Out on Video

BATTLE HYMN - A sentimental war story, based on the real experiences of a Protestant minister. Dogged by remorse over a World War II tragedy he was involved in, he volunteers as an Air Force trainer in the Korean War and takes on the gigantic task of saving orphans from the ravages of combat. With Rock Hudson as the star, the action is no more realistic than you'd expect, and the antiwar rhetoric sounds suspiciously like lip service. Director Douglas Sirk brings his usual high-class touch to the 1957 production. This cassette includes the original coming-attractions trailer in "letterboxed" form, keeping its proper wide-screen format, but it chops off the edges of the movie itself. (Not rated; MCA/Universal Home Video)

PLAYTIME - Monsieur Hulot, one of the most widely loved characters in the history of screen comedy, makes a dazed journey through the confusions of a modern city, crossing paths with a bus load of American tourists who are almost as bewildered as he is. French filmmaker Jacques Tati rebuilt a section of Paris on a studio lot so he could exercise total control over the exquisitely timed jokes, gags, and ironies of this ingenious 1967 entertainment, which aims less for belly laughs than for knowing smiles and quiet nods of recognition. American humorist Art Buchwald wrote the dialogue for the English-speaking portions. This cassette runs about two hours, more than previous versions released in the US but still short of the picture's original 155 minutes. It's priceless all the same. (Not rated; Home Vision Cinema)

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW - Mild-mannered professor Edward G. Robinson befriends a mysterious woman, stumbles into a violent situation through no fault of his own, and becomes caught in a web of guilt and deception. It only grows more tangled when his best friend, a brilliant district attorney, starts investigating the case. Robinson's superb performance gets expert support from Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, and Dan Duryea, and Fritz Lang directed the 1944 melodrama with haunting simplicity. A contrived ending is the only major flaw. (Not rated; MGM/UA Home Video)

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