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Ennio Morricone's The Scarlet Letter Soundtrack (Rejected 1995 Score)

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Ennio Morricone Cannes 2012

Composer Ennio Morricone in 2012.

The Scarlet Letter is a 1995 film directed by Roland Joffé and starring Gary Oldman and Demi Moore, very loosely based on the classic novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The plot of the novel is fairly well-known, but the film adaptation departs significantly by simplifying it into a story of forbidden love, culminating in Rev. Dimmesdale being rescued from his execution by a tribe of Native Americans and then riding off into the sunset with Hester Prynne and their daughter Pearl. The film was a massive critical and commercial failure, in large part due to its lack of adherence to the source material. It also ruined the reputation of Joffé, who up until that point had been a rising star in the film industry with the success of such works as The Killing Fields and The Mission.

Over the course of its production, three original scores were composed and recorded for the film. The first was composed by Ennio Morricone, who had previously worked with Joffé on The Mission, but was quickly rejected, as was the second score composed by Elmer Bernstein. The final score which ended up being used in the completed film was composed by John Barry. Allegedly, Demi Moore wanted Barry to compose the film's soundtrack from the very start, meaning that Morricone and Bernstein's efforts would never be accepted regardless of the actual quality - which begs the question as to why the director didn't simply hire Barry to score the film in the first place.

While both Barry and Bernstein's scores have been released to the public, Morricone's remains locked away in the studio vaults, never to be seen or heard from again. It is unknown if it will ever be given a proper release.

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