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Collection Showcases Columbia's Heritage

September 17, 1993|DENNIS HUNT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

With FoxVideo and MGM/UA regularly releasing and re-promoting classic films on home video this year--discounted in some stores to as low as $12--fans of old movies have had cause to rejoice, and now there is more good news.

Not wanting to be left out, Columbia TriStar is dedicating an entire line to some Grade A vintage films.

On Oct. 6, the Studio Heritage Collection premieres with "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "The Guns of Navarone," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "The More the Merrier," "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" and "Holiday." All are priced at $20.

None of these is new to video but Columbia TriStar Vice President Fritz Friedman says all have been on moratorium for more than a year and have been increasingly hard to find. For the reissue, the movies have been restored and their audio tracks enhanced.

This is particularly beneficial to "Bridge" and "Guns." If you've ever tried to watch the ragged rental versions, riddled with audio and visual glitches, you'll appreciate the restored versions.

And what's a post-1950 classic without widescreen? With both "Guns" and "Bridge," you have a choice of format--letterbox or standard pan-and-scan. The other four movies, released in the pre-widescreen era, will be in pan-and scan only.

While there's no added footage, some of the movies--all on high-grade tape, by the way--will feature both the original trailer and an eight-minute documentary, "The Art of Restoration," hosted by "Boyz N the Hood" director John Singleton.

Before you get your hopes up, however, Friedman says the Studio Heritage Collection has "no regular schedule or set number of films that will come out." Nothing further is expected until winter.

Laser fans, meanwhile, are once again being treated like second-class citizens. "These movies will come out on laser at some point, but no date has been set," Friedman said.

In other news for old movie addicts, FoxVideo is re-releasing the 1967 romantic comedy, "Two For the Road," with Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn, on Nov. 3. And the 1968 musical "Star!," with Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence, finally makes its video debut Nov. 17.

Proving that releasing old movies really is big business, FoxVideo announced that it has shipped more than 200,000 copies of "An Affair to Remember," in demand because it's featured in "Sleepless in Seattle," with another 50,000 on the way for the holiday market.

FoxVideo recently released 1944's "Wilson," featuring Alexander Knox's fine performance as Woodrow Wilson, and the great, schmaltzy, 1955 romance "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," starring William Holden and Jennifer Jones--an excellent companion piece for "An Affair to Remember."

Videobits

When Disney's "Aladdin" comes to home video Oct. 1, you might confuse it with GoodTimes' 50-minute animated version, available in similar packaging. Disney went to a New York federal court to get GoodTimes to change its packaging but lost.

Speculation is high about which of the summer movies will be on video before Christmas. It's already been announced that "Jurassic Park" won't be a holiday release, but distributor sources say "The Firm," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Rising Sun" will be out in December. Warner is releasing "Dennis the Menace" on Oct. 26.

Upcoming on Video

"Married to It" and "Indian Summer" (Wednesday); "Aladdin" (Oct. 1); "Jack the Bear" and "The Night We Never Met" (Oct. 6); "Indecent Proposal" (Oct. 13); "Three of Hearts," "The Sandlot" and "Cop and a Half" (Oct. 20); "Posse," "The Dark Half" and "Born Yesterday" (Oct. 27); "The Muppet Christmas Carol" (Nov. 5).

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