‘sex, lies, and videotape’ Hits the Shelves


One of the most intelligent and challenging films of 1989, Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies, and videotape,” is just out on RCA/Columbia videocassette ($89.95) and a Pioneer video disc ($34.95).

In this brilliant, darkly comic examination of modern love in the camcorder age, the lives of three people are deeply affected by a visitor who videotapes women talking about their sexual habits. The fine cast features James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher and Laura San Giacomo.

The R-rated production has at least one other important connection with video: Its low, $1.2-million negative-cost budget was entirely financed by RCA/Columbia, which still may have been as surprised as many others by the $24 million the film took in at the box office even before one videocassette was sold.


Also from last year:

“A Dry White Season” (CBS/Fox, $89.98, R) has Marlon Brando in a rare appearance in a drama about South African apartheid that also stars Donald Sutherland and Susan Sarandon.

“Erik the Viking” (Orion, $89.98, PG-13) is a Monty Python-esque comedy directed by and starring Python Terry Jones and also featuring Python John Cleese and non-Pythons (or maybe Python wannabes) Tim Robbins, Eartha Kitt and Mickey Rooney.

“Let It Ride” (Paramount, priced for rental, PG-13) had a hard ride at theaters, even though Richard Dreyfuss starred in this comedy about a gambler.

“True Love” (MGM/UA, $89.95, R) is first-time director/co-writer Nancy Savoca’s comedy/drama about preparations for a Bronx couple’s wedding.

“Next of Kin” (Warner, $89.95, R) stars Patrick Swayze in a cop-vs.-the-Mob thriller.

From 1987:

“Hearts of Fire” (Warner, $89.95, R), a drama about an aspiring singer and the men in her life. The film, whose videotape release has been postponed more than once, stars Bob Dylan (!), Fiona and Richie Havens.


From the late ‘60s:

“The Party,” Blake Edwards’ uneven but often hilarious comedy about what happens when a bit player from India (Peter Sellers) accidentally gets invited to a lavish Hollywood fling; and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” a lively filming of the hit musical comedy, starring Robert Morse and Michele Lee. They’re $19.95 each from MGM/UA.

From further back:

“The Fugitive,” John Ford’s dark, depressing 1947 drama about a priest (Henry Fonda) on the run in Mexico; and “On Dangerous Ground,” a terrific 1951 slice of film noir directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Robert Ryan as a troubled cop. They’re $19.98 each from Turner.


Attention “Twin Peaks” fans:

David Lynch’s weird-and-then-some film “Blue Velvet” has been reduced to $19.95 by Warner, which is also offering at the same price these spine-tinglers: “A Cry in the Dark,” “Dead Calm,” “Cruising” and Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” “Stage Fright,” “Dial M For Murder,” “I Confess,” “Foreign Correspondent” and “The Wrong Man.”

Coincidentally, MGM/UA just cut the creepy “Child’s Play,” “Pumpkinhead,” “Poltergeist III” and “Betrayed” to the same price, as well as the considerably funnier “Love and Death,” “Irma La Douce,” “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” and (attention “Living Color” fans) “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka.”



“The Lost Stooges” (Turner, $14.98) is a 68-minute collection for devoted Three Stooges fans only, featuring the musketeers of mirth in some sketches they filmed in their pre-stardom days, when they were billed as Ted Healy’s Stooges. Moe, Larry and Curly are not at their best here, and Ted’s even less funny. Leonard Maltin hosts.