SOMETHING WILD R, closed-captioned, 113 minutes, HBO Video, $89.95.
Standard issue for the well-equipped, modern girl: lipstick, mascara, black stockings, Louise Brooks wig, handcuffs. As Lulu, a thrill-loving, risk-taking, wild young thang, Melanie Griffith is the angel of destruction for middle-class security and comfort. When she picks up Jeff Daniels, a thirty-ish Wall Street exec, tosses his beeper out the car window and drags him off to a motel, she dashes all his hopes for the proper, circumspect life he's lead in the past, and any chance for peace and quiet. Directed by Jonathan Demme, from a script by E. Max Frye, this funny, sexy film is, on one level, a road movie -- a sort of new-wavy "It Happened One Night" -- and, on another, a bruise-black comedy, and what it tells us is that if you indulge in even the smallest indiscretion -- like not paying your check at lunch -- you could wind up losing your job, having your nose broken and your entire life overturned. In other words, it's the yuppie nightmare fulfilled. With music by David Byrne and assorted artists and a dark, bare-knuckled supporting performance by Ray Liotta.
THAT'S LIFE PG-13, 1986, 102 minutes, Vestron Video, $79.95.
Blake Edwards -- cinema's answer to Gail Sheehy -- goes from the tribulations of "10" to the fibrillations of 60 in this life-crisis comedy written for his friends and family and filmed in the director's surf-side home. Edwards' long-suffering wife Julie Andrews and his close friend Jack Lemmon costar, with other members of the actors' families as supporting cast. It's like something Henry Jaglom might have done, a real navel-prober about a sappy family of upwardly mobile Malibuans who get together on their patriarch's 60th birthday for whine, cheese and Japanese lanterns on the patio. Lemmon stammers out a strong performance as the reluctant, suddenly impotent sexagenarian, and Andrews is stereotypically saintly as his self-effacing wife. She's a singer who thinks she has throat cancer, but doesn't want to spoil the party by sharing her fears with her family. Edwards builds suspense by cutting from the party preparations to the cancer clinic where a technician pokes at her throat culture. She coughs frequently and weakly, like Camille at the beach.
MARLENE Unrated, 1986, color and B&W, 96 minutes, Embassy Home Entertainment, $79.95.
Maximilian Schell, like Mike Wallace in lederhosen, pursues the Zeitgeist of a legend in this oddly appealing documentary, which is chiefly a story of the director's frustration with the camera-shy ex-siren Marlene Dietrich. "I've been photographed to death," says the octogenarian screen great, who is crusty and candid in Schell's cajoling, often angry interviews, but refuses to appear in what could have been the definitive look at her career. What emerges instead is a "Sunset Boulevard" of documentaries, with Dietrich, like Mary Pickford and Greta Garbo, afraid to show her wrinkles. However, she and Schell (whom she requested for the project) do squabble entertainingly from the shadows of her darkly lighted boudoir. Schell sets her words, like a score, to the stunning images of a young Marlene in such silk-stocking classics as "The Blue Angel" and "Destry Rides Again." There are clips from "Judgment at Nuremberg," which costarred Schell and Dietrich, and some old photographs, though she shared little personal memorabilia. Schell concludes, "The truth about Marlene will not be found."
THE TALK OF THE TOWN Unrated, 1942, B&W, 118 minutes, Columbia Home Video, $29.95.
Cary Grant, who is accused of arson and manslaughter in a small New England town, escapes from jail and is hidden in the attic of a visiting law professor (Ronald Colman) -- who, it just so happens, has been nominated to a seat on the Supreme Court -- by his rather overwhelmed landlady, Jean Arthur. Written by Irwin Shaw and Sidney Buchman, and directed by George Stevens, the movie is windy and full of half-baked ideas about practicality versus idealism and whatnot, but its stars are so suavely appealing (even if, as in Grant's case, they're ludicrously miscast) that the speechifying is relatively painless.
OPERAFEST Unrated, 1984, in German, French, Italian and Russion, no subtitles, 92 minutes, Artists International, $59.95.
When the renovated Zurich Opera House was reopened on Dec. 1, 1984, the gala celebration's general standard was high, and the best segments in this tape of highlights are excellent. These include Mirella Freni singing Tatiana's Letter Scene from "Eugene Onegin," Alfredo Kraus giving a stylish performance of the "Kleinzack" song from "Tales of Hoffmann," the spirited baritone duet "Cheti, cheti" from "Don Pasquale" and the final act of "Carmen," fully staged.
In "Carmen," the leading roles (Jose' Carreras and Doris Soffel) are somewhat overshadowed by the visually vivid chorus -- particularly the children -- but the soloists generally justify their reputations. This is true particularly of Nicolai Ghiaurov in "La Calunnia" and Lucia Popp in the "Song to the Moon" from "Rusalka." Two artists relatively unknown in the United States, soprano Sona Ghazarian and baritone Christian Boesch, also make a strong impression.