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Returning war veteran Alan Ladd dallies with Veronica Lake while trying to figure out who murdered his unfaithful wife. Also on hand is William Bendix as the hero's befuddled buddy. Raymond Chandler wrote this well-acted but rather tame example of "film noir" melodrama. George Marshall directed the 1946 production. (Not rated; MCA/Universal Home Video)

OH WOE IS ME - Greek mythology inspired this intellectually dense drama, featuring French superstar Gerard Depardieu as a mysterious stranger whose body has been appropriated by a godlike creature who wants to woo a beautiful woman as Zeus did in ancient times. The puzzling, fragmentary plot is less a conventional story than an excuse for filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard to explore the relationship between visible reality and nonmaterial qualities that ordinary cinema rarely acknowledges. The result is mystical, mystifying, and often beautiful. First released in 1993, and known in French as "Helas pour moi." (Not rated; Cinema Parallel)

WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION - An irascible old barrister defends a likable young man accused of murdering a lonely acquaintance in order to inherit her fortune. Agatha Christie dreamed up the pretzel-like plot of this melodramatic murder-mystery, which plods through several predictable twists before springing a series of real surprises in the final minutes. Tyrone Power is engaging as the defendant, and Marlene Dietrich injects some emotional power into the difficult role of his mercurial wife. But it's the great Charles Laughton who makes the picture worth watching, hamming it up deliciously as the aging attorney who wants to win one more case before heading into retirement. Elsa Lanchester leads the able supporting cast as his ever-suspicious nurse. Half a dozen Academy Award nominations, including best picture, went to the 1957 production, which was directed by Billy Wilder from a screenplay he wrote with Harry Kurnitz. The packaging for this cassette promises the original coming-attractions trailer, but it's nowhere to be found. (Not rated; MGM/UA Home Video)

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