Out on Video

THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA - High-powered Hollywood hustlers discover a Spanish dancer in the back rooms of Madrid, make her a star, and spark any number of jealous quarrels over who will win her attention, her affection, and maybe her love. The topnotch cast includes a radiant Ava Gardner in the title role, Humphrey Bogart as the director who engineers her fame, Edmond O'Brien in an Academy Award-winning performance as a press agent, and Rossano Brazzi as an Italian aristocrat. Released in 1954, the movie was clearly influenced by Vincente Minnelli's superior behind-the-scenes epic "The Bad and the Beautiful," made two years earlier. But there's an extra charge of exoticism to the contessa's tale, provided largely by the international settings that writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz uses as backdrops for his drama, which ranges from the corny to the sensitive. (Not rated; MGM/UA Home Video)

THE COW - After his mother's death, a young peasant falls in love with an equally unfortunate woman, sets up housekeeping with her, and tries to build a good life with the meager resources available to them. Many movies have been made about the challenges facing the rural poor, but this one is distinguished by its appealing images of the Czech countryside, and by its insistence on treating the characters not as fictional devices but as integral parts of the natural world. Directed in 1993 by Karel Kachyna. Contains some nudity and earthy details of peasant life. (Not rated; Cinema Parallel)

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES & SELECTED BIOGRAPH SHORTS

Most critics rank D.W. Griffith among the greatest American filmmakers, partly for his role in making cinema a full-fledged art form during the early years of this century, and partly for the imagination and vigor of his storytelling. This cassette includes six of his early shorts, from "The Redman's View" of 1909 to "The House of Darkness" of 1913, treating subjects connected with social issues. Movie fans and history buffs will be equally delighted. (Not rated; Kino Video)

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