A Couple of Grizzlies This Week: 'Bear' and 'Old Gringo'

THIS WEEK'S MOVIES

"The Bear" (RCA/Columbia, $89.95, PG) is the latest of those paradoxical animal pictures that seem to be made for animal lovers yet show animals being put through all sorts of arduous (and possibly dangerous) tasks by the filmmakers.

That paradox didn't prevent audiences from flocking to this outdoor adventure about a giant, wounded grizzly and an orphaned cub, especially in Europe, where the film was one of the most popular movies of last year. Jean-Jacques Annaud ("The Name of the Rose") directed.

Speaking of grizzlies, "Old Gringo" (RCA/Columbia, $89.95, R) stars veteran actor Gregory Peck as writer Ambrose Bierce in a speculative and off-kilter account of his mysterious disappearance while in Mexico during Pancho Villa days. Also in the cast are Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits. Luis Puenzo ("The Official Story") directed.

Francois Truffaut's last film, "The Little Thief" (HBO, $89.99, R), draws a portrait of a rebellious teen-age girl in the France of the 1950s.

Farrah Fawcett, John Shea and Ryan O'Neal star in "Small Sacrifices" (Fries, $89.95), a grueling but well-made 1989 TV movie about an Oregon mother standing trial for shooting her children.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

"She-Devil" (June 28), "The War of the Roses" (June 28), "Tremors" (July 12), "Men Don't Leave" (July 18).

OTHER NEW VIDEOS

California's favorite national park has inspired several videocassettes, most taking a travelogue-like approach. A welcome anomaly is "Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven" (IVE, $19.95), a fine, hourlong documentary shown last November on PBS' "American Experience" series.

We get the pretty views here--including some of the most stunningly photographed scenes of the famous valley, meadows, forests and domes ever shown. But filmmaker Jon Else also gives us the small details and dark aspects of Yosemite seldom seen in other videos.

Another plus: The view is framed by a reading (by Robert Redford) of the diary of a doctor who accompanied an Army brigade on a mission to the area in 1851--including accounts of how the valley's peaceful Native Americans were driven out.

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