"Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" makes the voyage to home video this September as expected -- with no commercial messages on board and a $29.95 price tag. The latest in Paramount's "Star Trek" movie series, "The Voyage Home" sends Kirk, Spock and crew into a time warp back to the 20th century to save the world -- and the whales -- from extinction. Video stores are likewise in for something of a time warp when 10 more episodes of the TV series beam down to home video alongside the movie, including Trekker favorites "The Omega Glory," "Spock's Brain" and "Assignment: Earth," another time-travel adventure for the Enterprise crew that served as a pilot for a spinoff that never spun. Priced at $14.95, these 10 volumes, all from 1968, bring to 61 the number of series episodes that Paramount has put on tape.
Riding high on its recent box office success, Paramount has a lot more in store for fall viewing and holiday shopping. Michael Powell's 1948 ballet drama, "The Red Shoes," makes its long-awaited video debut at $19.95, along with last year's "Nutcracker: The Motion Picture," the Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of Tchaikovsky's crowd-pleasing ballet using Maurice Sendak's production design; Carroll Ballard of "The Black Stallion" fame directed. For a different kind of grandeur, Paramount is offering two Francis Coppola epics at $29.95: "The Godfather," in a two-cassette package, and "Apocalypse Now." The price is a new low for both, and will only last through the holiday season.
Not Just Another Cute Marine
The inevitable Oliver North video, "Oliver North: Memo to History," has found an audience commensurate with the lieutenant colonel's current cover-boy image, according to publisher MPI Home Video. "What we thought was a cute idea turns out to be a very big seller," says MPI Vice President Jaffer Ali. The 90-minute, $19.95 compendium of Ollie's finest moments reaches stores this week in a first shipment of 75,000 tapes -- three times MPI's initial sales projections, and far above that of the typical nonfiction video that doesn't invite viewers to sweat along with its star.
MPI's take on the tape could easily surpass the million-dollar mark -- enough to keep North in snow tires until he needed them in hell, if he were getting a cut, which he isn't. In fact, none of the esteemed players will see any financial reward for their performances: Chicago-based MPI signed no papers and shook no hands, but simply pointed its satellite dish toward Capitol Hill when the hearings got underway and turned on the VCR.
As for the legality of using the footage, Ali, like Ollie, hears the absence of a "No" as a "Yes," and challenges anyone who thinks otherwise. "We are waiting for someone to tell us that they think they own the copyright," he says. "We think the congressional hearings belong to the American people."
The Living Dead
Hollywood loves an anniversary -- it's celebrating its own, disputed 100th this year -- whether it's a happy one or not. There's more to the Elvis Presley celebration outlined last week that marks his 10th year in the afterlife. MGM/UA has discounted 10 Presley films to $24.95: "Clambake," "Double Trouble," "Elvis on Tour," "Elvis: That's the Way It Is," "Harum Scarum," "It Happened at the World's Fair," "Jailhouse Rock," "Kid Galahad," "Speedway," and "Viva Las Vegas." The tapes hit stores early next month.
Closer to Labor Day, CBS/Fox sets things in motion for the upcoming silver anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death with a series of 10 Monroe movies priced at $19.98. Four are new to video: "Monkey Business," a 1952 comedy starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers; 1953's "Niagara," with Monroe in her first starring role as a wife plotting to kill husband Joseph Cotten; "River of No Return," Otto Preminger's 1954 western costarring Robert Mitchum; and the 1960 backstage comedy "Let's Make Love," directed by George Cukor and costarring Yves Montand. The rest are a cause for celebration whatever the occasion: "How to Marry a Millionaire," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "The Seven Year Itch," "Bus Stop," "Some Like It Hot" and "The Misfits," which also marked the end of Clark Gable's career.
Three Fred Astaire musicals previously unavailable on video are due in December from MGM/UA. "The Barkleys of Broadway" (1949) marks his reunion with Ginger Rogers, who filled in for Judy Garland at the last minute; it was their last film together. Vera-Ellen is his dance partner in both 1950's "Three Little Words" and 1952's "The Belle of New York." All three will retail for $29.95 ... Geraldine Page has at least one more movie on the way, but the last one she saw released, "The Trip to Bountiful," will be reduced to $19.95 next month. The performance won Page her only Academy Award ... James Coco was not so lucky in choosing what turned out to be his last picture -- the actor's equivalent of an ambulance ride in dirty underwear, "California Hunk" was opening about the time Coco died this spring, and it's already slated for its video release next week. Maybe no one will see it on video, either.