The Scarlet Letter (1934 film)

For works with similar titles, see The Scarlet Letter.
The Scarlet Letter (1934)
by Robert G. Vignola

The Scarlet Letter is a 1934 American drama film directed by Robert G. Vignola and based on the 1850 novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Key (info)
Dialogue
In scene
Storyline
Cast and Crew
Cast
RoleActor
Hester PrynneColleen Moore
Roger ChillingworthHenry B. Walthall
Arthur DimmesdaleHardie Albright
Flora Finch
Shirley Jean Rickert
Mickey Rentschler
Jules Cowles
Betty Blythe
William Farnum
William T. Kent
Cora Sue Collins
Alan Hale
Iron Eyes Cody (uncredited)
Dorothea Wolbert (uncredited)
Crew
Production companyLarry Darmour Productions
DistributorMajestic Pictures
DirectorRobert G. Vignola (d. 1953)
ProducerLarry Darmour (d. 1942)
ScreenwriterLeonard Fields (d. 1973), David Silverstein (d. 1944)
CinematographerJames S. Brown Jr. (d. 1949)
ComposerAbe Meyer (d. 1969)
Based on available information, the latest crew member that is relevant to international copyright laws died in 1973, meaning that this film may be in the public domain in countries and jurisdictions with 50 years p.m.a. or less, as well as in the United States.
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.
4014016The Scarlet Letter1934Robert G. Vignola

Majestic Pictures Corporation
presents
The SCARLET
LETTER

from
Nathaniel Hawthorne's
Immortal Classic
~
Produced by Larry Darmour
~
Directed by
Robert G. Vignola
~

Screen Play by
Leonard Fields and David Silverstein

Photographed by
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James S. Brown, Jr.
Assistant Director
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Thomas J. Lambert

RECORDED BY RCA VICTOR SYSTEM
PASSED BY THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
COPYRIGHT MCMXXXIV

~
The Players

Hester Prynne
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Colleen Moore
Arthur Dimmesdale
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Hardie Albright
Roger Chillingworth
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Henry B. Walthall
Pearl
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Cora Sue Collins
Bartholomew Hockings
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Alan Hale
Abigail Crakstone
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Virginia Howell
Sampson Goodfellow
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William T. Kent
Governor Bellingham
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William Farnum
Innkeeper
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Betty Blythe
Master Wilson
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Al O. Henderson
Beadle
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Jules Cowles
Digerie Crakstone
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Mickey Rentchler
Humility Crakstone
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Shirley Jean Rickert
Gossip
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Flora Finch

FOREWORD
This is more than the story of a woman——it is a portrait of the Puritan period in American life. Though to us, the customs seem grim and the punishments hard, they were a necessity of the times and helped shape the destiny of a nation.

Ye King's Colony of Maſſachuſetts

15th day, ye 6th Month ... 2642

For Malicious Gossip, Mistress Faith Bartle ſhall wear Ye Cleft Stick

R. Bellingham
Governor

ye
Gossip

Man
Master Bartle is indeed a lucky man. Aye, his wife will be silent at least one day.

For Laughing on
ye Sabbath

Bartholomew
A pretty spectacle—my bosom companion seated in the stocks again. But it pains me more than thee.

Sampson
Aye, but not in the same place.

Bartholomew
Ah, here comes your beloved now.

Sampson
Oh, Bartholomew! Bartholomew, stand before me, please! Please stand before me.

Bartholomew
Good day, Mistress Abigail.

Abigail Crakstone
Good day, Master Bartholomew.

Bartholomew
Yes, I've seen Master Sampson. I'm waiting here for him.

Digerie Crakstone
Oh, look, Mother, Master Sampson's in the stocks!

Sampson
Greetings, Mistress Abigail.

Abigail Crakstone
Sinner! You had better heed the teaching of the Reverend Dimmesdale, or you will end your days on the scuffle.

Roger Chillingworth
Hey! Ishkaba![1]

Roger Chillingworth
Dima bayutuwa bayorega?

Ishkaba
Dila shtate, dala iseshkawa.

Roger Chillingworth
Ah.

Innkeeper
Good day.

Roger Chillingworth
Good day, Mistress. Can you serve me food and lodging?

Innkeeper
Lodging we have none. But can you not return later for food? Even now the bell summons us all to the square.

Roger Chillingworth
Is it at feast day?

Innkeeper
Have you not heard of the scandal in the Master Dimmesdale's church? From whence came you?

Roger Chillingworth
From the south, where I was shipwrecked, and spent two weary years among the heathens.

Innkeeper
Oh! It must gladden your heart to again be in a land where iniquity is searched out and punished.

Roger Chillingworth
Truly.

Innkeeper
Even today a gentlewoman is being punished by the magistrate for indulgement.

Roger Chillingworth
Does her husband accuse her?

Innkeeper
Oh, no. No, she's a widow. Her husband was a learned doctor. The plague which was raging in London detained him, so he sent her on ahead.

Roger Chillingworth
What happened to him?

Innkeeper
He must be at the bottom of the sea, for there have been no tidings from him in over two years. Being left to her own misguidance, his wife, Hester Prynne, went astray.

Roger Chillingworth
Hester Prynne? 'Tis a lie! A purer creature never lived.

Innkeeper
You know her?

Roger Chillingworth
Know her? I'm her husba-...her husband's best friend.

Innkeeper
Oh.

Roger Chillingworth
Who accuses her?

Innkeeper
Her child.

Roger Chillingworth
Hester Prynne, a child?

Innkeeper
Aye, a little girl.

Roger Chillingworth
You mean, Hester Prynne has born a child in the past two years?

Innkeeper
I do.

Woman 1
It would be well for the public if we women had the handling of such hussies as Hester Prynne.

Woman 2
Well said, goodwife. We would teach her a pretty lesson.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Is one mad to look upon a gentlewoman's shame?

Man
But, Master Dimmesdale, Moses in the law commands that such as she be stoned.

Arthur Dimmesdale
'Twas but one greater than Moses said, "He who is without sin may first cast a stone."

Governor Bellingham
Master Dimmesdale, you should not take the sin of one of your flock so much to heart.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Governor Bellingham, our Lord did pardon such a one. He said, "Go, woman, and sin no more." Cannot we do as much?

Governor Bellingham
Oh, with what could so be pardoned to precede the penalty?

Beadle
A blessing on ye righteous people of the Colony of the Massachusetts!

Beadle
Make way, good people! Make way in the King's name!

Abigail Crakstone
Look! The baggage walks with the dignity of a queen. Has she no shame?

Bartholomew
Peace, peace. She suffers enough.

Governor Bellingham
Hester Prynne, you have been found guilty of adultery. We are loathed to invoke the full penalty of the law. For the people, reveal the name of him that tempted you.

Hester Prynne
No.

Governor Bellingham
Master Dimmesdale, as her pastor, you know best what arguments to use to prevail upon her to speak his name.

Arthur Dimmesdale
'Twould endanger a woman to force her to lay open her heart secret before so great a multitude.

Man
The shame lay in the commission of the sin, not in the showing of it. Someone must deal with this sinner. Shall it be you or I?

Abigail Crakstone
Poor Master Dimmesdale. It is a shame that such a scandal should come upon his congregation.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester Prynne, I beg you to speak out the name of your fellow sinner. Be not silent from any mistaken pity for him, for your silence compels him to add hypocrisy to sin, though he has not the courage to grasp it for himself. For the peace of his soul, do not deny him the comfort of an honest confession, even though he were to step down from a high place to share your shame.

Roger Chillingworth
Speak, woman, speak!

Crowd
Aye! Speak! Speak!

Hester Prynne
No! No, never! I wish I could bear his agony as well as mine.

Governor Bellingham
Hester Prynne, so that all men may know you are guilty of the sin of adultery, and shun you in their wisdom of evil, it is now ordered that you shall wear upon your bosom for the rest of your natural life the scarlet letter A.

Woman 1
A wise sentence. She will be a living sermon against sin.

Woman 2
But she can cover the mark with her hand and stroll about as bold as ever.

Abigail Crakstone
True. It would be better if they put the brand of the hot iron on her forehead. That she could not hide.

Governor Bellingham
Let her cover the mark if she will. The pain of it will always be in her heart.

A

HESTER PRYNNE
ye SEAMSTRESS

Hester Prynne
You should not have come here.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester, I cannot keep silent. I will not see you go through life with that infamous brand, while people look upon me with reverence. I must reveal myself for what I am.

Hester Prynne
No, no, Arthur. It would make my burden only the heavier to see you dishonored.

Arthur Dimmesdale
How can I stand in my pulpit and meet the eyes of the people, who are hungry for truth, knowing in my soul that I am a living lie? Hester, we must marry.

Hester Prynne
Think not of us. Your duty is with the people. They've entrusted their very souls to your care. If we destroy their faith, where will they turn? What will they do?

Arthur Dimmesdale
What can a ruined soul like mine do toward the redemption of other souls?

Hester Prynne
You have repented. Your life is not less holy than it appears in their eyes. To destroy their faith would be a greater sin. And it would only shatter the love we bear each other. No, Arthur, it cannot be.

Arthur Dimmesdale
But what is to become of you?

Hester Prynne
My salvation and yours can come only from heaven. Our very lives must be a living penance. It is God's will.

Arthur Dimmesdale
His will be done.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Bless you, Hester, and may you find peace.

Hester Prynne
May you...find...peace.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester! Hester, what's the matter?

Hester Prynne
Nothing! It's been such a trying day, and I'm tired. Please. Please leave me, alone.

Governor Bellingham
The story is a strange one. Since the divine hand of providence guided you here, I bid you welcome.

Roger Chillingworth
Thank you, sire.

Governor Bellingham
Sign the record.

Governor Bellingham
Here.

William Brewster
Samuell Cooke
Resoluad Stanley
Myles Bradford

Ryanrdo Eaken
Doctor Roger Pr

William Brewster
Samuell Cooke
Resoluad Stanley
Myles Bradford

Ryanrdo Eaken
Doctor Roger Chillingworth[2]

Governor Bellingham
Ooh! A doctor of medicine?

Roger Chillingworth
Fortunately, it was my skill in that science that won the friendship of the Indians, and enabled me to make my way here.

Governor Bellingham
The Colony is indeed fortunate. We have long needed a skilled man of medicine.

Roger Chillingworth
Thank you. Now, where can I find lodging? The tavern is already filled.

Governor Bellingham
Well, that is indeed a problem.

Governor Bellingham
Oh, Master Dimmesdale. Master Dimmesdale!

Arthur Dimmesdale
Yes, sire?

Governor Bellingham
Reverend Dimmesdale, this is Doctor Roger Chillingworth.

Arthur Dimmesdale
I bid you welcome.

Roger Chillingworth
Thank you.

Governor Bellingham
Master Dimmesdale, is there not an unoccupied room where you dwell at Mistress Crakstone's house?

Arthur Dimmesdale
Yes, sire, there is.

Governor Bellingham
I am sure that Mistress Crakstone will be pleased to let you have it.

Arthur Dimmesdale
I'll gladly take you there.

Roger Chillingworth
Thank you.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Good to hear that you are a doctor. Mistress Prynne has suffered much today. Will you attend her?

Roger Chillingworth
As soon as I've secured my lodging.

Arthur Dimmesdale
It will be an act of kindness.

Roger Chillingworth
Well, that will give me pleasure, indeed.

Roger Chillingworth
Here. Drink.

Hester Prynne
I have thought of death, and wished for it—would even have prayed for it where it fits that such as I should pray for anything. Yes. If death be in this cup, I bid you think well before you see me drink it.

Roger Chillingworth
Have no fear. My vengeance is to let you live—to give you medicines against harm, so that your burning shame may still glaze against your bosom. I will see your punishment in the eyes of men and women—yea, even in the eyes of your own misbegotten child, so.

Hester Prynne
Roger, I have wronged you greatly.

Roger Chillingworth
We have wronged each other. Mine was the first wrong, for thinking that one so young could mate with one as old as I.

Hester Prynne
You know I was frank. I felt no love for you, nor pretended any.

Roger Chillingworth
True. It was my folly and your weakness. So, between you and me, the scale hangs fairly balanced. But, Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both. Who is he?

Hester Prynne
That you shall never know.

Roger Chillingworth
Never? If he walked the earth, I'll find him. If he be in hell, I'll follow him.

Hester Prynne
No, no! The fault is mine! You must not harm him!

Roger Chillingworth
Have no fear. I shall not betray him to the law. Let him hide himself in outward honor if he may. Nonetheless, he shall not escape me.

Hester Prynne
Roger Prynne...

Roger Chillingworth
Prynne? Roger Prynne lives no more. I demand of you that you breathe not to a human soul that you did ever call me husband. Henceforth I shall be known as Roger Chillingworth.

Hester Prynne
Why not announce yourself openly and cast me off at once?

Roger Chillingworth
Because I care not for the dishonor that follows the husband of a faithless woman. Therefore, let me be known to the world as one already dead.

Hester Prynne
I will keep your secret.

Roger Chillingworth
As you've kept his, I hope.

Roger Chillingworth
And now, Hester, I leave you alone. Alone with your infant, and your shame.

1642

1647

Sampson
It would be easier to take the wheel off if we remove the water casts.

Bartholomew
Squire, I was about to do so.

Bartholomew
This work would go much faster with my helper a man instead of a midget.

Sampson
Oh, yea?

Bartholomew
Aye, aye.

Sampson
My name is Sampson and I'm as strong as my name be tokened.

Bartholomew
Sayest thou!

Sampson
Sayest I.[3]

Bartholomew
Couldst thou unaided support the car?

Sampson
Of a certainty.

Bartholomew
Then position thyself.

Sampson
Hey!

Bartholomew
It will take but a moment.

Woman 1
Is there not a board left?

Woman 2
I have finished, goodwife. Use mine.

Woman 1
Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.

Abigail Crakstone
What is this world coming to? Just look at this. Only five years old and beginning to wear already.

Young woman
I think five years' wear is good enough.

Abigail Crakstone
That's the trouble with you young folk. You have no sense of good or bad.

Woman 3
Well said, Mistress Abigail. When I was a girl, things were very different.

Abigail Crakstone
'Tis disgraceful! Only last week Thomas Cook was seen kissing his wife on the Sabbath!

Woman 3
Oh!

Young woman
Is it so sinful to love a wife on the Lord's Day?

Abigail Crakstone
For shame! That's the work that they do to you. Take heed, young woman, lest you end up like yon miserable sinner.

Woman 4
I always said her punishment was much too light!

Hester Prynne
Pearl? Pearl?

Young woman
She has great skill with a needle. I would that I could employ her to make my wedding garments.

Abigail Crakstone
Wedding garments? 'Tis enough that honest folk can let her earn her livelihood with her needle, but to permit her to sew on wedding garments—well, that would be an ill omen!

Hester Prynne
Where were you, dear?

Pearl
Picking flowers.

Hester Prynne
Aren't they lovely!

Pearl
Who made the flowers, Mother?

Hester Prynne
God did.

Pearl
Who made me?

Hester Prynne
God the Heavenly Father made all things.

Pearl
I found the flowers in the ceiling. Where did you find me?

Hester Prynne
I found you on a rose bush.

Pearl
Oh!

Hester Prynne
Do run on, dear.

Pearl
All right.

Woman 4
Look at that child, dancing like a heathen!

Abigail Crakstone
Like mother, like child! It would be better if that young one were given over to a more God-fearing woman for training.

Children
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Hester Prynne
Hey, Master Hockings.

Bartholomew
Oh.

Hester Prynne
Will you repair my basket?

Bartholomew
Oh, it will be a pleasure. Quite heavy.

Hester Prynne
Mistress Billings was ill. I did her washing also.

Sampson
Hey!

Bartholomew
It will take but a moment!

Sampson
Aw!

Children
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Digerie Crakstone
Halt! What are you doing here?

Pearl
Marching.

Digerie Crakstone
Go away. You cannot play with us.

Digerie Crakstone
Go away!

Children
Ahahahahahahahahahaha!

Pearl
Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

Bartholomew
Here you are, Mistress Prynne. 'Tis as good as new.

Hester Prynne
Thank you.

Hester Prynne
Stop it! Stop it! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Digerie Crakstone
She started it. She's to blame.

Abigail Crakstone
Gasp! Digerie, come here! Who did it?

Digerie Crakstone
She did it!

Abigail Crakstone
You little heathen! I'll teach you!

Hester Prynne
Look to your own children, Mistress! My child was not to blame!

Abigail Crakstone
Yours is to blame. If you were an honest, God-fearing woman, and brought your child up in a proper manner, this would never happen.

Hester Prynne
Say what you will about me—I can tolerate your insults—but lay not a hand on my child or you will rue it!

Abigail Crakstone
How dare you speak like that to me? If you taught your child its proper place, there would be no trouble, because my children know better than to have anything to do with your brat! You're a disgrace to the Colony, and your child will end just like you. It would be a blessing if she were taken away from you, and brought up in a Christian manner.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Silence, Mistress Abigail!

Abigail Crakstone
I was but telling this woman...

Arthur Dimmesdale
Silence, Mistress Abigail! You've said enough.

Hester Prynne
Thank you, Master Dimmesdale.

Hester Prynne
Come, dear.

Roger Chillingworth
It is a strange child. 'Tis easy to see her mother in her. I wonder if by studying the child, one could learn who the father might be.

Roger Chillingworth
You take the burdens of your flock too much to heart. Your health won't permit it.

Arthur Dimmesdale
It's all right, Roger. I'll be all right.

Hester Prynne
There, there. Don't cry.

Pearl
Mother, why won't they let me play with them?

Hester Prynne
Now, now.

Pearl
But, Mother, I wanted to play, too.

Hester Prynne
Pearl, dear, you love your mother, don't you?

Pearl
Of course I do.

Hester Prynne
Well, you would not want to go off and play and leave me all alone, would you? I like to play too.

Pearl
Do you, Mother?

Hester Prynne
Of course I do. And we'll not let them play with us either, will we?

Pearl
No! And we'll play soldier, too! Yes! And I'll be the captain!

Hester Prynne
Okay. Now, let's see. Here's your sword.

Pearl
Thank you. But where's yours?

Hester Prynne and Pearl
Hahahahaha!

Hester Prynne and Pearl
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Pearl
Halt!

Pearl
Forward! March!

Hester Prynne and Pearl
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Beadle
His Excellency Governor Bellingham demands your immediate attendance.

Hester Prynne
Well, what does he want me for?

Beadle
I do not know. Make haste.

Hester Prynne
Well, I'll be there as soon as I change my dress.

Beadle
Very well.

Governor Bellingham
Hester Prynne, the point has been discussed whether we do well to trust your child to the guidance of one who has stumbled and fallen. The child needs to be instructed in the truths of Heaven and Earth. What can you do for her in this way?

Hester Prynne
I can teach my child what I've learned from this.

Governor Bellingham
Woman, it is because of the stain which that letter indicates we would transfer the child to other hands.

Hester Prynne
Nevertheless, this badge has taught me—it daily teaches me—lessons whereas my child may be the wiser and better.

Governor Bellingham
We shall judge for ourselves. Oh, Master Dimmesdale, examine this child and see whether she has such training as befits one of her age.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Come here, child. What's your name?

Pearl
Pearl.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Can you tell me who created you?

Pearl
Nobody! Mother found me on a rosebush.

Governor Bellingham
This is awful! We need inquire no further. For the child's welfare, she shall be taken out of your charge.

Hester Prynne
No, no, no! She's mine. God gave her to me in place of all the things He's taken from me. She's my happiness, and my punishment too. You cannot take her.

Governor Bellingham
My poor woman, the child shall be well cared for, far better than you can do it!

Hester Prynne
God gave her into my keeping, and I will not give her up!

Hester Prynne
You speak for me. You are my pastor. You know me better than these men. You know what a mother's rights are. Speak for me. Don't let them take my baby away.

Arthur Dimmesdale
There is truth in what she says. God gave her the child, and there is a sacredness in that relation.

Governor Bellingham
Make that plain, Master Dimmesdale.

Arthur Dimmesdale
The Heavenly Father has sent this child as a blessing, and also as a punishment—a constant reminder of her fall from grace. This child was meant, above all things else, to keep her mother's soul alive. For Hester Prynne's sake, then, and no less for the poor child's sake, let us leave them as providence has seen fit to place them.

Roger Chillingworth
You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness.

Governor Bellingham
We will leave the matter as it now stands, providing you send the child to Reverend Dimmesdale for proper Christian training.

Hester Prynne
It shall be done.

Sampson
Bartholomew, wouldst thou please go away?

Bartholomew
Ingrate! I am to try and do anything.

Sampson
I've done my courting these past five years without thy aid, and I do not need it now!

Bartholomew
Five years and no progress.

Sampson
'Tis well-nigh impossible to court a woman with her children always present.

Bartholomew
A mere trifle.

Sampson
Sayest thou.

Bartholomew
Sayeth I.

Bartholomew
If thou will but let me speak for thee, the bands will be posted on the morrow.

Sampson
Of a certainty?

Bartholomew
Of a certainty. Remember, I will be the spokesman.

Sampson
Thou art a friend indeed.

Bartholomew
Look to your appearance.

Abigail Crakstone
Oh, thank you, Master Bartholomew! Would you come in?

Sampson
Thou art a great aid, indeed.

Bartholomew
A mere trifle.

Bartholomew
Mistress Crakstone, I have come on an affair of the heart.

Abigail Crakstone
Won't you sit down, Master Bartholomew?

Bartholomew
Abigail? For well-nigh five years...

Abigail Crakstone
Digerie, Humility, come here. Study your catechism.

Bartholomew
For five years, a man has...

Abigail Crakstone
A rare coincidence—'tis the selfsame courting trumpet my first husband used when he asked me to marry him.

Sampson
What did you say?

Bartholomew
I said, "For well-nigh five years, someone has loved thee dearly."

Sampson
Excellent. Proceed.

Abigail Crakstone
Oh, Master Bartholomew.

Bartholomew
I said, "He is no longer content to worship thee in silence."

Sampson
What did she say?

Bartholomew
She said, "Oh, Master Bartholomew."

Abigail Crakstone
Speak with an open heart.

Bartholomew
I said, "Has he your permission to speak to you on a question that is close to his heart?"

Sampson
What did she say?

Bartholomew
She said, "Speak with an open heart." Here.

Sampson
Will you marry me?

Abigail Crakstone
No!

Sampson
She said no.

Roger Chillingworth
Good day, gentlemen.

Bartholomew
Good day, Doctor. I see you've been gathering herbs.

Roger Chillingworth
They're to make medicine for Master Dimmesdale.

Sampson
Poor a man. People do say he is much too saintly to remain long on this earth. How is he today?

Roger Chillingworth
As well as could be expected.

Sampson
'Tis a blessing they dwell together. Only his constant attention sustains the minister's health.

Bartholomew
A touching devotion, for what is more noble than a loyal friend?

Sampson
Aye! What is more no-...

Arthur Dimmesdale
Is that you, Roger?

Roger Chillingworth
How are you feeling this afternoon?

Arthur Dimmesdale
No better, no worse.

Roger Chillingworth
Ah, have patience, my friend.

Arthur Dimmesdale
What a peculiar-looking herb. Where did you find it?

Roger Chillingworth
In the graveyard, on a grave that had no marker to commemorate the dead man, save these dismal leaves. Perhaps it grew from his heart, and carries some hideous secret which he had done better to confess during his lifetime.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Perhaps he earnestly desired it, but could not.

Roger Chillingworth
Why not?

Arthur Dimmesdale
Some men are kept silent by their very natures. They shrink from showing their sins to the eyes of man.

Roger Chillingworth
Even that is better than to suffer the hellish tortures of a guilty conscience.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Maybe so.

Roger Chillingworth
Arthur, as one in charge of your physical wellbeing, have all your ills been laid fairly open to me?

Arthur Dimmesdale
What do you mean? Why do you ask?

Roger Chillingworth
A bodiless sickness is often but the symptom of a spiritual alarm. If you would have me heal the body of evil, you must firstly open the trouble in your soul.

Arthur Dimmesdale
If it be the soul's disease, then I commit myself to the one physician of the soul, not to you.

Roger Chillingworth
I am sorry. Forgive me, Arthur.

Roger Chillingworth
There is a woman who has none of the misery of a hidden sinfulness. Is she less miserable, think you, for the scarlet letter on her bosom?

Arthur Dimmesdale
I do believe it.

Hester Prynne
Is Master Dimmesdale home?

Abigail Crakstone
Yes.

Hester Prynne
I brought little Pearl for her lesson in catechism.

Abigail Crakstone
Master Dimmesdale?

Arthur Dimmesdale
Yes?

Abigail Crakstone
Mistress Prynne has brought the child for her lessons.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Oh, thank you, Abigail.

Roger Chillingworth
I leave you with your pupil.

Arthur Dimmesdale
You want to please your mother, do you not?

Pearl
Yes, Master Dimmesdale.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Come to me, my child.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Now, pay heed to what I teach you.

Pearl
Yes, Master Dimmesdale.

Arthur Dimmesdale
God is the Heavenly Father. He is the Father of all children.

Pearl
But they have a real father. I want one, too.

Arthur Dimmesdale
If it will make you feel any happier, think of me as your father.

Arthur Dimmesdale
I am as a father to all my flock.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Do you know your letters?

Pearl
I know that one.

Arthur Dimmesdale
What is it?

Pearl
It's the great letter A.

Arthur Dimmesdale
How do you know?

Pearl
Because Mother always wears it here.

Arthur Dimmesdale
"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight, that thou mightst be justified when thou speak and be clear when thou judge. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward part, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know thy wisdom. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Purge me with hyssops, and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Hide thy face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not the Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation..."

Sampson
Amen!

Arthur Dimmesdale
"...and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy way and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me my bloodguiltiness, O God, and thou God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth thy praise, for thou desireth not sacrifice; else would I give it..."

Woman
I was not asleep.

Bartholomew
Thine eyes were closed.

Woman
I was but meditating.

Bartholomew
To get thou on at once the way to Heaven, so well thou could find it with thine eyes closed?

Arthur Dimmesdale
"Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion. Build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering, then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar."

Arthur Dimmesdale
There is one who is ill and not with us this day. So let us pray that Sister Allerton may soon be well. Heavenly Father, deliver thy child who is ill and not with us this day. If it be thy will to take one of us, take me. I, who wear the black garments of the priesthood, am utterly a pollution and a lie. Spare this righteous woman and take me, the vilest of sinners, and an abomination in thy sight. Let the words of my mouth be acceptable unto thee, O God, my strength and my redeemer.

Woman 1
An inspired sermon.

Woman 2
Of Godly youth, he is indeed a saint.

Woman 3
God cannot refuse his prayers. Mistress Allerton must soon be well.

Woman 4
Yes, indeed.

Women
Good day.

Bartholomew
If our good pastor beholds such sinfulness in his own white soul, what horrid spectacle would he see in thine?

Sampson
Or thine.

Pearl
Mother?

Hester Prynne
Yes, dear?

Pearl
Mother, may I tell Mistress Allerton the minister prays for her?

Hester Prynne
Yes, dear. We'll tell her tonight. We'll make her very happy.

Mistress Allerton
This one would be nice. Better leave before it's dark.

Hester Prynne
I'll not leave you alone.

Mistress Allerton
It won't be for long. The doctor will soon be here.

Hester Prynne
Well, I'm praying he come. Here, drink this. 'Twill make you strong.

Mistress Allerton
Hester, I have greatly wronged you. Will you forgive me?

Hester Prynne
Oh!

Roger Chillingworth
Ah, you're looking better this evening. How the minister's prayers are beginning to bear fruit.

Mistress Allerton
With these prayers, and Hester Prynne's broth, it's no miracle I recovered.

Roger Chillingworth
I hear good tidings of you on all hands. Only yesterday the council was debating as to whether the scarlet letter should be taken off your bosom.

Hester Prynne
Were I worthy to be rid of it, it would fall off of its own nature.

Roger Chillingworth
But if it suits you better, then wear it.

Hester Prynne
Good night, Mistress Allerton. I will see you tomorrow.

Roger Chillingworth
Good night, Mistress Prynne.

Mistress Allerton
We have treated her most unkindly. No one ever went near her, save Master Dimmesdale. And he only went out of duty to her soul.

Roger Chillingworth
Yes, I am convinced daily he has done much for her soul.

Beadle
Nine o'clock and all's well! Lights out! Lights out!

Beadle
Nine o'clock and all's well!

Arthur Dimmesdale
Heavenly Father, behold in the incident, I have sinned before Heaven and in thy sight.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester! Hester Prynne! Is that you? Hester Prynne, is it you?

Hester Prynne
Yes.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Come up. Come hither.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Come!

Arthur Dimmesdale
You have both been here before, but I was not with you.

Hester Prynne
Arthur, have you not found peace?

Arthur Dimmesdale
No, nothing but despair.

Hester Prynne
But the people reverence you. Does that bring you no comfort?

Arthur Dimmesdale
More misery—when I look inward and see the black reality of what they idolize, I would their reverence would turn to scorn, into hatred!

Hester Prynne
Calm yourself. Your sin has left behind you long ago.

A

Arthur Dimmesdale
Look! The letter A! The heavens proclaim my guilt.

Hester Prynne
Please, it's a storm. Come, Arthur, come! You should not stand here!

Arthur Dimmesdale
No! No, no, now I stand where I should have stood five years ago, by your side!

Arthur Dimmesdale
Who's there?

Roger Chillingworth
Your good friend, Roger Chillingworth.

Arthur Dimmesdale
How did you know I was here?

Roger Chillingworth
I knew nothing of the matter. I was returning from the bedside of Mistress Allerton.

Roger Chillingworth
My good friend, surely the Lord's work does not demand that one even so pious as you could attend his flock at such an unseemly hour as this. You must rest, else these night whimsies will draw upon you. Come, let me take you home.

Beadle
Ten o'clock and all's well!

Roger Chillingworth
Good day, Mistress Prynne. You sent for me?

Hester Prynne
Yes.

Hester Prynne
Pearl, dear, run out and play.

Pearl
All right.

Roger Chillingworth
So Mistress Hester has a word for old Roger Chillingworth. Speak freely and I will answer.

Hester Prynne
Five years ago, you made me pledge secrecy to the fact that you were my husband. In doing so, I was false to the only man to whom I should have been true.

Roger Chillingworth
What choice had you? My finger, pointed at this man, would have hurled him from his pulpit into a dungeon.

Hester Prynne
Better it had been so.

Roger Chillingworth
What evil have I done the man? That he lives at all is owing to me.

Hester Prynne
You keep him alive only to feed your vengeance! You burrow and rankle in his heart. You cause him to die daily a living death. And still, he knows you not. Better he had died at once. Have you not tortured him enough?

Roger Chillingworth
No. No! I live only for that.

Hester Prynne
Be once more human. You have it at your will to pardon. Do not reject that privilege.

Roger Chillingworth
No, Hester. Never!

Hester Prynne
Very well. Do what you will. But he shall know you and your true life.

Abigail Crakstone
May I not do something for you?

Arthur Dimmesdale
No, no. I'll be all right. Just going for my walk.

Bartholomew
Mistress Crakstone?

Abigail Crakstone
Oh!

Bartholomew
I'm seeking Master Sampson. He said he would be here.

Abigail Crakstone
Would you sit down and wait for him?

Sampson
What it is?

Bartholomew
'Tis nothing at all.

Sampson
Nothing at all? My best friend and the woman I love—for shame, thou snake in the grass!

Bartholomew
Oh, be calm, Sampson. I can explain.

Sampson
There is not to explain! You know full well it is a sin for a man to behold a woman's...nethergarments!

Abigail Crakstone
Sampson!

Sampson
Quiet, woman! Thou hast been dishonored.

Sampson
If thou hast one spark a manhood in thee, thou wilt marry this woman.

Abigail Crakstone
Aye, 'twould be the honorable thing to do.

Bartholomew
But thou lovest her. Thou marry her!

Sampson
After thou hast seen her nethergarment?

Bartholomew
But thou did see them also.

Sampson
So I did.

Abigail Crakstone
But Master Bartholomew did see them first.

Sampson
True! Thou must marry the woman. I shall ask the Reverend Dimmesdale to post the bands.

Abigail Crakstone
You will have to wait for him. He's gone for his walk in the woods.

Hester Prynne
Arthur! Arthur Dimmesdale! I've been looking for you. Pearl, Pearl, dear, don't go too far.

Pearl
I won't.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester. Hester, you little know what a relief it is to see you alone. Had I but one friend, or even an enemy, who knew me for what I am, my soul might keep itself alive.

Hester Prynne
But I am that friend, Arthur. And you have such an enemy under the same roof with you.

Arthur Dimmesdale
An enemy under the same roof? What do you mean?

Hester Prynne
Oh, Arthur, forgive me. Truth was the one virtue to which I held fast, except when your good name was questioned—then I consented to deception. I must tell you! That old man, Roger Chillingworth, was my husband.

Arthur Dimmesdale
I might have known. The secret was told me in the natural recoil of my heart.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Why didn't you tell me this before?

Hester Prynne
He pledged me to silence.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester, I can bear no more. You are strong, Hester. Advise me what to do.

Hester Prynne
You must dwell no longer with this man.

Arthur Dimmesdale
How can I avoid it?

Hester Prynne
Does the universe lie within comfort of yonder town? 'Tis the broad pathway of the sea that brought you here. It will bear you back again. Begin life anew! There's happiness beyond!

Arthur Dimmesdale
No, it cannot be. I have not the courage to venture into a strange land alone.

Hester Prynne
You shall not go alone.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester.

Hester Prynne
Even now, there's a vessel in the harbor. It sails the day after election. I will secretly engage passage.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester, this is already the new life. Why didn't we think of it sooner?

Hester Prynne
Let us not go back. The past is gone!

Captain
I order a drink to the yonder.

Captain
Hey, e'eryone. Bring a small tankard of ale.

Man
Yes, sir.

Captain
Will you gentlemen join us in a drink?

Bartholomew
Nay, I am a most unhappy man.

Captain
What? On election day? Why, this is the time for merrymaking!

Bartholomew
Not for me.

Sampson
He is soon to be married.

Captain
Oh, that's a mere trifle! Why, I've got a wife in every port!

Bartholomew
Aye, but thou art a ship's master, and well accustomed to stormy weather.

Captain
Well said, my boy. Well put. Well, have another drink.

Sampson
Uh-uh! You've had enough. Mistress Abigail will be angry.

Bartholomew
That's for Abigail. I will be master in my own house.

Sampson
Sayest thou.

Bartholomew
Sayeth I.

Digerie Crakstone
Mother wants you, and if you don't come immediately, she will come and fetch you.

Captain
Here's to the bride.

Pearl
Mother? What are all the people doing here at the square?

Hester Prynne
They're waiting to see the procession pass. There'll be soldiers marching and drums.

Captain
Good day, Mistress! I've been seeking you!

Hester Prynne
What is it, Captain?

Captain
Everything is in readiness. A cabin for you, the little girl, and one for the gentleman are open.

Hester Prynne
We shall be there.

Captain
Yes, we're going to sail on the noon tide. And it should be a healthy voyage, with a ship surgeon and his other doctor on voyage with us.

Hester Prynne
Have you another passenger?

Captain
Yes. I suppose you know. He said he was one of your party. Chillingworth's the name. He said he's a friend of the gentleman you spoke of.

Hester Prynne
Yes, he knows him—well, indeed.

Abigail Crakstone
Bartholomew?

Bartholomew
Yes?

Abigail Crakstone
Take the children by the hand.

Bartholomew
Yes, my love.

Roger Chillingworth
The crowd has gathered to hear your election sermon. 'Twould be a calamity for their faith to be destroyed.

Roger Chillingworth
What do you think they will say on the morrow, when they discover that their saintly pastor has fled with the woman of the scarlet letter? My friend, you are pale.

Roger Chillingworth
It is well that I am sailing with you.

Arthur Dimmesdale
Stop! Stop!

Arthur Dimmesdale
People of Massachusetts, ye that have deemed me holy, you that have loved me—behold in me the one sinner of the world. At last I stand where I should have stood five years ago, by the side of Hester Prynne!

Hester Prynne
It's not true! It's not true! He accuses himself falsely! His illness has unbalanced his mind!

Arthur Dimmesdale
No, no, at last I see clearly. You have seen Hester's scarlet letter and shuddered at it. But there was one among you whose brand of shame you have not seen!

Roger Chillingworth
Quiet, madman!

Arthur Dimmesdale
Well, at death's door, I stand before you. Look again at Hester's scarlet letter! It is the shadow of what I bear in my own heart! Stand any here who question God's judgment of a sinner? Then behold a dreadful witness of it!

A

Arthur Dimmesdale
Pearl. Pearl, my child. Will you kiss me?

Hester Prynne
Shall we not meet again? Shall we not spend our immortal lives together? Look far into eternity with your bright dying eyes and tell me, what do you see?

Arthur Dimmesdale
Jesus. Peace.

THE END
A
Majestic Picture


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) between 1929 and 1977 (inclusive) with a defective copyright notice. The copyright notice in this work contains at least one of the following defects:

  • Notice does not include the copyright symbol ©, the word "Copyright", or the abbreviation "Copr.";
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A defective notice does not invalidate copyright in cases where the error is immaterial and would not mislead an infringer, such as an abbreviated name.


The longest-living author of this work died in 1953, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may 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.

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  1. In this scene, where Roger Chillingworth speaks to a Native American in his native language, it is unknown whether the language used in this film is legitimate or gibberish, what language it would be in, or how accurate the pronunciation and grammar is to any language. Therefore, in this transcription, the language is transcribed as accurately as possible to its received pronunciation. (Wikisource contributor note)
  2. A few of the names on this paper, such as "Resoluad" and "Ryanrdo", were illegitimate names that were probably deliberately written with these spellings in the movie, as they are not important bits of the text. (Wikisource contributor note)
  3. The archaic conjugation sayest, used in this running gag by Sampson throughout the movie for its rhythmic effect, is incorrectly applied here. The correct 17th-century first person conjugation would be "Say I." (Wikisource contributor note)