RECORDED DELIVERY

A critical guide to the week's videos
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Franco Zeffirelli's stolid screen adaptation of Jane Eyre (PG) Fox Guild, 24 Feb hits the shelves this week, the first in a rash of costume dramas scheduled to while away rainy spring nights with yards of dodgy sideburns, lacy frocks and antique dialogue. Retail releases over the coming weeks include Rebecca (12) 3 Mar, Carlton Video, pounds 19.99, with Diana Rigg; Emma (PG) 3 Mar, Buena Vista, pounds 16.99, with Gwyneth Paltrow; and Kay "Band of Gold" Mellor's TV Jane Eyre (PG) 10 Mar, Warner Vision, pounds 13.99.

Zeffirelli's production is an unusually austere version of Charlotte Bronte's novel, keen to strip away costume fripperies and sentiment, and concentrate on the text. To this end, Zeffirelli damps down his stars - William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg (above) - to the point of obscurity, which makes for classy, if chilly melodrama.

Kay Mellor's small-screen translation of the novel for Warner, meanwhile, is much happier to tread a familiar Gothic path. The result is an enjoyable mix of high production values, populist punch and sombre romance, supplied by Ciaran Hind's Rochester, who, after Ivanhoe and Persuasion, goes once more into the breeches, proving himself more than a match for Colin Firth. Of the rest of the crop, Emma is a starry chocolate-box, but a work of some weight when viewed against Carlton's expensive Rebecca, which squandered a "quality" cast (including Charles Dance and Diana Rigg) on a dirge of a drama, memorable largely for Faye Dunaway's fine lingerie.

Away from this bookish batch, there's a particularly rich selection of black comedy on offer this week from The Last Supper (15) 26 Feb, 20:20 Vision, Stacy Title's patchy skit on liberal PC, to Les Apprentis (15) 26 Feb, Tartan, a kind of Gallic Withnail and I, starring Guillaume Depardieu and Francois Cluzet as a pair of droll slackers who find themselves at sea when they're forced to cope with the hostile reality which exists beyond their flat. Even this quizzical effort, from Wild Target director Pierre Salvadori, can't rival the unhinged imagination of Dario Argento, however, who offers his unique blend of stylish, visceral horror and plotless atmosphere in the intriguing The Stendhal Syndrome (18) 24 Feb, Fox Guild.

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