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TURN-ONS AND TURN-OFFS IN CURRENT HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES : ****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor : VIDEOCASSETTES

September 08, 1987|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

"Mary of Scotland." Nostalgia Merchant. $19.95. Maxwell Anderson's play about the conflicts between Mary Stuart, Queen of the Scots, and both her own court and England's Queen Elizabeth I, is basically a study of a passionate romantic at odds with Machiavellian, dry schemers. It's a perfect role for the young Katharine Hepburn--who gives it grace, fire, idealism and a kind of royal petulance. Fredric March plays her lover, Bothwell, and March's wife, Florence Eldridge, plays Elizabeth. However, it's not necessarily perfect material for John Ford, even though he has his favorite '30s screenwriter, Dudley Nichols, and his favorite theme--the glory in defeat. The stiff, formal groupings don't seem to be to Ford's taste; he also complained that the 1936 film "was cut badly after I left." Be that as it may, this is still the only film collaboration between the American movies' greatest director and greatest actress. On that level, it's a success. Information: (213) 216-7900. ***

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