|The Scarlet Letter|
|Directed by||Victor Sjöström|
|Produced by||Victor Sjöström|
|Written by||Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|Edited by||Hugh Wynn|
The Scarlet Letter is a 1926 American drama film, based on the 1850 novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and directed by Victor Sjöström. Prints of the film survive in the MGM/United Artists film archives and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
- Lillian Gish as Hester Prynne
- Lars Hanson as The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale
- Henry B. Walthall as Roger Chillingworth
- Karl Dane as Master Giles
- William H. Tooker as The Governor
- Marcelle Corday as Mistress Hibbins
- Fred Herzog as The Jailer
- Jules Cowles as The Beadle
- Mary Hawes as Patience
- Joyce Coad as Pearl
- James A. Marcus as A Sea Captain
- Nora Cecil as (uncredited)
- Iron Eyes Cody as Young Native American at Dunking (uncredited)
- Dorothy Gray as Child (uncredited)
- Margaret Mann as (uncredited)
- Polly Moran as Jeering Townswoman (uncredited)
- Chief Yowlachie as Native American (uncredited)
- May Boley as Jeering townswoman (uncredited)
The film was the second one Gish made under her contract with M-G-M and a departure from the ingénue roles she had performed in service to director D.W. Griffith. (her first M-G-M picture was directed by King Vidor, an adaption of La bohème with co-star John Gilbert in which she played the pathetic consumptive, Mimi.) She asked production manager Louis B. Mayer specifically to make The Scarlet Letter and he reluctantly agreed, due to M-G-M’s concern that censors would object to a frank depiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne's character, Hester Prynne, whose romantic indiscretions unleash a wave of reactionary bigotry. Director Seastrom disabused these expectations with an opening intertitle "establishing Pyrnee's [Gish's] ordeal as 'a story of bigotry uncurbed.'"
Shooting took under two months. The production cost a total of $417,000 when factoring out $48,000 overhead costs.
The film made a profit of $296,000.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated
- 2003: AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains:
- Hester Prynne – Nominated Hero
- "AllMovie's review of The Scarlet Letter (1926)".
- "Progressive Silent Film List: The Scarlet Letter". Silent Era. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
- Malcolm, 2004
- Durgnat and Simmons, 1988: p. 75-76: In both films Gish plays "the self-sacrificial lover..."
- Malcolm, 2004: “Gish was the project’s prime mover as she sought more mature roles after playing ingenues for D. W. Griffith.” And: “...Gish’s wholesome reputation [established under her D.W. Griffith films] put censorship groups at ease [anticipating] a most chaste Hester Prynne.” expected from Gish. And: An opening intertitle reads "a story of bigotry uncurbed."
- Slide, Anthony. "Those Elusive Budget Figures". Silent Topics: Essays on Undocumented Areas of Silent Film. Scarecrow Press, 2005, p. 25.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 125
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- Durgnat, Raymond and Simmon, Scott. 1988. King Vidor, American. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-05798-8
- Malcolm, Paul. 2004. The Scarlet Letter, 1926. UCLA Film and Television Archive: 12th Festival of Preservation, July 22-August 21, 2004. Guest festival guide.