Picks and Pans Review: The Nightingale

updated 06/20/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Make it a double feature. This elegant 30-minute Hans Christian Andersen fable has a reserved charm too. It's about an old Chinese emperor who learns that the nightingale will sing only when she is free. Like most Andersen tales, this one is full of psychological-political asides; the emperor's adviser is crass enough to be a campaign consultant in another time and place. Christopher Plummer's narration is euphonious, and the artwork is vivid. (The tape is a joint Canadian-Chinese project.) The emperor gets stuck with some anachronistic lines: "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Then again, Twain, never a stickler for convention, probably wouldn't have minded being quoted in this admirable context. (Hi-Tops, $14.95)

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