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‘Laura’ on Shelves, ‘Road’ Out in November

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Of the classic films not recently available on video, two of the most eagerly awaited have been “Laura” and “Two for the Road.” Collectors, get ready: As part of FoxVideo’s new classics release schedule, “Laura” came out Wednesday and “Two for the Road” is due Nov. 3--both at $20.

Karen Edwards, FoxVideo’s marketing manager, said that the biggest demand has been for “Laura,” the 1944 mystery starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb.

“We get letters, petitions and phone calls all the time asking for this title,” she said. “Of all our unreleased titles, this is the one that’s asked for the most. It’s a phenomenon among collectors.”

Why the “Laura” demand?

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“It’s a combination of the music, the cast, the fascinating mystery and the fact that it has such as great feel for the 1940s,” Edwards replied. “People who’ve seen it remember it and want to see it again.”

The demand has not been quite as great for “Two for the Road,” a dark romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. It had been released in the early 1980s, although the shipment was so small that few copies are still around. Hepburn’s recent death increased the clamor for the title. Edwards, though, said its release was scheduled before she died.

FoxVideo has launched an aggressive campaign for these classics.

“The (sales) market has grown so much stronger, so it makes financial sense to put these out at a price affordable to collectors,” Edwards said. “Another reason is that more stores--video stores and other kinds of stores--carry old movies now too, so we can ship many more copies these days.”

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FoxVideo released three best picture Oscar winners last month--"Cavalcade” (1933), “How Green Was My Valley” (1941) and “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947)--and will continue putting out one classic on the first Wednesday of every month. The schedule:

“The Mark of Zorro” (1940) in April, “A Letter to Three Wives” (1949) in May, “Zorba the Greek” (1964) in June, “The Three Faces of Eve” (1957) in July, “Wilson” (1944) in August, “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing” (1955) in September, “Jane Eyre” (1944) in October and “The Snake Pit” (1948) in December.

To appeal to collectors, FoxVideo includes theatrical trailers when possible and offers fancy packaging.

Recent Releases

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“Singles” (Warner, $95). Fast, likable, lightweight romantic romp through superhip Seattle singles scene, starring Matt Dillon, Bridget Fonda and Kyra Sedgwick, played out against a background of the grunge-rock sound. Geared to teens and the twentysomething crowd, it’s full of cameos and littered with inside humor.

“Whispers in the Dark” (Paramount, no set price). An absurd thriller that’s heavy on lurid sex but low on logic, with Anabella Sciorra playing a psychiatrist who gets caught up in a murder mystery while trying to solve her own sex problems. The finale--the unmasking of the killer--is an unintentional laugh riot. Alan Alda and Jamey Sheridan co-star.

“Sins of Desire” (Columbia TriStar, $90). Soft-core porn dressed up in a silly story about a murder at a sex-therapy clinic, with Tanya Roberts and Nick Cassavetes.

“Rapid Fire” (FoxVideo, $95). High production values elevate this one above the usual kick-boxing bloodfests. It should delight genre fans but Brandon Lee, playing a witness to a mob murder, shows little of the charisma or fighting skill that made his dad--the late Bruce Lee--famous.

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“Innocent Blood” (Warner, $95). The first big Hollywood effort for Anne Parillaud, star of “La Femme Nikita,” is a mediocre comedy directed by John Landis. She plays a sexy vampire involved with a gangster (Robert Loggia) and a cop (Anthony LaPaglia).

“Michael Jordan Air Time” (CBS-Fox, $20). Supposedly an up-close and personal peek at Jordan, this hour video is only a skin-deep, music-video style portrait of the high-flying Chicago Bulls star, offering nothing you didn’t already know.

Upcoming on Video

“The Last of the Mohicans,” “Wind” and “Bebe’s Kids” (Wednesday); “Mr. Baseball” and “Candyman” (March 17); “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Pure Country” and “Captain Ron” (March 24); “Pinocchio” (March 26); “Under Siege” (March 31); “Consenting Adults” and “Husbands and Wives” (April 7); “Passenger 57,” “The Public Eye,” “Sarafina!” and “The Mighty Ducks” (April 14); “Night and the City” (April 21); “Trespass” (May 5).

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