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A weekly update of video releases

* FATHER WAS A FULLBACK - The coach's college-football team has been losing game after game, and now his oldest daughter's giving him an extra dose of trouble, sinking into 24-hour blues with boy problems and a writing career that won't get off the ground. Originally released in 1949, this Twentieth Century-Fox comedy is just a feature-length sitcom episode, but it has hilarious dialogue with a surprisingly sophisticated edge. Fred MacMurray is in top form as the coach, and the fine supporting cast includes Rudy Vallee as an alumni official and Thelma Ritter as a wise-cracking maid. Also aboard are Maureen O'Hara, rather dull as the hero's loyal wife, and Natalie Wood as their little girl. Directed by John M. Stahl. (Not Rated; Fox Video)

* THE SEX OF THE STARS - This critically praised drama focuses on a 12-year-old girl who matures into adolescence while coping with confusions generated by her parents, including a mother who's determined to retain control over her increasingly independent daughter. Directed with taste and restraint by Canadian filmmaker Paule Baillargeon. (Not Rated; First Run Features)

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We've all heard about the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s, stalking mostly imaginary communists in the corridors of government and industry. This ambitious satire takes the witch-hunting metaphor literally, setting up a '50s society in which some people practice magic and others, led by self-serving politicians, seek to demonize and persecute them. The impressive cast includes Dennis Hopper as H. Phillip Lovecraft, a private eye who refuses to use spells or sorcery; Julian Sands as his longtime antagonist; Penelope Ann Miller as a movie star on the wane; Sheryl Lee Ralph as a witch who almost gets burned; and Eric Bogosian as a corrupt demagogue. Most of the action is rather silly, although a few scenes are clever, including the '50s-style newsreel that opens the picture. Directed by Paul Schrader from Joseph Dougherty's screenplay. (R; HBO Home Video)

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