Barry Levinson's Baltimore films, unlike the Orioles, are not disappointing. In celebration of "Liberty Heights," Levinson's fourth film set in his home town, Warner Home video has released a collection of the three previous films.
Levinson, a writer, director and producer, reached deeply into his own experiences in developing "Diner" (1982), "Tin Men" (1987) and "Avalon" (1990). The set is listed at $44.92 and leaves a slot for "Liberty Heights," which is scheduled for video next fall.
"Diner," a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama, looked at post-teenagers growing up in 1959, the heyday of the Baltimore Colts. It marked Levinson's debut, and he introduced unknowns who swiftly became well-knowns. The lineup included Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Ellen Barkin, Daniel Stern, Timothy Daly and Steve Guttenberg.
"Tin Men" was set in 1963 Baltimore with Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss as competitive aluminum-siding salesmen. A minor car accident brought them together, setting off hostile sparks. The movie also starred Barbara Hershey and John Mahoney.
"Avalon," based on Levinson's experiences within his own family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, is a portrait of the break-up of the family unit as seen from the perspective of a Russian family that settled in Baltimore at the end of World War II. Aidan Quinn and Elizabeth Perkins are featured in the film.
Other pre-holiday releases include:
A pair of National Geographic titles -- "Mysteries of Egypt" with Omar Sharif as a grandfather regaling his granddaughter, Kate Maberly, on the life and treasures of ancient Egypt; and "The Noble Horse," an illuminating journey showing how these elegant animals influenced the advancement of civilization. They are listed at $19.98 each (1-800-627-5162).
A&E Home Video has just released a six-volume set of BBC's adaptation of the classic "Vanity Fair," $79.96 (1-800-423-1212).
Columbia TriStar is distributing "Quidam," the newest and most ambitious production of the entertaining Cirque du Soleil. At 90 minutes, it lists for $22.95.
Paramount Home Video is offering "The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones," with all three of the Harrison Ford films ("Temple of Doom," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Last Crusade"). Each sells for $14.95. Also available for the first time is "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones," all 12 installments of the "Young Indiana Jones" series. The set is $44.84; individual episodes are $14.95.