When "Angel Heart" comes to video in September, renters will have the opportunity to see what director Alan Parker was forced to remove to avoid an X rating. International Video Entertainment will release both the R-rated version, which played in theaters, and Parker's original version of the film, which reheated the debate over the Motion Picture Association of America rating system's inability to differentiate between "adult" films and pornography. "Angel Heart," critics claimed, qualifies as the former, that rare film that appeals to the mature moviegoer who can tolerate a few seconds of nudity or violence in service of grander narrative or symbolic motifs. The footage in question -- about 10 seconds' worth -- depicts Mickey Rourke and "Cosby" daughter Lisa Bonet having sex in a deluge of chicken blood.
This isn't the first time that a video publisher has rescued risque' footage from ratings board purgatory. MGM/UA added a few extra moments of yuppie sadism to "9 1/2 Weeks" for its video release last year; while racier than the R-rated film, the video still wasn't as rough as the version shown in European theaters. Another rating victim that reached the market in dual video releases, Ken Russell's "Crimes of Passion," gets repriced next week. The R-rated tale of a prostitute's redemption goes on sale at $24.95, while the unexpurgated version will sell for $29.95. Those five dollars will buy about six minutes of Kathleen Turner, a masochistic policeman, a pair of handcuffs and a night stick -- character development, in other words.
Arriving in rental stores this week are four BBC dramas, two of which are new to these shores. James Bond meets Charlotte Bronte
in a four-hour "Jane Eyre," which stars the new 007, Timothy Dalton, as the mysterious Mr. Rochester; British stage star Zelah Clarke plays the title role. "Gandhi" star Ben Kingsley plays Silas Marner in a dramatization that manages to tell the whole sad story in 90 minutes. New to U.S. viewers are "Hotel du Lac," an adaptation of Anita Brookner's best seller, and "How Many Miles to Babylon?," starring Daniel Day Lewis, a World War I drama made before his chameleonic turns in "My Beautiful Laundrette" and "A Room With a View."
Home of the Weird
Using his nose as a namesake, rock musician Frank Zappa has set up his own video company -- Honker Home Video -- to supply "state-of-the-art weirdness for the home video market." Zappa promises to have four releases out by the end of the year; the first, "Baby Snakes -- The Complete Version," a three-hour marriage of Zappa concert footage and claymation, is due in September. According to the musician, who was recently zapped as a "Late Show" guest host because his guest lineup was judged too controversial for the Fox Broadcasting System, the company will provide "an alternative outlet for artists who find their material too risky or obscure for other companies to pick up." Another rock 'n' roller, ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith, announced a similar agenda a few years ago when he set up Pacific Arts Video, and has developed it into one of the most eclectic and progressive labels in the business; its recent releases include a video from "Einstein on the Beach" creator Robert Wilson and a sampler from The Kitchen, New York experimental theater and video center.
"The Mosquito Coast" tops the list of recent video releases that are worth more on video than they were in theaters, according to figures published in the industry newsletter Video Week, demonstrating once again that the video market can be a very green pasture for the movie industry's less-than-thoroughbred entries in the box office race. The retail value of the "Mosquito Coast" videocassettes purchased by rental stores tops its box office take by $200,000. That margin approaches the $1 million mark for the Richard Gere adventure "No Mercy," while the space adventure "Solarbabies" more than doubled its box office receipts in video sales.
The rap group Beastie Boys, whose recent first album quickly became the best-selling debut album in Columbia Records' history, will release its first videocassette this week. The 25-minute, $19.95 tape offers six Beastie Boy music videos in digital hi-fi stereo, including the group's first single, "She's On It," which wasn't on the album ... Two video performances of the Bolshoi Ballet are due in stores next week at $39.95. "The Golden Age" features a performance of Shostakovich's roaring '20s ballet filmed in Moscow earlier this year. And "An Evening With the Bolshoi" offers a 1986 mixed bill from London, with selections from "Les Sylphides," "Spartacus," "La Bayadere," "The Golden Age," "Swan Lake" and "Spring Waters," some of which will be performed here next month.