Salem’s Scarlet Letter

Actor John Carradine, who died in 1988, narrates Salem and The Scarlet Letter, a 10-minute documentary which just had its world premiere on free streamer The Film Detective.

That neat trick was made possible because Salem and The Scarlet Letter was filmed in 1978, but not completed until this year.

Samuel M. Sherman wrote and directed the film as a “viewing prologue” to the 1934 version of The Scarlet Letter, starring Colleen Moore, set in mid-17th Century Salem, MA, and based on the 1850 novel of Puritan guilt and redemption by Salem resident Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Salem and The Scarlet Letter, The Film Detective

Salem and the Scarlet Letter visits such sites as Hawthorne’s birthplace and The House of the Seven Gables, made famous by Hawthorne’s 1851 novel of that name, It also explores Salem’s  history, including the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th Century.    

Fulfilling Sherman’s intentions, The Film Detective’s 24/7 channel will follow its first airing of Salem and the Scarlet Letter at 6:30 pm ET tomorrow, November 25, with the 69-minute 1934 film. The channel is available on Sling, Stirr, Plex and DistroTV.

Both films are also also available on demand at or via apps for iOSRoku, Fire TV and Apple TV.

Here, via The Film Detective’s YouTube channel, is 1934’s The Scarlet Letter:

The Scarlet Letter has also been adapted for several other movie versions, and for a 1979 PBS miniseries starring Meg Foster and John Heard. Here’s a short about the making of the series by Boston’s WGBH.

The only version of The Scarlet Letter that you can stream besides the 1934 classic is a 1995 stinker starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall. Considered one of the worst movies ever made, it’s renting for $2.99 from iTunes or a buck more from other providers..

(Top image source: Wikipedia)

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