Art

Citizen Kane (1941) When a Hearst-like newspaper tycoon (Orson Welles) dies, a reporter (William Alland) interviews the man's former associates (Joseph Cotton and Everett Sloane among them) and wives (Ruth Warrick and Dorothy Comingore) in an effort to pin down the essence of the contradictory, larger-than-life millionaire by discovering the meaning of his dying word, "Rosebud." Also co-written (with Herman J. Mankiewicz), produced and directed by Welles, the movie is a landmark in American cinema, notable both for its superb use of film technique and its intriguing story of a man who came from nothing, acquired fame and fortune but died without the love he sought. Marital infidelity. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Turner, 50th Anniversary Edition includes a 30-minute documentary on the movie, $19.98)

8 1/2 (1963) With both career and marriage in chaos, an Italian movie director (Marcello Mastroianni) protects his overgrown ego by retreating into surreal memories of the past and wild fantasies about the present. Director Federico Fellini has some self-indulgent fun with his profession, semibiographical events from his youth and themes from his movies while taking viewers on a journey through the rich, at times bizarre, imagination of an artist whose attempts to cope with the demands of the real world are resolved in a final flood of optimism as the director joins with all his characters in a human carousel of life. Subtitles. Ambiguous treatment of mature themes. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Vestron, $69.95)

Fantasia (1940) Walt Disney's only excursion into the world of the fine arts presents eight selections of classical music, including Dukas' "Sorcerer's Apprentice" with Mickey Mouse and a bucket brigade of brooms, Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" with its massive, earthbound images and the macabre vision of Musorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain." Using different approaches and animation styles for each piece of music as performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under conductor Leopold Stokowski, the imaginative work was not only Disney's most ambitious undertaking but it remains an enjoyably creative introduction to fine music, especially for youngsters. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. (Disney, $24.99)

Grand Illusion (1937) Shot down during World War I, a French aristocrat (Pierre Fresnay) is treated as a brother officer by the German aristocrat (Erich von Stroheim) commanding the prisoner-of-war camp, then makes use of his special status to distract attention while two fellow prisoners (Jean Gabin and Dalio) make good their escape to Switzerland. Directed by Jean Renoir, the picture of life in the camp is rich in narrative incident and human detail, neatly supporting a theme dealing with the end of the aristocratic ideal of chivalry and its replacement by mass armies of commoners with no desire for war. Subtitles. Some ribald humor and tense situations. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Home Vision, $29.95)

La Strada (1956) Two-bit circus strongman (Anthony Quinn) adds a simple-minded peasant (Giulietta Masina) to his act, treating her badly until a tragic encounter with a bantering acrobat (Richard Basehart) who tries to help her. Italian director Federico Fellini's somber picture of lost souls on the backroads of life has its emotional center in Masina's Chaplinesque performance as the poor waif struggling to keep her spirit from being crushed by the brute she serves. Subtitles. Some stylized violence and brutalizing conditions of life. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Sultan, $29.98)

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) British comedy classic in which a timid bank employee (Alec Guinness) concocts a scheme to hijack a shipment of gold bullion with the aid of professional crooks (Sidney James and Alfie Bass), then melt it down in the foundry of an accomodating sculptor (Stanley Holloway) and recast it as Eifel Tower souvenirs for export to Paris. Scripted by T.E.B. Clarke and directed by Charles Crichton, the tongue-in-cheek depiction of a perfect crime has one hilarious flaw after another, culminating in a wild police chase through London and a neat twist ending in South America. Comic crime caper and mild menace. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (HBO, $19.98)

The Leopard (1963) Historical drama set against the background of Garibaldi's 1860 invasion of Sicily where the prince (Burt Lancaster) of an old aristocratic family refuses to adapt to revolutionary times despite the marriage of his more egalitarian nephew (Alain Delon) to the daughter of a wealthy ex-peasant. Directed by Luchino Visconti from the novel by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, the result captures a fascinating period of social, political and economic change in a family saga filled with nostalgia for a past, more elegant age. Subtitles. Mature themes. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Not available on video)

Little Women (1933) Lovingly sentimental but firmly crafted adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's story of four New England girls cared for by their mother while their father is soldiering in the Civil War. Director George Cukor depicts the joys and woes of the loving March family household with warmth and sincerity, but most memorable is the ensemble performance of a remarkable cast headed by Katharine Hepburn as serious-minded Jo, Joan Bennett as vain Amy, Frances Dee as prosaic Meg, Jean Parker as waifish Beth and Spring Byington as the girls' beloved Marmee. Prime family fare. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (MGM/UA, $14.98)

Metropolis (1926) Silent classic of a future society ruled by an aristocracy living in luxury above ground while the workers suffer miserably underground, comforted only by the religious faith of a young woman (Brigitte Helm) in whose likeness a sinister scientist (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) fashions a robot inciting the workers to rebel but all ends in reconciliation. Directed by Fritz Lang, the story's melodramatic turns and woolly finale may be dated but not its vivid pictorial sense, grandly expressionistic decor and theme of social justice. Bleak picture of exploited workers, stylized violence and some sexual innuendo. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Nostalgia, $16.95)

Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin's insightful fable of man versus machine centers in the artificiality of industrialized society and the anxieties caused by the Depression as Charlie dances his way through the hazards of an assembly line job. A model of silent comedic technique and refined slapstick humor, the movie marks the last appearance of the Little Tramp character as Charlie takes his final walk down the long empty road, this time in the company of Paulette Goddard who adds an element of freshness to the plot's old-fashioned romance. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. (CBS/Fox, $19.98).

Napoleon (1927) Epic silent chronicle of Napoleon Bonaparte (Albert Dieudonne) from his student days at a military academy through his rise as an officer during the Revolution and Reign of Terror until ending in 1796 when the Directory puts him in command of the army invading Italy. Directed by Abel Gance, the episodic narrative is heavily melodramatic, yet the sheer exhuberance of the actors and the monumental staging of the action carry viewers along in richly visual experience made memorable by Gance's innovative use of portable cameras and triple screens. This reconstructed print runs 235 minutes, with music composed by Carmine Coppola. Stylized violence and brief sexual innuendo. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (MCA/Universal, $29.95)

Nosferatu (1922) Silent horror classic loosely based on Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula," centers on the vampire count (Max Schreck) who leaves his sinister castle in the Carpathian mountains to sail on a doomed ship bringing him to 1838 Bremen where his dark deeds are undone by a brave young woman and the first light of dawn. Directed by F.W. Murnau, the German production is most notable for its eerie portrayal of the vampire in images which seem to personify evil and dread in a movie even more remarkable for having been filmed mostly on location rather than in the controlled confines of a studio. Stylized violence and menace. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Nostalgia, $19.95)

Stagecoach (1939) In this Western classic, a cowboy (John Wayne) wanted by the law on trumped-up charges joins an odd assortment of passengers (Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, Donald Meek, John Carradine and others) on the stage to Lordsburg in the midst of an Apache uprising. Directed by John Ford, the characters are a microcosm of frontier types, each of whom has a different reason for the journey whose dangers are played out against the majestic vistas of Monument Valley, with a brilliantly staged Indian attack and a final showdown on the streets of Lordsburg that brings the story to a rousing finish. Stylized violence. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. (Warner, $19.98)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Director Stanley Kubrick's epic work, co-written with Arthur C. Clarke, is both science fiction and metaphysical poetry using an unconventional mixture of visuals and music to bridge humanity's reconstructed past, identifiable present and projected future, all tied together by the recurring image of a monolith as symbol of a superhuman existence. The central narrative follows the struggle of two astronauts (Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood) to wrest control of their spacecraft from HAL, a talking computer (voice of Douglas Rain), on a half-billion-mile trip to Jupiter and the unknown. For young people and imaginative adults but too long, deep and intense for children. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. (MGM/UA, $19.98)

The Wizard of Oz (1939) Dorothy rides her cyclone to the magic land over the rainbow in director Victor Fleming's classic that skyrocketed Judy Garland's career and has given generations of families prime entertainment again and again. The 50th anniversary edition has 17 minutes of material not included in the original release. The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. (MGM/UA, $24.98)

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