Score one for the consumer: "Resurrection," the 1980 Ellen Burstyn drama about an accident victim who develops extraordinary healing powers, debuts on video next week thanks to the persistence of frustrated fans and the initiative of its star. A box office disappointment for Universal, "Resurrection" remains one of Burstyn's favorites and has attracted a sizable cult following whose loyalty helped prompt its video release.
"I've been answering letters for years from people who ask where they can get it," explains Burstyn. "I always said, 'Write to Universal.' " Eventually she asked her agent to look into it, "and the answer came back that it would cost more to put it out than they would make on it." The letters continued, including one this spring describing a video store scenario in which a would-be renter's request for the film is overheard by another customer, who takes an interest. "I forwarded this letter to the president of Universal and said, 'Please explain to me why you don't want to make this money. And if you don't want to, why don't I make it -- why don't you give me the rights for it?' " She was told she would be contacted by someone in the video unit -- and when she was, the news was that Universal was bringing out the film.
Burstyn, who helped shape the story of "Resurrection," has long been disappointed with Universal's attitude toward the picture. "Even in 1980, the people at Universal had it in their mind that nobody wanted to see it." Three days into its release, according to Burstyn, the studio gave up on it and withdrew newspaper advertising support. Later she and costar Eva LeGallienne received Academy Award nominations, but that produced no change in the studio's thinking. Burstyn suspects that Universal lost interest in the film in part because it had another Oscar contender that was "a sure-fire money maker" -- "Coal Miner's Daughter," whose star, Sissy Spacek, beat out Burstyn for the award that year. Still, Burstyn says, "Somehow, an awful lot of people have seen it, because I continue to hear from people about it. They tried to kill it but they didn't -- they put it in a coma for seven years, but it survived. I'm very grateful that they're finally putting it out on tape."
Jane in the Box
Busy Jane Fonda has three exercise cassettes coming out this fall, but only two will be available in video stores. The third, "Start Up," a "light exercise" workout, will be available only to fans of Nabisco Shredded Wheat. The 25-minute tape will be available until mid-November for $19.95 plus two proof-of-purchase seals from Shredded Wheat boxes. In addition, Fonda is returning to the video shelf with two more volumes in her Lorimar fitness library. Next week brings "Jane Fonda's Workout With Weights," featuring weight-trainer-to-the-stars Dan Isaacson, who claims credit for John Travolta's "Staying Alive" make-over and lists Victoria Principal, Chevy Chase, Linda Evans and Christopher Reeve among his clients; the 90-minute tape will cost $39.95. And "Jane Fonda's SportsAid" arrives at the end of the month with 90 minutes of advice about sports injuries and ways to prevent them. Sports medicine authority James Garrick joins Fonda on the $39.95 tape.
Get That Job
Random House Home Video has a new tape designed for the youngest professionals: recent college graduates now hitting the job market with their summer tans and lofty ambitions intact. "The Inside Secrets of Interviewing" is a how-to for the hire-me set, produced by the XSELL Team of personal experts who do college recruiting for IBM, Xerox and Merrill Lynch. At the risk of making its own job even more difficult, the team reveals the seven key factors it uses in evaluating young prospects and offers insight on networking and mastering the informal "noninterview interview." The half-hour tape is priced under $20 -- less than the cost of an upscale power tie.
Brats and Rats
Brat-Packers go it alone in several of this month's rental releases. This week brings Andrew McCarthy in "Mannequin" and Judd Nelson in "From the Hip," as an artist and a lawyer, respectively. Later this month, Rob Lowe plays it straight as a mildly retarded Texan in "Square Dance," starring Jason Robards and Jane Alexander (who was an executive producer), the work of "Resurrection" director Daniel Petrie. The film is the first feature from Michael Nesmith's Pacific Arts Pictures, whose video division is bringing out the tape. Another late September release, the 1964 musical "Robin and the Seven Hoods," offers a look at the original Rat Pack, at least the Frank/Dean/Sammy/Bing faction. Sherwood Forest is updated to gangster-era Chicago, in whose honor Sinatra sings "My Kind of Town."