Foreign film buffs are in for a real treat with Home Vision's latest releases.
The crown jewel in the collection is the exquisite, haunting French classic "Mayerling" from 1935 ($30), starring Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux and directed by Anatole Litvak. Get your hankies out for this romantic tragedy, which is based on the real-life ill-fated love affair between the unhappily married Archduke Rudolph of Austria and 17-year-old Marie Vetsera.
"Mayerling" made a major star and heartthrob out of handsome Boyer, who was never better; Darrieux is equally moving as Marie. Litvak's direction is delicate and inspired. The score includes romantic pieces by Tchaikovsky, Weber and Johann Strauss. Two remakes never matched this original, which was named best foreign film by the New York Film Critics. Home Vision's print has been digitally remastered and features new subtitles. It's a must-see.
Also new is Swiss director Claude Goretta's "The Invitation" ($30). Nominated for the 1973 best foreign language film Oscar, this is a bittersweet comedy-drama about a mild-mannered, nebbish bachelor (Michel Robin) whose life changes when his mother dies. After taking a temporary leave from work, he sells his mother's house and purchases a beautiful home in the country. But his housewarming party turns into a nightmare when his co-workers shed their inhibitions and become unruly. It's up to the butler (a terrific Francois Simon) to restore order. "The Invitation" was honored with a special citation at the Cannes Film Festival.
"Miss Julie" ($30) is renowned Swedish director Alf Sjoberg's classic 1950 adaptation of August Strindberg's play about a noblewoman seduced by her coachman. Anita Bjork, Ulf Palme and Max von Sydow star.
To order the videos, call (800) 826-FILM.
Fab Return: Arriving Tuesday is "The Last Shout" (Polygram, $20), the first-ever movie made for TV from the outrageously funny and naughty British series "Absolutely Fabulous." The 90-minute farce, which can be seen Sunday on Comedy Central, finds everyone's favorite sweetie darlings Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) swigging Stoli, skiing in Switzerland and preparing for Saffy's marriage. Marianne Faithful guests as God, and Edina's favorite designer, Christian LaCroix, has a very funny bit.
Killer Bs: Coming Tuesday is the truly forgettable thriller "Overkill" (Vidmark). Star Aaron Norris, the younger sibling of Chuck, is so wooden he makes his big brother look like Laurence Olivier.
Mark Paul Gosselaar of "Saved by the Bell" is trapped in the dumb sci-fi thriller "Specimen" (A-Pix).
Roddy Piper stars in "Marked Man" (Live), a run-of-the-mill "Fugitive"-style thriller.
Mickey Rourke and the late Tupac Shakur star in the extremely violent, nasty drug-revenge thriller "Bullet" (New Line), directed by Julien Temple ("Absolute Beginners").
On the Road: Fans of MTV's reality-based soap opera "Road Rules" can enjoy the behind-the-scenes dirt in the juicy "The Making of Road Rules" (Sony, $13), arriving in stores Tuesday.
Coming Next Week: Kurt Russell returns as Snake Plissken in the comedy-thriller "John Carpenter's Escape From L.A." (Paramount). . . . Mary Kay Place, Aleska Palladino and Scarlett Johansson star in "Manny & Lo" (Columbia TriStar), a comedy-drama about two orphaned sisters. . . . Whoopi Goldberg plays a New York Knicks fan who becomes coach in the comedy "Eddie" (Hollywood). . . . Emilio Estevez quacks it up in the comedy "D3: The Mighty Ducks" (Walt Disney, $23). . . . Til Schweiger stars in the blockbuster German comedy "Maybe . . . Maybe Not" (Live). . . . Charlton Heston and Thora Birch star in the family adventure "Alaska" (Columbia TriStar, priced to own). . . . James Woods stars as the first confessed serial killer in "Killer: A Journal of Murder" (Republic). . . . Jon Cryer, Adrian Pasdar and Mia Sara star in the romantic comedy "The Pompatus of Love" (BMG). . . . Quentin Tarantino presents the offbeat romantic comedy "Chungking Express" (Miramax). Also new: "Family of Cops" (Vidmark) and "Fatal Combat" (Columbia TriStar).