Out on Video


French filmmaker Robert Bresson is a deeply religious artist, concerned with struggles between good and evil in a sadly imperfect world. This somber masterpiece looks at the dark side of youthful idealism, tracing the ultimately vain efforts of an intelligent young man to find earthly ways of combating humanity's seemingly endless appetite for self-destructive acts, such as polluting the atmosphere and building weapons of mass destruction. The plot is cautionary, the acting is understated, the filmmaking is breathtakingly precise and heartbreakingly beautiful. Made in 1977. Part of New Yorker Video's Great Directors series. (Not rated; New Yorker Video)

JAMAICA INN - Alfred Hitchcock occasionally strayed from his usual suspense-movie path, and one example is this adventure-filled historical drama, a genre he generally disliked. Set in the early 1800s, the plot revolves around a pirate gang that lures unsuspecting ships to their doom on the rocky British coast, then kills their crews and plunders their cargo for the benefit of an aristocrat who's too decadent to earn a living on his own. Much of the action is run-of-the-mill skulduggery and intrigue, but Charles Laughton is amusingly outrageous as the wicked squire, and the end of the movie makes pointed comments on the legacy of England's age-old class system. First released in 1939, one year before Hitchcock moved from Britain to Hollywood. Part of Kino's British Classics video series. (Not rated; Kino Video)

THE SAINT - Three decades before Val Kilmer took over the role of a British agent with an unlikely nickname, Roger Moore played him in a successful TV series. Eight episodes are available on cassette, and the two included in Volume 3 provide samples of Moore's incessant smirk and the program's relentless superficiality. "The Reluctant Revolution" finds him fomenting a bloodless Latin American revolution, while "The Helpful Pirate" mixes a kidnapping tale with a subplot about a clever con artist. For devoted Moore fans only. (Not rated; PolyGram Video)

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