'Cyrano' takes on new life 'Thorn Birds' succeeds on sheer size

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October 06, 1991|By New York Times News Service

New releases of video cassettes; reviews by New York Times critics:"Cyrano de Bergerac." 1990. Orion. $89.98. 2 hours, 18 minutes. French with English subtitles. No rating.

A touch of cosmetic prosthesis adds just enough to Gerard Depardieu's own generous nose to make it the object of ridicule and swordplay in Edmond Rostand's romantic verse drama.

Smitten by Roxanne (Anne Brochet), Cyrano acts as a go-between for her and his none-too-articulate cohort, Christian (Vincent Perez). Jean-Paul Rappenau's film is a physically elaborate period spectacle, and Mr. Depardieu's performance is a "disciplined whirlwind of conflicting emotions that finds surprising new life in a theatrical antique" (Vincent Canby).

"The Thorn Birds." 1983. Warner. Four cassettes, $199.92. Eight hours, six minutes. Closed captioned. No rating.

Meet the Clearys, four generations of Irish who survive nearly 700 pages of Colleen McCullough's epic novel about life and love in ** Australia from 1915 to 1962.

Events and characterizations in Carmen Culver's adaptation for television, produced by David Wolper and Stan Margulies (co-producers of "Roots"), go considerably beyond the dramatic confines of the typical miniseries.

Nothing if not big, the series' "sheer size and often shameless manipulations work very effectively indeed" (John J. O'Connor).

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