It's surprising that "James Joyce's Women" (MCA, $69.95), the videocassette of the film version of Fionnula Flanagan's play, hasn't been filed with the X-rated movies in video stores. One sequence is as steamy as anything you'll see in a porn movie.
Flanagan, who wrote the play and adapted it to the screen, is also the star. In the erotic episode, she portrays Molly Bloom, a character in Joyce's revolutionary novel, "Ulysses," that was labled obscene and banned from the United States for years.
With her husband asleep in bed next to her, Bloom--in various stages of undress--delivers a lusty monologue while in the throes of self-stimulation. Nothing is left to the imagination in this sequence, which critics have lauded extensively.
This is the only racy sequence in this episodic movie, in which Flanagan portrays three women who were important in Joyce's life as well as three of his fictional characters. Though obviously a serious, intelligent work, "James Joyce's Women," could easily be construed as obscene because of the Bloom monologue and banished to the X-rated sections.
So far that hasn't happened. According to MCA, no stores have refused to carry the cassette or put it with the adult videos.
Flanagan predicts that these problems won't surface. "This is art, not pornography," she insisted. "By no stretch of any one's imagination can this be classified with dirty movies. It would be a shame if people who wanted to rent it or buy it had to look for it in the porn departments. I can't believe that would ever happen."
KIDVID: "Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation," the sequel to "The Care Bears Movie," is out this week (RCA/Columbia, $79.95). Surprisingly, it's better than the original. It shows the origin of the unselfish Care Bear family from the Kingdom of Caring. This should be the most popular new kidvid rental until "Sleeping Beauty" debuts on Oct. 14.
New releases: Playhouse has just put out the first in a series of Mister Rogers cassettes, "Dinosaurs and Monsters." In his inimitable, folksy way, he defuses childhood fears about monsters in this 64-minute, $19.98 cassette. Also, another He-Man adventure--"He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Vol. 18"--is available, on Magic Window at $19.95.
Shari Lewis' eagerly awaited Bible stories cassettes will be in the stores on Sept. 19. She and Lamb Chop host "One Minute Bible Stories (Old Testament)," while Florence Henderson and Lamb Chop narrate the New Testament tales. Both are priced at $19.95 and feature 26 stories.
OLD MOVIES: James Cagney's two finest gangster movies are out this week on Key Video at $59.98--"Public Enemy" (1931) and "White Heat" (1949). Cagney's death earlier this year rekindled interest in these classics. In 1949, "White Heat" was considered the pinnacle of a genre that "Public Enemy" had helped popularize nearly two decades earlier.
Fans of schlock movies will undoubtedly mark Sept. 24 on their calendars. That's the release date of two of the weirdest, worst movies ever made--"Billy the Kid vs. Dracula" (1966) and "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" (1965). William Beaudine directed both of these movies, which mind-bogglingly fuse the Western and horror genres. Both deserve to be considered for the all-time Schlock Top 10. Embassy is releasing them at $59.95.
NEW AND COMING MOVIES: When "9 1/2 Weeks" was released in theaters earlier this year, the complaint was that it was too tame. The hottest scenes in this movie--about a Sado-Masochistic relationship between a couple played by Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger--wound up on the cutting room floor. The X-rated version was shown in foreign countries and has been a hot black-market title in this country. MGM/UA will release the cassette in October with some of that censored footage restored. It will be halfway between the R-rated American and X-rated international versions. The movie did disappointing business in this country but the cassette, spiced with new scenes, is expected to be one of the fall's most popular titles.
CBS-Fox's "Running Out of Luck" is an unusual release. According to a CBS-Fox spokesperson, it was made last year specifically for home video. It will be promoted by theatrical screenings just before its Oct. 2 release. There should be a lot of interest in this one because of the offbeat cast--Mick Jagger, his girlfriend Jerry Hall, Rae Dawn Chong and Dennis Hopper.
"American Anthem," a box-office miss, is scheduled for release on Sept. 26 by Karl-Lorimar. Not too many fans were interested in watching a budding romance between two gymnasts--portrayed by Mitch Gaylord and Janet Jones--against a background of blaring rock music. The stars of "At Close Range," Christopher Walken and Sean Penn, received good reviews but that didn't help attract big crowds to the theaters. The drama about a father-son relationship will be available from Vestron on Oct. 29.