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The Scarlet Letter
(1995)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Performed by:
The English Chamber Orchestra

Orchestrated by:
Nic Raine

Additional Music by:
Peter Buffett
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Sony/Epic Soundtrax
(October 31st, 1995)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release, but out of print as of the late 2000's.
Awards
AWARDS
None.
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ALSO SEE




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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are predisposed to the derivative romantic style of John Barry's melodramatic scores of the era, for The Scarlet Letter is his last strong entry in that genre.

Avoid it... if even a robust darker half of this score, complete with brutal percussion sequences, cannot compensate for your lack of patience with Barry's broad themes.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #272
WRITTEN 10/31/96, REVISED 8/25/08
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Barry
Barry
The Scarlet Letter: (John Barry) If modern cinematic disasters are to be ranked on a list, this sorry entry would fit somewhere in the middle ranges of that dubious distinction. Accomplished director Roland Joffé decided, for some reason, to film only a loose adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel about 17th Century northeast American culture, complete with witchcraft, adultery, and the harsh realities of immigrant (and obviously womens') life at the time. Critics quickly pounded this film like a drum, with Demi Moore receiving the most brutal response starting many weeks before the film was even released. Those few people who actually subjected themselves to the film would find two partially redeeming elements: the cinematography and the score. The story of the music for The Scarlet Letter is just as disastrous as the film's overall production. Film scoring veteran Elmer Bernstein was hired to write and record a score, both of which he did. But, as was happening to Bernstein more and more often at the time, his impressive music was rejected (it was, along with a couple of other rejected works by the composer, eventually released as a limited Varèse Sarabande club set in 2008). Then, to everyone's surprise, European romance maestro Ennio Morricone was signed on to the project. To the horror of the filmmakers, though, Morricone turned in a demo tape of music he could provide for the film and it turned out to be a collection of Mediterranean-flavored themes from his previous scores. After Morricone's summary dismissal, the filmmakers desperately sought John Barry's services, since he had been a reliable historical romance writer and had been nominated for Academy Awards with Dances With Wolves and Chaplin in the few years prior. Barry, who was beginning to slow down in his production as he neared a retirement pace of output during the late 1990's, accepted and produced what would arguably be his last really strong score. With hints of Dances With Wolves and Raise the Titanic, Barry's The Scarlet Letter would be one final original romance piece before his career became hopelessly repetitive (and itself littered with similarly rendered, rejected works). Depending on your opinion of Barry's derivative styles, the 'A' in this case can either stand for "arduous" or "awe-inspiring."



Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
568 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.26 Stars
***** 125 5 Stars
**** 150 4 Stars
*** 121 3 Stars
** 93 2 Stars
* 79 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
1 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Outstanding score
Kingdom Come - January 28, 2004, at 11:12 a.m.
1 comment  (2247 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 70:21
• 1. Main Title*/The Arrival/Search for Home (6:15)
• 2. Hester Rides to Town (1:05)
• 3. The Bird/The Swimmer* (3:07)
• 4. A Very Exhilirating Read (2:10)
• 5. I'm Not the Man I Seem (2:40)
• 6. Agnus Dei (Adagio for Strings)** (10:51)
• 7. I Can See What Others Cannot (1:04)
• 8. Love Scene (6:44)
• 9. Are You With Child (2:06)
• 10. A Small Act of Contrition (2:24)
• 11. The Birth (2:05)
• 12. I Baptize This Child/Pearl (2:01)
• 13. She Will Not Speak (3:24)
• 14. Dr. Roger Prynne (1:40)
• 15. Hester Walks Through Town (1:50)
• 16. Poor Fatherless Child (2:08)
• 17. An Attempt at Rape (3:00)
• 18. The Savages Have Killed Him (1:50)
• 19. The Round-Up (1:54)
• 20. I Am the Father of Her Child (2:16)
• 21. The Indians Attack (2:47)
• 22. The Letter Has Served a Purpose (2:36)
• 23. End Title (4:13)
* composed by Peter Buffett
** composed by Samuel Barber

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 1996-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Scarlet Letter are Copyright © 1995, Sony/Epic Soundtrax and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/31/96 and last updated 8/25/08.
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