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Double Dose of Rodgers & Hammerstein : Video: Fox offers six musicals at lower prices and with bonus soundtrack audiocassettes.

August 12, 1994|DENNIS HUNT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Free audiotapes!

That's what FoxVideo's promotion of vintage musicals amounts to.

Videotapes of six Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals will now be packaged with an audiotape of its soundtrack. The packages, due out Tuesday, are "The Sound of Music," "Oklahoma!," "The King and I," "Carousel," "South Pacific" and "State Fair."

For consumers, the biggest plus is the price. Rather than the cost increasing because of the addition of an audiotape, it's actually going down. The videos are $20, except for the two-cassette "Sound of Music," which will sell for $24. Until now, five of the videotapes cost $24 each, with "Sound of Music"' at $30.

"It's a way of remarketing a product that had stopped showing any sales return," FoxVideo marketing director Deborah Mitchell explained. "These soundtracks are available in stores, but I'm sure the sales rate is small."

FoxVideo also has added trailers and newsreel footage to the videos. And "State Fair" also includes previously unreleased outtakes. Hardly anything has been added to the audiotapes, except some songs on the "The Sound of Music" soundtrack.

FoxVideo successfully inaugurated this video/soundtrack promotion last year with "The Last of the Mohicans," with the package selling for $25. Mitchell declined to reveal figures but said that the package did double the expected business.

With movie soundtracks being so popular, from "The Lion King" to "Sleepless in Seattle" to "Above the Rim," don't be surprised if other video companies start using this dual-package plan, particularly to rekindle interest in titles that are a few years old.

Multimedia

The Muppets always seemed like a natural for the interactive market. They'll finally make their debut next year, on games and CD-ROMs. . . . Clint Eastwood debuts on CD-ROM next year on a disc devoted to his life and times. He's helping with the project, even doing an exclusive interview. It will be fan-oriented as well as providing substantive information geared to scholars. . . . Laserdisc distributor Image Entertainment plans to enter the CD-ROM market in October, with titles mainly in the action/adventure genre, such as "The Terminator" and "RoboCop," priced in the $10-$20 range.

Special Interest

For fans of old TV Westerns, the two-hour documentary "TV's Western Heroes" is a must. It's a collection of clips about series such as "Maverick," "Yancy Derringer" and "The Rifleman," featuring the introductory segments, ads and trailers as well as footage from the shows. Host Will Hutchins, who starred in the 'Sugarfoot" series, dispenses information geared to nostalgia buffs. From GoodTimes at $20.

Just about everything you ever wanted to know about coffee is in the one-hour documentary, "Gourmet Coffee." While offering a historical and cultural perspective it's also a handy guide to all the varieties of coffee. For $20 from Flessing, Flessing and Walters (800-786-8433). . . . On Aug. 23 at $15, PolyGram is releasing the hour documentary, "The Story of World Cup USA '94," including highlights of the recent soccer tournament and some behind-the-scenes footage not seen on TV.

Foreign Movies

Columbia TriStar's "Faraway, So Close"--director Wim Wenders' sequel to his 1988 hit, "Wings of Desire"--is just out. Featuring Nastassja Kinski and Otto Sander, this one is also about angels on Earth. Interesting because of offbeat subject matter and existential textures, but not as good as the original. Still, for foreign-film buffs, definitely worth a look.

On Wednesday, Kino is releasing Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's famed "Dersu Uzala," about a Mongolian adventurer. Made for a Russian studio, it won the 1975 Oscar for best foreign-language film. . . . The French drama "Dr. Petiot," about a French doctor who killed Jews during World War II, is due on Aug. 24 from World Artists.

What's New on Video:

"Beethoven's 2nd" (MCA/Universal). Kids in particular should appreciate this cozy sequel to the 1992 hit comedy about the Newton family and its Saint Bernard named Beethoven. In the sequel, the dog's mate has pups and then is snatched by a vengeful dognaper (Debi Mazur). The stressed-out dad (Charles Grodin) must cope with both dog problems and the romantic traumas of his teen daughter (Nicholle Tom). Amiable, entertaining fluff.

"Intersection" (Paramount). If you rent this movie figuring that a drama starring charismatic stars Richard Gere and Sharon Stone can't be all that bad, you'll most likely be sorry. During an auto accident, the messy life of an architect (Gere) flashes before his eyes. He's torn between a cold wife (Stone) and a bubbly mistress (Lolita Davidovitch). Convoluted, confusing and unsatisfying.

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