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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Robert G. Vignola
USA 1934

 

Colleen Moore stars as Hester Prynne in this 1934 version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale of sin and redemption! Bearing a child out of wedlock was punishable in 17th century Massachusetts by being forced to wear a scarlet letter 'A,' but unwed mother Hester, who was born to a noble family, is determined to rise above her situation. Hardie Albright, Alan Hale, and William Farnum also star for director Robert G. Vignola, while the recreation of old Puritan Boston was by art director Frank Dexter (Baby Face Morgan, Northwest Trail).

***

In the seventeenth century, in Massachusetts, a young woman is forced to wear a scarlet "A" on her dress for bearing a child out of wedlock.

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Theatrical Release: September 18th, 1934

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Review: Film Masters - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Film Masters - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:11:26.573         
Video

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,608,510,994 bytes

Feature: 21,942,011,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -27dB
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1837 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1837 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Film Masters

 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,608,510,994 bytes

Feature: 21,942,011,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Full Commentary track by Professor, Jason A. Ney
Salem and the Scarlet Letter: Original Production narrated by John Carradine (10:09)
'A Sin of Passion: Hawthorne in Film,' from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures with interview from author, Justin Humphreys (15:24)
Revealing the Scarlet Letter,' featuring a new interview with producer, Sam Sherman (19:18)
Original, restored (1965), trailer for the film (1:36)
Essay in full color inserted booklet, by Professor, Jason A. Ney


Blu-ray Release Date: November 21st, 2023

Standard Black Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Film Masters Blu-ray (November 2023): Film Masters have transferred Robert G. Vignola's 1934 production of The Scarlet Letter to Blu-ray. It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. There is some inconsistency but overall it looks very acceptable with certain sequences looking stellar - others a bit soft and contrast showing density issues with the source. Most of the film looks very strong in 1080P with texture and depth - supporting the film well. 1934's The Scarlet Letter has been preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

NOTE: We have added 54 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Film Masters use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. The Scarlet Letter is passive with drums and speeches outside of everyday conversation. It shows its age a few times but is still running decently enough with the video. There is stock music used - by Mischa Bakaleinikoff (The Werewolf, The Lineup, New Orleans Uncensored, The Crooked Web, Cell 2455 Death Row, Comanche Station, It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Giant Claw, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The 27th Day, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Lady for a Day), Heinz Roemheld (O.S.S., Four Frightened People, Ruby Gentry, I, Jane Doe, Dangerous, The Monster that Challenged The World, The Land Unknown, The Mole People, 1933's The Invisible Man.) and others. Dialogue is a bit cloudy is spots but everything is full discernable showing its, almost, 90-year age - it is the first sound version of the story. Film Masters offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Film Masters Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Professor, Jason A. Ney. He discusses some of the biggest changes made from the 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, and how the film brings to life some aspects of 17th Century culture, the history of Majestic Pictures and how it arrived et the end of the Pre-Code era, how it was received by the public, He is briefly joined by, 96-years young, Cora Sue Collins (Pearl) who shares her memories of making it and talks about her career and after she left Hollywood. Cora was a former child actress who appeared in 47 films, although she did not make the transition to an adult star in Hollywood. Salem and the Scarlet Letter is a 10-minute video piece narrated by John Carradine discussing the history of Salem, back in the day. 'A Sin of Passion: Hawthorne in Film,' from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures with interview from author, Justin Humphreys who discusses how Nathaniel Hawthorne (House of the Seven Gables, Twice Told Tales) does not translate particularly well to the screen plus much more on the author. Revealing the Scarlet Letter has a new 20-minute interview with producer, Sam Sherman. There is a 1965 restored trailer for the film and the color package has a liner notes booklet essay by Ney.

Robert G. Vignola's The Scarlet Letter from Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel, was set in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony during the years 1642 to 1649. The Scarlet Letter was one of the first mass-produced books in the United States. The film's lead of Hester Prynne was played by former Jazz Age comedian and Silent star Colleen Moore - one of the most fashionable and highly-paid stars of the era. She helped popularize the bobbed haircut and this would be her last film. I was probably more interested in the history and culture of the 17th century era although it seemed rather sparse with few Algonquian-speaking people interacting with the settlers and addressing the difficult life in the Colonies. It was a fascinating puritanical time - sex outside of marriage was considered blasphemous, punished by fines, and if either partner was married, it was known as 'adultery' - and could be punishable by death, as was Sodomy. Of course 1934's screen adaptation of The Scarlet Letter doesn't venture in that area and is loosely relating the long novel. I was still very keen to see it and the Film Masters Blu-ray has a new commentary and much more. Sure, we absolutely recommend to the right crowd vintage era film fans.

Gary Tooze

 


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