Times Staff Writer

Here’s some possibly disappointing news for Madonna watchers. Apparently “A Certain Sacrifice,” the movie Madonna starred in five years ago, isn’t the porn flick some have assumed it is.

At least that’s what director Stephen John Lewicki said of the movie, which makes its videocassette debut on Virgin Video at $59.95 next week, a week later than scheduled.

“There’s some nudity in it and Madonna is nude briefly,” he said. “It’s not even semi-porn. If it’s anything it’s anti- porn. I think this porn rumor got started because people who haven’t seen it heard she has three sex slaves (in the movie). That excited their imaginations and they’ve been assuming all sorts of things about it.”


Long before she became a pop idol, Madonna, a struggling actress/singer/dancer, starred in this movie and worked as a nude model. All that is coming back to haunt her. Playboy and Penthouse magazines printed some nude photos recently. Then this movie surfaced. A legal effort to keep her name from being used in conjunction with the film ultimately failed failed.

The film was shot mostly in 1980 but Lewicki worked on it off and on until last year. Its original cost was $20,000 but Lewicki says he has done $60,000 worth of polishing.

Lewicki is currently negotiating a soundtrack deal. But don’t get your hopes up. Madonna does some dancing in this movie but no singing. Without a Madonna vocal performance, Lewicki may have a tough time getting a record deal. “A Certain Sacrifice” has not been released theatrically in this country but Lewicki hopes to change that. It was, however, released in Italian theaters.

FACES OF DEATH FLAP: “People are funny,” observed Jaffer Ali, marketing executive of MPI Home Video, which has been under fire for releasing the first two volumes of “Faces of Death,” a documentary showing deaths of people and animals. “Ninety per cent of the complaints we’ve gotten have been from animal lovers. It’s worse for them to see animals killed than it is to see people killed.”

Though his company has been attacked for releasing these cassettes, Ali still defends them. “I don’t find them morally objectionable. They don’t glorify violence. They actually turn you off on violence. To me, morally objectionable movies are those revenge movies or the kind of violent movies where you identify with violent people who are killing other people.”

Ali says the company has sold 40,000 copies. It’s also a popular rental. The release of a third volume was planned but MPI has decided to postpone it indefinitely.


“We’re tired of all this negative publicity,” he said. “We’re tired of people bad-rapping us for putting out these videocassettes. It’s not good for the company’s image.”

A factor in MPI’s decision was the ban on “Faces of Death” by National Video, a 567-store chain. President Ron Berger said “Faces of Death” is in bad taste.

MUSIC: The Talking Heads’ concert film, “Stop Making Sense,” filmed at the Pantages Theater, will be released Nov. 13 by RCA/Columbia for $79.95. There’s a bonus. Two songs missing from the movie--”Cities” and a medley of “Big Business” and “I Zimbra”--are included.

That 1983 Motown NBC-TV special, “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever,” celebrating the record company’s 25th anniversary, will be available Oct. 22 from MGM/UA for $29.95, also with something extra. Realizing that many music fans taped the special when it was televised, MGM/UA has added something that might entice them to buy this tape. Included are 30 minutes of footage that weren’t used in the telecast. Hosted by Richard Pryor, it features a rare TV performance by the late Marvin Gaye and a heralded television appearance of Michael Jackson, who sings “Billie Jean,” and does some dazzling dancing. After that show, Michaelmania went into high gear.

“AC/DC: Let There Be Rock,” a 1980 concert movie filmed in Paris (Warner, $39.98), is in the stores this week. Longtime fans of the Australian heavy-metal band should appreciate this one because of the footage of the late Bon Scott, the original lead singer.

Also available this week: “Huey Lewis and the News: The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Warner, $29.98). This is a cassette of the San Francisco concert originally telecast on Showtime. Since it was shot in February, it doesn’t include the band’s recent No. 1 single, “The Power of Love.”

Last week, Vestron released “Loverboy,” a $29.95 cassette of a 1983 Loverboy concert recorded in Vancouver, including “Turn Me Loose” and “The Kid is Hot Tonite.”

FOREIGN FILMS: Embassy this week releases another of the foreign classics from its Janus film vault. Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” (1956) stars Max von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand. It focuses on a knight’s allegorical chess game with Death. It’s available dubbed or with subtitles at $39.95.

Also from Embassy: dubbed or with subtitles, for $59.95, the Spanish film, “Camila,” which received an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. Directed by Maria Bemberg, it’s about a tragic affair--legendary in Argentina--between a Jesuit priest and a Buenos Aires socialite in the mid 1800s.

NEW AND COMING MOVIES: “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment,” destined to be a rental hit, is in the stores this week.

On Oct. 23, “Ghostbusters” will be available, followed a week later by another box-office giant, “Beverly Hills Cop.” In early November, the most recent James Bond Movie, “A View to a Kill” is due out on CBS-Fox. The major title for late November will be “Gremlins,” a Warner Video release. “Rambo,” the second biggest hit of the summer, will be out in January along with “Prizzi’s Honor,” the black comedy starring Jack Nicholson.

There is speculation among industry insiders that “The Return of the Jedi”--last episode of the “Star Wars” trilogy--will be released in February. CBS-Fox execs, of course, aren’t talking. If the release date is February, it probably won’t be announced until December.

Recent releases: “1918,” “Porky’s Revenge” and “Missing in Action II: The Beginning.”

CHARTS: The major debuts on the Billboard magazine rental charts are “The Breakfast Club” (No. 15) and “Amadeus” (No. 19). Look for both to take big jumps next week.


1--”Desperately Seeking Susan” (Thorn/EMI/HBO).

2--”The Killing Fields” (Warner Video).

3--”The Karate Kid” (RCA/Columbia).

4--”A Soldier’s Story” (RCA/Columbia).

5--”The Sure Thing” (Embassy).

6--”Starman” (RCA/Columbia).

7--”The Falcon and the Snowman” (Vestron).

8--”A Nightmare on Elm Street” (Media).

9--”Stick” (MCA).

10--”A Passage to India” (RCA/Columbia).


1--”Jane Fonda’s Workout” (Karl Lorimar).

2--”Prince and the Revolution Live” (Warner Video).

3--”We Are the World: the Video Event” MusicVision .

4--”Prime Time” (Karl Lorimar).

5--”Wham! the Video” (CBS-Fox).

6--”Desperately Seeking Susan” (Thorn/EMI/HBO).

7--”Wrestlemania” (Coliseum).

8--”Singin’ in the Rain” (MGM/UA).

9--”Pinocchio” (Disney).

10--”The Jane Fonda Workout Challenge” (Karl Lorimar)