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REWIND / VIDEO REVIEWS : No Longer ‘Head Over Heels,’ and No More Happy Ending : Originally released under a different title, “Chilly Scenes of Winter” concluded ambiguously.

People who have been romantically pursued or dropped (for no perceivable good reason) will find a lot to relate to in “Chilly Scenes of Winter.”

The whimsical comedy stars John Heard as Charles Richardson, a guy hung up on his old girlfriend, Laura Connally (Mary Beth Hurt). The problem: After letting Charles pursue her for a while, Laura has moved back in with her husband, whom she had left once before.

Hurt conveys the painful confusion of a woman who doesn’t know exactly why she left her husband, or why she goes back. Heard plays his zealousness perfectly; he thinks he knows exactly what he wants: Laura. How can Charles get her back?

The film is based on Anne Beattie’s novel of the same name, but in a marketing ploy, it was first released as “Head Over Heels,” with a happy ending tacked on; once you’ve seen the director’s cut (recently made available again on videotape) you’ll appreciate how wrong that fluffy title is. The ending as director Joan Micklin Silver wanted it is not tragic, just ambiguous.

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The story jumps chronologically, blending fantasy, flashback and reality. The flashback scenes--in which Heard meets, and is enchanted by, Hurt--are full of charm, whimsy and poignancy. Every first meeting should be this good.

“Chilly Scenes of Winter” (1979), directed by Joan Micklin Silver. 97 minutes. Rated PG.

TOP VIDEO RENTALS

Here is a list of the 20 most popular video rental movies as reported by rental stores in Ventura County. 1. Dennis the Menace 2. Indecent Proposal 3. Born Yesterday 4. Posse 5. The Sandlot 6. The Dark Half 7. Loaded Weapon 8. Three of Hearts 9. Cop and a Half 10. Untangled 11. Groundhog Day 12. Tom and Jerry, the Movie 13. Extreme Justice 14. A Far Off Place 15. Fire in the Sky 16. Rocky Horror Picture Show 17. The Muppet Christmas Carol 18. Falling Down 19. A Few Good Men 20. El Mariachi


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