VIDEOSCAN. A selection of new releases for sale or rent
STRANGE INTERLUDE (1988. Directed by Herbert Wise. Fries Home Video) - Eugene O'Neill's strange melodrama packs a terrific punch, even in this condensed version ``written for television'' by Robert Enders to mark the 100th anniversary of the playwright's birth. As heroine Nina Leeds, a woman tormented by memories of her dead fianc'e, Glenda Jackson is more forceful than she was on Broadway in the same role. The men in her life are played with similar skill: David Dukes as the psychiatrist who fathers her child, Ken Howard as her unknowing husband, and especially Edward Petherbridge as the undersexed family friend who wins her in the end. This ``American Playhouse'' production would be still more powerful if it gave us O'Neill's haunted yet oddly serene vision in full. - David Sterritt THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ME (1988. Directed by Dwight Hemion. HBO Video) - Jackie Mason's comedy isn't always in good taste, but it's usually inventive and sometimes hilarious. He covers a wide range of subjects in this video version of his popular Broadway show, from marriage to politics to ethnic eating habits. The theater audience seems to love every word, including the sentimental ``thanks for making me a star'' routine at the very end. - D.S. CHRISTMAS WITH FLICKA (1988. Directed by Patricia Birch. Musical director/conductor: Julius Rudel. View Video) - Opera singer Frederika von Stade (``Flicka'') visits St. Wolfgang, her childhood village in Austria, for a traditional Christmas. A week of merry preparations furnishes the backdrop for von Stade's renditions of favorite carols. A young girl and her little brother are Flicka's hosts. Although some of the scenes are a bit stilted, it's a charming, old-fashioned celebration, with folk dancing, cookie decorating, and tree trimming. Von Stade is joined by Melba Moore and Rex Smith on several songs. - Amy Duncan GIL EVANS AND HIS ORCHESTRA (1984. Directed by Stanley Dorfman. Produced by Tazio Tami and Guido Vanetti. View Video) - The late Gil Evans was one of the finest jazz arrangers ever. Some of his most impressive work was done with Miles Davis in the late 1950s. This 1984 concert in Switzerland shows him toward the end of his career, when he focused less on arranging and more on the soloists in his bands. Featuring solos by Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Howard Johnson, and John Clark, the concert includes compositions by Evans, Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, George Gershwin, and Charles Mingus. - A.D. THE BERENSTAIN BEARS (1988. Story by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Produced and directed by Buzz Potamkin. Random House Home Video) - This two-segment video shows the bears learning about how to deal with strangers and investigating a case of disappearing honey. The message on the strangers portion is a good one - don't talk to strangers, take gifts from them, or get into cars with them. But when Papa bear tries to caution his daughter on this subject, he ends up scaring the wits out of her. So Mom steps in with some good common sense, and all ends well. The story line will probably hold the interest of even the smallest children, but the animation looks tacky. The second story, about the lost honey, is less effective. It portrays Papa bear as a bumbling dolt, and shows Grandma Bear solving the problem by gazing into her crystal ball! - A.D.