Fresh Material in Fall Video of 'Beatles '64'

Bambi, Roger Rabbit and those cute dinosaurs in "The Land Before Time" may have to compete with the Fab Four for a place under the tree this Christmas. A tape compiling performances and documentary footage of the Beatles when they first toured the United States is being prepared for release this fall by MPI Video.

"The Beatles '64" may contain every song from the group's appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and several numbers from its first U.S. concert in Washington, plus footage from a documentary film shot at the time by David and Albert Maysles.

While "Beatles '64" will probably overlap other Beatles videocassettes such as "The Compleat Beatles," it will contain a considerable amount of new material. The tape is still in the editing stage and will probably run between 50 and 90 minutes.

News about the tape broke earlier this week in the trade magazine Video Insider, which said it based its information on an anonymous MPI source. MPI vice president Jaffer Ali, who was upset that the information on the project had leaked and said he hadn't seen the Video Insider article, confirmed those basic facts.

Ali added that Apple Corp. is producing the tape for MPI and that the probable price of the cassette will be $24.95. He said no definite release date has been set.

As if contending with all the "new, improved" video hardware weren't enough, there is even some new, improved software to make buyers of the old, unimproved "models" unhappy.

Case in point: the Sept. 26 release of the new, improved "Gone With the Wind" videocassette.

The 1939 classic has already been out on tape, selling more than half-a-million copies. However, dealers haven't been able to order it since March. When MGM/UA makes it available again in September, the 50th-anniversary version will feature Technicolor restoration, upgraded (digital) video transferring and better sound (due to a newly discovered 1939 audio track).

That's not all. The new version will also be preceded by a seven-minute documentary on the making of the film, and the package will contain a certificate good for $5.56 off any of the other six 1939 MGM films being released on tape the same day by MGM/UA: "The Women," "Goodby, Mr. Chips," "Dark Victory," "Babes in Arms," "Ninotchka" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

Unlike "GWTW," which will retain its hefty $89.95 tag, these movies will cost $24.95 each. After the $5.56 certificate is used, that comes to $19.39 (get it?).


Video renters who missed "Mississippi Burning" (Orion, $89.98, R) in the theaters last year can now make up their own minds about director Alan Parker's portrayal of violence and change in the South of the '60s.

The more highly praised elements of the film--notably Gene Hackman's performance as a tough FBI agent--were eventually overshadowed by criticisms that probably kept the movie from turning key Oscar nominations into statuettes.

The fictionalized version of the murder of three civil rights workers was accused of unnecessarily twisting the facts of the original case, of de-emphasizing the involvement of black people in gaining their rights and of giving the FBI far too much credit in solving the case. Also in the cast: Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand and Brad Dourif.

"Mississippi Burning" may rent especially well since there's not much else new to pick from. "Windrider" (MGM/UA, $79.95, R) is a 1986 Australian adventure/romance about a windsurfer (Tom Burlinson) and his romance with a rock singer (Nicole Kidman). "The Gold and the Glory" (IVE, $89.95, PG-13) is yet another Australian drama that combines sports and love; released earlier this year, it stars Joss McWilliams and Colin Friels as two brothers who enter a foot race and yearn for the same young woman. "Food of the Gods Part II" (IVE, $89.95, R), also from early 1989, is an unlikely sequel that shows what happens when you give lab rats too many hormones (they grow big and try to eat you).


In "Mirthworms on Stage" (FHE, $14.95, 30 minutes), the little creatures put on their comic version of "Sleeping Beauty"--a phenomenon due not to hormones but to animation.

"Man on the Moon" (CBS/Fox, $19.98, 60 minutes) is a made-for-video tape that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first lunar landing by excerpting CBS' original coverage and interviewing the astronauts.

Rick Springfield went from rock star to soap star. "Michael Damian: Rock On" (A&M;, $14.98, 25 minutes) shows how the star of "The Young and the Restless" did it the other way around.

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