Pepsico has gone from Tom Cruise to toe shoes for its next sponsored video, a Bolshoi Ballet performance of "Swan Lake." Filmed in Moscow in 1985, the ballet will be offered on video for $19.95 by Kultur Video in conjunction with Stolichnaya vodka, which is distributed in the U.S. by Pepsico Wines & Spirits. Unavailable in stores, the video will be sold only through newspaper ads that will appear when the company's tour stops here later this month.
"We felt that the two most popular things from Russia these days were vodka and the Bolshoi," explains Kultur President Dennis Hedlund of the partnership. Stolichnaya will furnish a 70-second ad on the tape that Hedlund promises will be in the spirit of things Bolshoi, the same way that the aviation-themed Diet Pepsi ad looked at home on the "Top Gun" video. "You'll learn a little bit about Russia, about vodka, and see some scenes of the Russian countryside, maybe some farm equipment chopping up barley," he says. "It will be very soft-sell -- the unwritten law in these matters is that you do it in good taste."
"Ishtar" director Elaine May is shown in a better light in "A New Leaf," the 1971 comedy she wrote, directed and costarred in (with Walter Matthau) that comes to video this week. The film has a slightly different sound track than it did in the theaters because Paramount was unable to clear home video rights to all of the music used in the original -- part of the reason its video release has been delayed this long. The same holds true for "The President's Analyst," also out this week. Both are part of a Paramount promotion that is bringing nine vintage comedies to video for the first time, all priced at $29.95. Others in the package include Preston Sturges' 1944 classic "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," starring Betty Hutton, Jerry Lewis in "The Disorderly Orderly," Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in "Houseboat" and William Holden and Audrey Hepburn in "Paris When It Sizzles." At the same time, Paramount is discounting 20 of its current comedy videos to $19.95, including concert films from Robin Williams, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal and Gallagher, as well as the Neil Simon movies "The Odd Couple," "The Out of Towners," "Plaza Suite" and "Barefoot in the Park."
Kitchen Kitsch Country song titles get right to the point, so why not country video? The latest, "Cooking With Country Stars," is just that: culinary lessons with your favorite country performers. There's Minnie Pearl's zucchini, Charlie Daniels' chocolate cake, Brenda Lee's Chinese pork and vegetables, Mel Tillis' hamburger stew and Ray Stevens' Mexican casserole, plus recipes from Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare and the Forester Sisters. The $19.95 package includes a recipe pamphlet, so you can concentrate on the stars' technique while you're watching. There's a book, too, if you're really hungry -- more than 200 recipes from 37 stars -- for $14.95.
Tough Questions Parents and educators have long acclaimed Peter Mayle's illustrated children's books for their gentle answers to kids' most delicate questions. His puberty primer, "What Happening to Me?," comes to video next week from LCA, the home video affiliate of educational film market veteran Learning Corp. of America, which also released "Where Did I Come From?" for younger audiences on video last fall. Each half-hour tape retails for $19.95. Also on the way from LCA are two more practical guides that parents may want to look into: Gary Coleman's "For Safety's Sake -- In the Neighborhood," a series of short segments with the "Diff'rent Strokes" star that demonstrate both preventive and emergency measures for kids (40 minutes, $19.95); and "Drug Free Kids," a guide for parents presented by the Scott Newman Foundation (70 minutes, $29.95).
Answered Prayers Washington area residents who can't make it south or west to see the pope this fall can rest easy -- there's a video on the way. ABC Television and Vestron Video plan to rush-release an "instant video" commemoration of the papal visit as soon as the nine-city tour is completed in September. The $19.95 tape will feature footage from his major stops including the New Orleans Superdome and Kelly Air Base in San Antonio. ABC and Vestron teamed up for an "instant video" of Liberty Weekend last summer. His Holiness figures prominently in another video due out this month, a 75-minute film record of last month's "Prayer for World Peace." Along with the papal service are shots of churches, worshipers and religious art from around the world, as well as an "exclusive personal inspirational message" from Mother Teresa. Profits from the $29.95 video will go to the Catholic Media Foundation.
Important Imports "The Assault," this year's Oscar-winning foreign language film, arrives in video stores Tuesday. The Dutch film depicts the life of a child who witnesses his family's slaughter at the hand of Nazis ... Alain Renais' acclaimed "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" gets repriced to $29.95 this week.