputed with the Elder on Lecture Day."

"——and make thee again one with us in spirit."

"A purse for thy good works, Master Dimmesdale."

"It comes as a gift from our hearts. We thank God every day for thy ministry."

His Worship, the Governor of the Colony.

Hester Prynne
ye Seamstress.

VANITY
IS AN
EVIL
DISEASE

"Hester Prynne's bird singing on the Lord's Day! What is Boston coming to?"

"Must thou always be a tabby-cat, Mistress Hibbins?"

"'Tis against the law to run and skip on the Sabbath! The minister must be told!"

"It distresses me to gossip, Master Dimmesdale, but——"

"Hester Prynne must be punished!"

"Control thy wanton nose, Master Giles!"

"Hester Prynne, thou hast profaned God's holy day!"

"Take heed, therefore! If ye sin, ye must pay——there is no escape!"

FOR RUNNING
& PLAYINIG
ON ye SABBATH

Berry Giles
Barber &
???

"Behold what thy gabbling tongue hath done——old crow!"

"I did not dream the committee would mete out further punishment to thee——"

"It matters not—since the order came not from thee."

"Wood-pussy!"

"Hester, I hope thou hast learned a great lesson!"

ye RECORDS OF ye
LAWS &
STATUTES
of ye COLONIE

Laws for Washing
Under garments of Women are immodest though necessary/ They must be washed in secret & hidden from masculine eyes/

"Woman, whoever thou art—stop!"

"Again thou hast been doing wrong! What art thou hiding?"

"It would be pleasant, sir, to walk beside thee and hear thee condemn me for my sins."

"I have told thee my thoughts—thou dost say they are sinful—but, why?"

"Why are we taught to be ashamed——of love?"

"Hester, I have fought against it—but I love thee——"

Laws of Ye Courtship
Engaged Couples must conduct their courtships through long speaking Tubes & not until after marriage may ye speaking Tube be laid aside & Lips meet in chaste & restrained Caress/

"Nine o'clock and all's well! Go to your homes!"

"Father! I will not be wed to a man of such unbridled passions!"

"The Governor is sending me to England with a message to the King!"

"Now thou canst refuse me no longer. Thou art going with me—as my wife!"

"I cannot marry thee—"

"My wedding ring——"

"Another man's wife—and in my heart thou hast been my wife—my wife!"

"I loved thee so——I feared to tell thee lest thou turn from me entirely."

"On the day I left England my father forced me to marry a wealthy surgeon—"

"When his estates were settled he left England...but these years have brought no word of him."

"I was never wife to him—I loved him not and told him so."

"I cannot live without thy forgiveness!"

"Lights out! All's well!"

It was summer again—

"Cockroach!"

"Master Dimmesdale hath returned!"

"The ship arrived at Salem a week earlier than we expected—"

"I bring good news! Our petition was granted by the King!"

"Hester Prynne is to be punished on the scaffold!"

"Hester Prynne? What hath she done?"

"Truly a man of God! He hath compassion for the blackest sinner."

"Thou shalt not be branded alone! Together we must stand, thou and I!"

"I——I am the guilty one, Hester! I must share thy punishment."

"And make me suffer doubly——to know that I have helped destroy thee——"

"Thou hast no right to tear down the ideals of thy followers who look to thee for guidance."

"Atone! Atone for both of us—with thy good work—"

"We may never see each other again, but I will have comfort in beholding thy life of devotion and service."

"How our dear minister suffers with the guilty ones!"

"The charge of her soul has been with thee. Exhort her to name her fellow sinner."

"Hester Prynne—I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow sinner."[1]

"Be not silent from any mistaken pity or tenderness for him! Speak out his name!"

"It would be far better for him to stand on thy pedestal of shame than hide a guilty heart through life."

"I will never betray him. I love him—and I will always love him!"

"——and would that I might endure his agony as well as mine!"

"Hester Prynne—I stand before thee to mete out thy punishment!"

"Reveal the brand of shame—to be worn until thy death!"

A

"Adulteress!"

"We have decided thy child shall be taken from thee and brought up by a Christian woman!"

"I pray thee—any punishment but that! I cannot give thee my child!"

"Wouldst thou protect a brat of the Devil—unbaptized and damned?"

"Before God thy child shall have a name—and I will baptize her!"

"What wilt thou name her?"

"Pearl...for she is indeed a pearl of great price."

"I baptize thee Pearl in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."

A

Outcasts——shunned and despised! But Hester's happy child reflected the hope that still lay in her mother's heart.

"Mother, why does the minister put his hand over his heart?"

"Stay! I would question the brat——as to her soul."

"My mother picked me from a rosebush."

"Heard ye ever such blasphemy! She is possessed of the Devil."

"Thou art ill, reverend sir. We are frightened by thy weakness——"

"Spare thyself, Master Dimmesdale. We could ill afford to lose thee."

"Every time I pass the house I put a curse upon that child of sin!"

The tortured heart—doubly tortured by the love and veneration of his people.

And Hester—never in all the bitter, lonely years had she felt so helpless——

"Our boat was wrecked on the coast, and I was held prisoner by the Indians for seven years."

"If your colony will ransom me, my skill will repay you. In England I was a physician of some renown."

"Come with me, Giles! My child! My child—"

[...] Llewellyn
David Prince
Henry Thatcher

Amos Chilton
Roger Chillingworth

"Go for the minister! Tell him my child is dying!"

"Thou hast come back—from the dead!"

"Better that such a child should die!"

"Wouldst thou avenge thyself on an innocent child?"

"Dost think a vengeance so shallow would satisfy me?"

"Calm thy fears. She will live."

"Hester Prynne! Who's the father of this child?"

"Hester! Our child——"

"Who is that man?"

"I am—her husband!"

"Thou art the man! I had not thought to find thee so soon——"

"I will not betray thy guilty secret——"

"—my revenge will be infinite!"

"Do not lose heart—the world is wide—leave this place of suffering——"

Days of indecision and wretchedness....At last a way seemed open——

"A Spanish ship sails tomorrow after the election festival. I have seen the captain and secured passage."

"Across the seas—there is happiness to be enjoyed—good to be done——"

"I am too ill——too broken——I lack the courage to venture alone."

"We shall be with thee——"

"With this symbol I undo the past and make it as if it had never been!"

"Breathe it not to a soul—the Governor is an old nincompoop!"

"—and the Beadle is a parrot in petticoats!"

"I'll punish Mistress Hibbins for this! She shall be ducked by Giles!"

On the morrow——Election Day——the one day in the Puritans' year when gaiety was not an offense.

"I am wrongly accused! Never hath my tongue been given to gossip!"

"Falsehood! Her tongue hath wagged like the tail of a dog! Duck her again!"

"We sail tonight on the flood tide——the wind is favorable."

"Purge yourselves of intolerance! Judge not—for only the eyes of God may see into the heart of a sinner!"

"An inspired sermon! Never hath he spoken so eloquently!"

"When are we going on the ship, mother?"

"The ship that takes thee and Hester away takes me!"

"Yes, everything is ready. Come on board at sunset."

"Dost think thou shalt ever have happiness? I shall always follow thee!"

"People of New England! At last!——At last! I stand where I should have stood five years since——with Hester Prynne!"

"Believe him not! His mind is unbalanced by his illness. He accuses himself falsely!"

"Hear me! Ye have shuddered at Hester's scarlet letter while my brand of sin and infamy lay hidden! Behold it!"

"I love thee so——I cannot face life without thee——"

"That is as God wills—and God is merciful."

"Is not this a better freedom than any we have dreamed of?"

The End


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.


The author died in 1960, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

 
  1. In this version, this intertitle was reconstructed, and in this reconstructed intertitle the em dash appeared as a regular dash (-). Per the styling of the real intertitles of the rest of the film, this was almost certainly an em dash (—), therefore introducing an inconsistency in the reconstruction. This likely misnomer has been fixed in the Wikisource transcription. (May 2022) (Wikisource contributor note)