Need a quick video of yourself and there’s not a camcorder in sight? Soon you can go to the nearest mall, slip into a 3-foot-by-6-foot booth, pop in $5-10, and make a 10-minute videotape starring you. The 30 Short Take booths recently tested (most in Minneapolis shopping centers and movie theaters) have done so well that entrepreneur Bruce Goldstein is now trying them in maternity wards. Goldstein says most folks use the booths to make video letters. ”On Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t get tapes to the booths fast enough,” he says. There is a downside: A few unfortunate souls have received Dear John videos.
Glasnost on Tape
If you missed the ballyhooed Glasnost Film Festival — 22 new Soviet documentaries — that toured the U.S. last year, the films are available on video from The Video Project, a nonprofit distributor of issue-oriented video. The films are packaged on 12 tapes ($59.95 each or $575 for all). A preview tape with clips from each is free (call 415-655-9050).
When consumer research on The Little Mermaid turned up the highest ”intent-to-purchase” scores of any movie in Disney history, the company’s video execs * started counting clams. Mermaid, unlike Disney’s longtime video holdouts, including Fantasia and Snow White, is set to go straight from theaters to video stores on May 18. Meanwhile, Disney is dusting off its print of Fantasia for a 50th anniversary theatrical release in October, but says there are still no plans to release it on video.
Bernadette, out this week from Cannon Video ($79.95, PG), wasn’t in theaters long, but it did get a rave review from a very important critic — no, not Gene Shalit. After members of the Vatican screened Jean Delannoy’s film, which stars Sydney Penny (Pale Rider) as the girl who has visions of the Virgin Mary, Cannon received a letter from them praising it as ”a very moving story” that worked ”without becoming saccharine.” Variety, however, called it ”plodding” and ”artless.”