Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Wim Wenders' The Scarlet Letter (German title: Der scharlachrote Buchstabe) may well be the most fascinating of the many screen versions of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 19th-century novel. Though the story is set in 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts, the film was lensed in Spain. Senta Berger is surprisingly well cast as Hester Prynne, whose sexual indiscretions have compelled her to wear the letter "A" (for adultery) on blouse--a symbol of shame to her neighbors, but a strange source of pride for Hester. Lou Castel plays the tortured Reverend Dimmesdale, the man who impregnated Hester but whom has been sworn to secrecy by the self-sacrificing heroine for the "good of the community." Hans Christian Blech portrays Hester's long-lost husband, whose reappearance sets the stage for the wrenching climax. Wenders' interpretation of the customs, behavior and inbred bigotry of the early American immigrants is eye-opening, as only an "outsider's" perception of what we take for granted can be.
daughter, guilt, husband, minister, punishment, scandal, sex, woman