The Scarlet Letter (TV miniseries)

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The Scarlet Letter (TV miniseries)
Scarlet Letter 1979.gif
Directed by Rick Hauser
Produced by Rick Hauser
Herbert Hirschman
Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Allan Knee
Alvin Sapinsley
Starring Josef Sommer
Meg Foster
Elisa Erali
John Heard
Kevin Conway
Music by John Morris
Cinematography Bob Collins
Edited by Ken Denisoff
Janet McFadden
Tucker Wiard
WGBH Boston
Distributed by PBS Home Video
Release date(s) 1979
Running time 240 minutes
(four 60 minute episodes)
Country USA
Language English

The Scarlet Letter is a 1979 miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne: it aired on WGBH from March 3, 1979 to March 24, 1979. The series is four episodes long, 60 minutes each. Part 2 won the 1979 Emmy Award for Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Limited Series or Special for film editors Ken Denisoff, Janet McFadden, and Tucker Wiard.

In 1979, when most literary programs were being produced in the United Kingdom, Boston public television station WGBH decided to produce a homegrown literary classic of its own. The result was this version of Hawthorne's enduring novel of Puritan America in search of its soul. Hester Prynne becomes stigmatized after committing adultery, and is doomed to live with the consequences forever. Hawthorne's themes, the nature of sin, social hypocrisy, and community repression, still reverberate through American society.

Hester Prynne (Meg Foster) is a young, Puritan woman who commits adultery while her husband is in Europe, and, upon the birth of her illegitimate child, is subsequently condemned to wear a scarlet "A" for the rest of her life. Her secret partner, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, (John Heard) writhes in private torment as he deals with hiding his sin. The person of Hester's husband, Roger Chillingworth (Kevin Conway) completes this grim triangle as the mysterious situation leads to a shattering climax. The story follows the main characters as they grapple with sin, forgiveness, and redemption. While the series accurately follows the novel in terms of storyline and dialogue, it has been universally panned by viewers due to its poor quality, even for 1970's standards. Among other complaints, it has been criticized for its poor soundtrack, amateur special effects, dim settings, low voices, and poor acting. As a result, television movies are no longer popular with mainstream audiences.

Principal Cast[edit]