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November 24, 1985|KEVIN THOMAS

George Lucas' new TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (ABC Sunday at 8 p.m.) brings back the mischievous furry creatures in another adventure in which a young girl (Aubree Miller), her Ewok friend (Warwick Davis) and an old hermit (Wilford Brimley) embark on a dangerous mission to rescue an Ewok family held captive by a fearsome king.

Also airing at 8 p.m. is NBC's first installment of its three-part miniseries Mussolini: The Untold Story starring George C. Scott as Il Duce, and on HBO, Fortress, an action-suspense drama set in rural Australia in which Rachel Ward plays a teacher who is kidnaped along with her nine pupils.

Airing Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS is the first installment of the two-part TV movie Doubletake, a crime thriller in which NYPD Detective Richard Crenna attempts to solve a bizarre double murder. It concludes Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Easy Money (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) asks us to imagine Rodney Dangerfield as a working-class Staten Island photographer of babies who's given a year to shape up if his wife is to inherit her mother's $10-million department store. The lovable slob has all our sympathy, but this most amiable of comedies might have been funnier had its makers spelled out Dangerfield's predicament somewhat earlier than 43 minutes into what is only a 95-minute movie.

A much-discussed British documentary, The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, which probes the circumstances of the actress' apparent 1962 suicide, airs on Channel 11 Tuesday and Saturday at 9 p.m.

That Christmas holiday perennial, Miracle on 34th Street, is back as usual, airing Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Channel 13. Also airing Wednesday (on CBS at 9 p.m.) is Airplane II: The Sequel, which isn't as funny as the first because it's too much a rehash of the first, which did a fairly funny job of sending up the "Airport" series of disaster movies. The sequel concerns the first lunar shuttle to fly out of a commercial air terminal. Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty and Peter Graves again star.

The Rookies, an absorbing, well-wrought 1972 TV movie that launched the successful series of the same name, airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Channel 9. Among the police recruits: Georg Stanford Brown, Sam Melville and Michael Ontkean. The film focuses on Robert F. Lyons, cast as a rookie who finds himself blackmailed barely out of the police academy.

High Road to China (CBS Thursday at 8 p.m.) has a beautiful, resourceful actress (Bess Armstrong); it has some terrific action, spectacular scenery, thrilling flying sequences and a fine group of character actors. But most important it has Tom Selleck in his first big screen role as a World War I flying ace caught up in an adventure-filled 1920 race against the clock from Istanbul to Afghanistan in a pair of fragile biplanes, over the Himalayas to Nepal and finally to China. If it lacks the style of a "Raiders of the Lost Ark," it's still lots of fun, and Selleck emerges successfully as a combination of Sean Connery (for humor and a little something held in reserve) and Clark Gable (for sheer masculine presence).

Some Kind of Hero (CBS Saturday at 9 p.m.) gives Richard Pryor a long-deserved solid starring role as a returning Viet vet, one of the longest-held POWs, who must deal with the overwhelming repercussions of his signing a Viet Cong "confession" in order to obtain care for his desperately ill buddy (Ray Sharkey). Amid the comic aspects of the massive absurdities that threaten to engulf him, there's serious comment on the plight of all returning Viet vets but Some Kind of Hero unfortunately is a highly uneven and underdeveloped movie that falls apart at the finish. Still, if you watch the 1982 film for Pryor alone you won't be shortchanged; he is by turns tender, hilarious, thoughtful, sexy, scared and deadly efficient.

Enigma (Channel 9 Saturday at 10 p.m.) might be more aptly titled "Confusion," for it's one of those gratuitously complicated yet routine spy pictures usually derived from paperbacks read on planes. Martin Sheen stars as an American-born East German defector recruited to return over the wall on a secret mission. It's ho-hum all the way.

Selected cable evening fare: Sparkle (ON & SelecTV Sunday at 9); Second Sight: A Love Story (WTBS Monday at 7); The Circus (Disney Tuesday at 9:10); Love on the Run (Lifetime Thursday at 8); The Fury (Cinemax Saturday at 10); Les Grandes Manoeuvres (A&E Saturday at 10:50).

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