Although producers rejected Cliff Eidelman's score for the drama Picture Bride, opting instead to hire lesser-known composer Mark Adler, Varese Sarabande nevertheless elected to release the completed music on CD in 1995. Comparing the two, it's easy to hear why Eidelman's efforts did not pass muster, although his dismissal has more to do with the appropriateness of the score than its creative merits. Simply put, Eidelman emphasizes conventional Western instrumentation and thematic development at the expense of the Asian elements the film's pre-statehood Hawaiian setting would seem to demand. While members of the Seattle Orchestra contribute appropriate pan pipe and bamboo flute solos, the instruments seem tacked on. At the same time, however, Picture Bride boasts some of Eidelman's most impressive music, with a visceral grandeur that contrasts sharply with the more subdued palette he employed on so much of his work during the early and mid-'90s. A deeply flawed work, to be certain, but much better than its reputation would suggest.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny