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MGM / UA Polls Critics' Favorite Videos

June 16, 1989|TERRY ATKINSON

Is every major movie from the past on videocassette? Sometimes it seems like that--especially after you wind your way through the aisles of a large video store.

But as many devoted film buffs can tell you, there are a whole lot of top-notch pictures still in the vaults--a fact pointed up this week by MGM/UA Home Video, which has sent many film and video critics a list of 80 movies that the company is considering releasing on tape.

MGM/UA is asking those critics to choose 10 films from the list that they consider most worthy of being issued as videos. Then the company "will be submitting a list of your top choices to the consumers via video outlets," said George Feltenstein, MGM/UA director of programming.

We found the list almost impossible to narrow down to 10, and you'll see why from these 30 samples, listed alphabetically: "The Americanization of Emily," "Battleground," "The Best Man," "The Blackboard Jungle," "Boom Town," "The Cameraman," "The Clock," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932), "Julius Caesar," "King Solomon's Mines," "The Knack," "The Loved One," "Lust for Life," "Marie Antoinette," "Moulin Rouge," "The Music Lovers," "Northwest Passage," "Queen Christina," "Romeo and Juliet," "Showboat" (1936), "Smile," "The Story of Louis Pasteur," "The Search," "Sweet Bird of Youth," "Tea and Sympathy," "Teahouse of the August Moon," "Test Pilot," "Thieves Like Us," "Three Godfathers" (1948) and "Without Love."

No word from MGM/UA on when the selected videos will be released, but one source said that it should be well before the end of the year.

More $15 big-movies-on-tape are coming, this time from IVE, including "Rambo: First Blood Part II," "Angel Heart" and "Extreme Prejudice." The prices drop Aug. 10.

Sony will introduce an improved version of its Video Walkman in July. Retailing for $1,500, the GV-9 portable tape player/TV will offer a larger screen (4-inch) and longer battery life than the GV-8.


If life hasn't been weird enough for you lately, check out the new movies-on-video. All of this week's major releases concern the unusual, the bizarre and the downright unearthly.

Doubly strange is "Twins" (MCA, $89.95, PG)--not only because it stars physical opposites Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the title roles, but also because this comedy took in more than $100 million at the box office.

If that couple isn't odd enough, try "Parents" (Vestron, $89.98, R). In this black comedy, Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt play the "perfect" '50s mom and dad--perfectly grotesque, that is. Or the two future-L.A. detectives (James Caan, Mandy Patinkin) in "Alien Nation" (CBS/Fox, $89.98, R)--one's human, one's an alien.

Other curiosities include the disappointing sequel "Cocoon: The Return" (CBS/Fox, $89.98, PG), the Charles Bronson vice-cop thriller "Kinjite (Forbidden Subjects)" (Cannon, $89.95, R) and, if you missed Ken Russell's film on the same unforbidden subject, Ivan Passer's "Haunted Summer" (Media, $79.95, R), another drama about Shelley, Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft, et al., and their strange carryings-on.

Is there nothing new with class? Yes--Joseph Strick's film versions of two James Joyce novels, "Ulysses" and "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," are being released today by Mystic Fire for $29.95 each. Information: (800) 727-8433.


TV-comedy pioneer Milton Berle assembled favorite moments from his "Texaco Star Theater" and put them together with scenes from other '50s shows to make "Milton Berle--The Second Time Around," a three-volume set available for $49.95 (or $19.95 per each one-hour tape) from Kodak.

The seemingly interminable "War and Remembrance" has finally ended--on ABC, anyway--but all 570 minutes of the second half live on at the video store. The five-volume set is available from MPI for $99.95.

Music tapes: "Pink Floyd in Concert: Delicate Sound of Thunder" (CMV, $24.98) features the current, Roger Waters-less version of the band. "New Order: Substance" (Warner/Reprise, $16.98) is a collection of the post-punk dance band's video clips.

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