Meet The Beatles: Two Films On Fab Four

Posted: March 09, 1989

As we celebrate the silver anniversary of the Beatles' first visit to America, two new videos present a look at what the Fab Four meant to us, then and now.

IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON (1988) (Warner) $89.95. 103 minutes. * * * No, it's not the Gospel according to Yoko Ono. Yes, this documentary chronicling the career of John Lennon is utterly engaging. Culled from about 200 hours of Lennon's personal footage, Andrew Solt's compilation film is Lennon's media diary, the private life of a public man. It's a movie for all Beatlemaniacs (and who isn't?) and Lennonoids (yes, we're talking to you). Those who weren't cultists the first time around will be converted by the film's

exaltation of its subject. Can beatification and canonization be far behind?

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND (1978) (Warner) $79.98. 104 minutes. * * * Nancy Allen, Bobby DiCicco, Marc McClure, Susan Kendall Newman, Wendi Jo Sperber. This charming comedy - about teens plotting to get to see the Beatles on their first American tour in 1964 - is mostly on the mark. Steven Spielberg served as exective producer, and Robert Zemeckis was director and co-writer. Watch for impressionist Will Jordan as Ed Sullivan.

RECENT MOVIES

CURSE OF THE BLUE LIGHTS (1988) (Magnum) $79.98. 93 minutes. The weird blue

lights near a small town's lover's lane seem innocent enough, but the citizenry doesn't realize that it's the first signal of the return of a malevolent ghoul called the Muldoon Man. This version is rated R; also available in an unrated, 94-minute version.

IRON EAGLE II (1988) (IVE) $89.95. 105 minutes. * Louis Gossett, Mark Humphrey, Stuart Margolin, Maury Chaykin. If Hollywood keeps this up, Arab- bashing will become an Olympic event. What we have here is best described as a glasnostrum - a heartfelt argument that Soviets and Americans can indeed work together in peace and harmony, as long as they keep dropping a few bombs on the Arabs. The blend of political ignorance and defiant silliness is almost inspired.

MESSENGER OF DEATH (1988) (Media) $89.95. 92 minutes. Charles Bronson, Trish Van Devere, Laurence Luckinbill, Marilyn Hassett, John Ireland. A reporter, suspected of brutally murdering a Mormon family, sets out to learn the killer's identity and why the murder was carried out.

SARA DANE (1981) (Prism) $59.95. 150 minutes. Juliet Jordan, Harold Hopkins. The sweeping story of a woman who comes to the Australian colony of New South Wales as a convict and, through spirit and ambition, becomes rich and powerful.

SCANDALOUS (1988) (Prism) $79.95. 90 minutes. Lauren Hutton, Albert Fortell. A down-on-his-luck duke stumbles into international intrigue after striking a deal with his uncle, who will reward him if he can find his uncle's missing secretary.

SPACE NINJA: SWORD OF THE SPACE ARK (1988) (King Bee) $39.95. 75 minutes. This blend of martial arts and science fiction finds a young hero returning to his home planet, only to find his family slain and his home under siege by an evil emperor.

STEAL THE SKY (1988) (HBO) $89.99. 110 minutes. Mariel Hemingway, Ben Cross. Set during the Six Day War, an Israeli secret service agent is assigned to persuade an Iraqi pilot to defect to Israel.

WALLS OF GLASS (1985) (Media) $79.95. 88 minutes. Philip Bosco, Geraldine Page, Olympia Dukakis, William Hickey. Dramatic story about a middle-aged cabbie with a troubled family life whose dream is to become a Shakespearean actor.

WHO KILLED BABY AZARIA? (1983) (Prism) $79.95. 96 minutes. Elain Hudson, John Hamblin, Peter Carroll, Max Phipps. The Australian film that first told the story of Lindy Chamberlain, accused of killing her infant daughter. Also the subject of the Meryl Streep movie A Cry in the Dark.

THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE (1988) (IVE) $89.95. 103 minutes. Noah Taylor, Loene Carmen, Ben Mendelsohn. Award-winning coming-of-age film from Australia about a swaggering teenager who has trouble disguising his budding love for the girl who has been his friend since childhood.

VINTAGE FILMS

JUST A GIGOLO (1979) (Water Bearer) $59.95. 98 minutes. David Bowie, Sydne Rome, Kim Novack, Maria Schell. A Prussian veteran realizes what he's best at after spending some time in the garish music halls of 1920s Germany. Marlene Dietrich makes her last screen appearance, singing the title song.

MARAT/SADE (The persecution and assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis De Sade) (1966) (Water Bearer) $59.95. 115 minutes. Patrick McGee, Clifford Rose, Glenda Jackson, Ian Richardson. Peter Brook's harrowing film version of the Peter Weiss play about a "performance" by a group of inmates at an insane asylum for a gathering of bored aristocracy. Full of grotesque images - not for the squeamish.

SHIRLEY TEMPLE MOVIES

CBS/FOX VIDEO has released seven films starring that curly haired moppet Shirley Temple. Each sells for $19.98 and has been newly remastered in hi-fi stereo.

BABY TAKE A BOW (1934) 76 minutes. James Dunn, Claire Trevor. Shirley's first starring role casts her as the daughter of a petty criminal who is trying to go straight and who is accused of crime he didn't commit.

THE BLUE BIRD (1940) 83 minutes. Johnny Russell, Nigel Bruce. This later Temple film was often referred to as Twentieth Century Fox's answer to The Wizard of Oz, with Shirley searching for the Bluebird of Happiness in a series of magical lands.

BRIGHT EYES (1934) 90 minutes. * * James Dunn, Judith Allen, Jane Withers. An airline pilot and an eccentric millionaire vie for custody of you-know-who.

OUR LITTLE GIRL (1935) 65 minutes. Joel McCrae, Rosemary Ames. Shirley does her best to reunite her separated parents by running away from home.

STAND UP AND CHEER (1934) 69 minutes. Warner Baxter, Madge Evans, James

Dunn. One of the definitive Depression movies, with Shirley assigned to cheer up the nation with an enormous musical review.

SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES (1939) 79 minutes. * * Gene Tierney. An orphan girl saves the day when Mounties are attacked by Indians.

WEE WILLIE WINKIE (1937) 100 minutes. Victor McLaglen, C. Aubrey Smith, Cesar Romero. Directed by John Ford, this story of Shirley in India was adapted from a Rudyard Kipling tale. This is the one in which she manages to negotiate peace between warring factions.

MUSIC

THE BEETHOVEN CYCLE (1988) (Proscenium) $29.95. 58 minutes. The Guarneri String Quartet performs Beethoven's String Quartet No. 9 in C major (Op. 59) and String Quartet No. 11 in F minor (Op. 95).

EGBERTO GISMONTI (1988) (Proscenium) $24.95. 60 minutes. Brazilian jazz musician Gismonti performs on guitar, flute, synthesizer and percussion.

EXILE: LIVE IN CONCERT (1987) (Media) $19.95. 61 minutes. Concert video

from the five-piece country-music band, featuring "Kiss You All Over" and ''It'll Be Me."

GEORGE JONES: THE LIVING LEGEND IN CONCERT (1987) (Media) $19.95. 61 minutes. The five-time Country Music Association's male vocalist of the year performs many of his hits, including "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and ''Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?"

THE HOFFNUNG FESTIVAL CONCERT (1988) (Proscenium) $29.95. 60 minutes. Punch Magazine caricaturist and musical humorist Gerald Hoffnung performs, including such selections as "Concerto for Hosepipe and Orchestra."

JONI MITCHELL: REFUGE OF THE ROAD (1986) (AIP) $24.95. 70 minutes. Videos

from Mitchell's Hejira album, including the title track.

OREGON (1988) (Proscenium) $24.95. 60 minutes. Music from the improvisational new-age band.

THE PARIS REUNION BAND (1988) (Proscenium) $24.95. 60 minutes. Legends of the Paris jazz scene in the 1960s return for a reunion performance. Includes Nat Adderly, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Nathan Davis, Curtis Fuller and Jimmy Woods.

SUPERDRUMMING (1988) (Proscenium) $19.95. 55 minutes. Jazz video starring seven drummers: Louis Bellson, Gerry Brown, Nippy Noya, Ian Paice, Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell and Pete York.

TRIUMPH: A NIGHT OF TRIUMPH (1985) (AIP) $24.95. 80 minutes. The popular heavy-metal rock band performs before a full house in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

COMEDY

STAND-UP REAGAN (1989) (J2) $19.95. 40 minutes. A compilation of the many moments in political life when former President Ronald Reagan displayed his considerable humor.

INSTRUCTION

MEDITATION: A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS (1988) (AIP) $39.95. 60 minutes. Learn how to reduce pain and control stress through mediation, with instruction from medical experts.

WHO AM I NOW? (1989) (Tambrands) $7.95. 24 minutes. Allison Smith of TV's Kate & Allie is the host of this frank look at puberty, aimed at teenage girls. The video attempts to explain the emotional and physiological changes that occur in a maturing female, helps confront the fears and confusions that they cause, and identifies the social issues that girls and boys must face as they grow up.

SPORTS

OFF THE BEATEN PATH (1987) (AIP) $14.94. 30 minutes. Jarring footage of off-road racing featuring some of the sport's top drivers.

SPORTS ODYSSEY (1987) (AIP) $14.95. 30 minutes. Greatest moments from the world of sports - from skiing to off-road racing - are presented in this quick-paced presentation.

WARREN MILLER'S CAMERAS IN MOTION (1987) (AIP) $14.95. 30 minutes. A nonstop tribute to high-speed sports as seen through the lens of sports cameraman Warren Miller.

MADE FOR TELEVISION

THE FIVE OF ME (1981) (King Bee) $39.95. 96 minutes. David Birney, Dee Wallace. Birney portrays Henry Hawksworth, a man whose multiple personalities are revealed when he is arrested and tried for a violent crime - a crime only some of his personalities are aware that he committed. Based on a true story.

FORTUNE DANE (1986) (Vidmark) $79.95. 83 minutes. Carl Weathers. Pilot for a TV series starring Weathers as a tough inner-city cop.

DOCUMENTARIES

HYPNOSIS (1988) (AIP) $39.95. 60 minutes. Telly Savalas hosts this exploration into the world of hynosis and how it works.

UFOS AND CHANNELING (1988) (AIP) $39.95. 60 minutes. William Shatner hosts a look at the growing interest in such new-age endeavors as "trans- channeling."

OTHER

SWIMSUIT EDITION VIDEO (1988) (Twin Tower) $14.95. 45 minutes. Teri Copley and Doug Barr host yet another look at this summer's best swimwear, worn, naturally, by a bevy of supermodels.

COMING NEXT WEEK

Richard Dreyfuss impersonates a Caribbean dictator in MOON OVER PARADOR, Michael Keaton ventures into dramatic territory in CLEAN AND SOBER, Tom Hanks stands and delivers in PUNCHLINE and that saucy Aussie Paul Hogan returns in ''CROCODILE" DUNDEE II.

RATINGS:

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* Poor

(Videos with no stars were not reviewed by The Inquirer.)

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