Steve Daly
September 13, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Though director Vincente Minnelli’s musicals (The Band Wagon, Gigi) are perennial renters on cassette, his Two Weeks in Another Town, an uneven yet immensely stylish melodrama about a Hollywood film crew shooting in Rome, is being released on video only in this letterboxed disc edition. That’s all the better, since no other format could do this movie such splendid justice. The best sequences, such as a drunken bacchanal climaxed by neurotic star Kirk Douglas nearly killing himself and ex-wife Cyd Charisse in a car wreck, are intricately choreographed for the wide-screen frame; cropped for tape, they’d be incomprehensible. Better still, the disc’s ”chapter-stopped” format lets you quickly find and savor the movie’s big set pieces: It takes the laser player’s instant-replay ”repeat segment” function to catch all the characters’ reactions whenever Edward G. Robinson, as a pathologically manipulative director, waddles into the frame. Forget those arguments about movies always being best when seen in theaters in one sitting; on disc, with its busiest ensemble scenes more thoroughly digestible, Two Weeks becomes a much richer experience. A-

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