Foreign-Film Classics Debut at Reasonable Price; : Schwarzenegger’s ‘Raw Deal’ Comes Out Shooting

Times Staff Writer

Foreign-film fans eagerly await the newest releases from Embassy’s International Collection, which offers foreign classics at a relatively reasonable price. The latest batch from IC, out last week, may be its best yet.

The showpiece of this group--all subtitled and selling for $29.95--is “The Rules of the Game” (1939), which usually makes most Top 10 lists of the best films ever made.

Directed by and starring Jean Renoir, this French film is--on the surface--a simple comedy-drama about aristocrats and peasants at a party at a chateau, but it’s multilayered and works ingeniously on several levels and has influenced many other directors.

This International Collection release also includes Vittorio De Sica’s “Umberto D” (1955, Italy) and Jean Cocteau’s allegorical “Orpheus” (1949, France). De Sica’s sentimental film, about the struggles of a lonely old pensioner has been lauded for its simplicity and realism. Also, if you’re in the mood for a good cry, there is no better film. It was made at the end of the postwar period during which the Italian film industry was a world leader. Cocteau’s “Orpheus” details an intriguing encounter between a poet and the Princess of Death. Though a bit dated, it’s still compelling.

Other IC release are Kinugasa’s “Gate of Hell” (1954), Mizoguchi’s “Street of Shame” (1956) and Akira Kurosawa’s “Dersu Uzala” (1980), often cited for its stunning nature photography.


OUT THIS WEEK: HBO/Cannon’s “Raw Deal,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger shooting anything that moves, is the big new cassette of the week. However, it’s not expected to be as popular as other Schwarzenegger hits--"The Terminator” and “Commando.” Even action lovers may OD on the non-stop mayhem in “Raw Deal.”

Warner’s “Under the Cherry Moon,” a box-office disaster featuring Prince, will attract curious fans at first, but there should be a drop-off after the first few weeks. It pales in comparison to Prince’s “Purple Rain,” which was a home-video smash at $29.95. “Cherry Moon,” which sells for $79.95, is not a musical film so, unlike “Purple Rain, it won’t be a big attraction to music fans. Also, Prince isn’t as hot as he was two years ago. The question is: Are there enough curious Prince fans to make this a rental hit?

MCA’s “Legend,” a fantasy/adventure directed by Ridley Scott, may do rather well because of its star--Tom Cruise. His growing army of fans--mostly young females--will go see him in anything. In this one, he’s a noble youth battling the Prince of Darkness (Tim Curry) to save the world from eternal darkness. This is considered inferior to other noted movies Scott has directed--"Alien” and “Blade Runner.”

Embassy’s “The Trip to Bountiful” won an Oscar for Geraldine Page’s performance. The screenplay was written by Horton Foote, who also wrote “Tender Mercies.”

COMING MOVIES: Most critics thought “A Fine Mess,” due from RCA/Columbia on Jan. 15, was a real mess. A free-for-all comedy about bumbling crooks, this movie got a lot of attention because of its stars--Howie Mandel and Ted Danson--and because it was written and directed by the esteemed Blake Edwards. Still, audiences avoided it. Retailers are expected to stock up on it, though, figuring there are enough Mandel and Danson fans to make this a home-video hit.

“Out of Bounds,” also a Jan. 15 release from RCA/Columbia, is further proof that teen fans don’t like to see their favorite teen stars in action-thrillers. Anthony Michael Hall portrays a lovable Iowa hick who gets into trouble when he accidentally picks up a piece of luggage loaded with heroin at LAX. It didn’t do well at the box office.

November releases: “SpaceCamp (Wednesday), “The Gods Must Be Crazy” (Thursday), “Cobra” (Nov. 16), “Letter to Brezhnev” (Nov. 19), “Pirates” (Nov. 20), “Poltergeist II: the Other Side” (Nov. 25), “Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling” (Nov. 26) and “Short Circuit” (Nov. 27).

(Compiled by Billboard magazine). TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, RENTALS 1--"Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (Touchstone).

2--"Out of Africa” (MCA).

3--"Pretty in Pink” (Paramount).

4--"F/X” (HBO/Cannon).

5--"The Money Pit” (MCA).

TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, SALES 1--"Sleeping Beauty” (Disney).

2--"Jane Fonda’s New Workout” (Karl-Lorimar).

3--"Jane Fonda’s Low Impact Aerobic Workout” (Karl-Lorimar).

4--"The Sound of Music” (CBS-Fox).

5--"Alice in Wonderland” (Disney).