The Scarlet Letter (IMP)
The Scarlet Letter was the first of a series of Imp films marketed as “de Luxe.” This was just the latest publicity stunt for Carl Laemmle’s Independent Moving Pictures Company. One of the first production companies to implement the star system — advertising films based on the drawing power of popular actors like Mary Pickford, the company had also recently moved operations to Cuba where they produced a number of films exploiting local backdrops that were meant to satisfy North Americans eager for a taste of the (supposedly) exotic. This latest tactic seemed to be playing directly to those reformers who were pressuring the producers to make “uplifting” films.
Of this latest effort Carl Laemmle said:
“In the de luxe series we have instructed the stage directors to ignore the matter of expense completely. If the cost of production runs up higher than the receipts from the sale of a de luxe film, well and good. It will be money well spent, if even for nothing but the advertising value and the pleasure that it gives our customers.”
– “Laemmle Plans New Series of ‘IMP Films de Luxe” MOVING PICTURE NEWS (15 April 1911): 17.