Hoping to capture consumer interest spurred by the approaching Academy Awards ceremony, MGM/UA Home Video will tap its vaults to release a slate of classic Oscar-winning films.

Dubbed the Award-Winning Classics, the releases will include 50 best picture, best actor and best screenplay winners, including the 35th anniversary edition of “Ben-Hur,” which will be released in pan & scan, laserdisc and letterbox configurations.

The digitally remastered vid will also include behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews and a docu on the making of the film narrated by Christopher Plummer.

Also included in the classics slate are three previously unreleased letterbox versions of “Gigi,””West Side Story” and “The Apartment,” plus “Casablanca” and more recent entries such as “Rain Man” and “Thelma & Louise.”

The vids will be sold as sell-through titles, most sporting a $ 14.95 price tag, with “Ben-Hur” being sold at $ 39.95. The firm will back the line with a value-added program, allowing consumers to get either a deck of collectible playing cards or the company’s Lion’s Roar Video Magazine with the purchase of the vidcassettes.

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