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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

October 27, 1985|KEVIN THOMAS

Crime of Innocence (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, is based on an actual incident in which a teen-age girl (Shawnee Smith) is unjustly imprisoned by a fanatical judge (Andy Griffith). Diane Ladd and Ralph Waite play her distraught parents.

Airing opposite it at the same time on ABC is a new TV movie remake of The Defiant Ones in which Robert Urich and Carl Weathers star in the roles of manacled escape convicts created so memorably by Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in the 1958 movie of the same name. (If a seventh game in the World Series is necessary, The Defiant Ones will be preempted.)

Liza Minnelli (seen on the cover) makes her dramatic TV debut as the mother of a boy, played by Corey Haim, stricken with muscular dystrophy in the new TV movie A Time to Live (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.). It's based on Mary-Lou Weisman's book about her experiences with her own afflicted son.

Although director Jim McBride and writer L .M. (Kit) Carson's 1983 remake of Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless" hasn't the ironic detachment of the New Wave classic, their Breathless (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) is stylish and entertaining in a shallow, jazzy way. We follow romantic, totally amoral loser Richard Gere on a tour of seamy Los Angeles in his pursuit of a young French UCLA architecture student (Valerie Kaprisky, gorgeous, but alas, no actress). (Surely, the steamy sex scenes have been toned down for TV.)

Yet another new TV movie based on a true story, Into Thin Air (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) tells of a 19-year-old student (Tate Donovan) who vanishes while driving alone from his home in Ottawa to Boulder, Colo. Ellen Burstyn stars as his mother, Robert Prosky as the private detective she hires and Sam Robards as Donovan's envious brother.

The McKenzie Break (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a competent and untroubling 1970 thriller set in a prisoner of war camp in World War II England. Directed by Lamont Johnson, it stars Brian Keith as a sloppy, hard-drinking reporter with a melodious Irish brogue as would melt every colleen within earshot.

One of the late Robert Aldrich's best movies, the spine-tingling Dirty Dozen (airing on Channel 5 in two parts, Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.) stars Lee Marvin as a maverick U.S. Army major who receives the toughest assignment of his career: train 12 GI convicts--an assortment of murderers, rapists and robbers--to kill a group of German officers resting at a French chateau. If the dirty dozen succeed on their all-but-suicidal mission, they will be pardoned for their crimes. (It is rumored that there really was such a mission.) Aldrich brought his black humor and diamond-hard style to Nunnally Johnson and Lukas Heller's terse script.

Ghouls, goblins and ghosts terrorize a New England town when some teen-agers unwittingly invoke an ancient witch's curse in In the Midnight Hour (ABC Friday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie comedy-thriller slotted to coincide with the week of Halloween. Shari Belafonte-Harper, LeVar Burton, Lee Montgomery, Dick Van Patten, Kevin McCarthy and Jonelle Allen star.

Coming up on the CBS late show at 11:30 p.m. Friday is Michael Ritchie's The Candidate, which remains just about the best movie about politics in the age of jets and TV. Robert Redford stars as an ambitious and idealistic lawyer competing in a California senatorial race.

Badge of the Assassin (CBS Saturday at 9 p.m.), still one more new fact-based TV movie, tells of a coast-to-coast pursuit of the killers of two New York City police officers. James Woods is the assistant D.A. who directed the pursuit, Yaphet Kotto, a police detective brought into the case by Woods.

Although well-regarded, Number Seventeen (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) has got to be one of the least-known Hitchcock movies. It's a 1932 comedy-thriller starring Leon M. Lion as a tramp who stumbles upon a jewel thieves' hide-out.

Selected evening pay TV/cable fare: Gunga Din (Cinemax Sunday at 8); Night Moves (Movie Channel Sunday at 10); Shadow of a Doubt (WOR Sunday at 10); The Haunting (WOR Monday at 6); Heartbreakers (Z Monday at 10:30, Thursday at 9); Trail of the Lonesome Pine (WTBS Tuesday at 7:20); Experience Preferred but Not Essential (ON & SelecTV Tuesday at 9); Z (Z Tuesday at 9); What's Up, Tiger Lily? (Z Wednesday at 9); Cat People (ON & SelecTV Thursday at 7); The Lost Weekend (WTBS Thursday at 9:10); Night of the Living Dead (HBO Thursday at 11 p.m.); The Fury (Cinemax Friday at 8); An American Werewolf in London (Movie Channel Friday at 10); Paris, Texas (Movie Channel Saturday at 9).

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