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January 12, 1986|KEVIN THOMAS

Channel 11 on Sunday is presenting "A Tribute to Rock Hudson," including four of his movies, as a benefit for AIDS research. The first three are among his best, Battle Hymn (10 a.m.), Written on the Wind (noon) and Magnificent Obsession (2 p.m.); the last is among his final films, the notable made-for-TV doomsday thriller, World War III (Part I airs at 4 p.m., Part II at 9 p.m.).

Diamonds Are Forever (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) is one of the best of Sean Connery's James Bond films, featuring a more human 007 than usual. The key setting is Las Vegas.

Valerie Bertinelli stars in the new TV movie Rockabye (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), an action thriller about a mother's search for her kidnaped child.

Fatal Vision, a suspenseful and terrifying TV film of Joe McGinniss' best-selling book about a Green Beret doctor convicted of killing his pregnant wife and their two children, repeats Sunday at 9 p.m. on NBC and will be completed Monday at 9 p.m. Gary Cole stars as Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald; Karl Malden and Eva Marie Saint are his in-laws.

The Right of the People (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a new TV movie about what happens in an American city after a local law is passed allowing its citizens to carry guns in self-defense. Michael Ontkean, Jane Kaczmarek and Billy Dee Williams star.

Also airing Monday is a repeat of Murder in Texas (Channel 11 at 9 p.m., to be completed at the same time Tuesday), a seamy, entertaining drama about a rich Houston plastic surgeon accused of murdering his wife. (This actual incident was the subject of the late Thomas Thompson's riveting "Blood and Money," but this 1981 TV movie was instead based on a book by the surgeon's second wife.) Sam Elliott and Farrah Fawcett star; Andy Griffith won an Emmy nomination as Elliott's vengeful father-in-law.

From Noon Till Three (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a fine, genuinely offbeat Western written and directed by Frank D. Gilroy ("The Subject Was Roses") that explores the myth of the Old West, progressing from humor to poignancy in the process. It may well be the best movie Charles Bronson ever made.

Strange Invaders, an artful tongue-in-cheek satire of both the grand science-fiction features of the '50s and today's great successes in the other-worldly genre, airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Channel 13. The time is 1958, the place Centerville, U.S.A. Paul LeMat and Nancy Allen star. (Note: One of the genuine articles, 1954's Them! airs Thursday on Channel 13 at 8 p.m.)

Airing Wednesday on Channel 13 at 8 p.m. is Robert Wise's harrowing and terrifically engrossing film of Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain, in which scientists desperately attempt to isolate a deadly strain of virus. A superbly designed film, it has stupendous special effects by Douglas Trumbull and a performance by Kate Reid as a crusty veteran researcher that all but steals the show.

Neil Simon's Murder by Death (Channel 11 Wednesday at 9 p.m.) is an enjoyable, all-star spoof of the great detectives of fiction, who are invited by Truman Capote to his suitably grand and gloomy mansion.

Richard Compton's Return to Macon County (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) is not so much a sequel to the very successful "Macon County Line" but rather a re-working of the same story of nice people trying to escape a vengeful Southern sheriff. Made in 1975, it now has the added interest of having Nick Nolte and Don Johnson as its stars.

Although contrived, The Mind of Mr. Soames (Channel 13 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a fairly good, offbeat British science-fiction film starring Terence Stamp as a man "born" at age 30 after having been released by brain surgery from a lifelong coma. In its way, it's a quite effective indictment of society's infinite capacity for making monsters of men.

The endearing musical Bells Are Ringing, in which Judy Holliday played a dreamy answering service operator, airs Saturday at 10 p.m. on Channel 28.

Selected evening cable fare: Starman (HBO at 8 Sunday and Wednesday at 9, SelecTV Wednesday at 7); This Is Spinal Tap (SelecTV Sunday at 8:30); The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Z Monday at 7); Crossover Dreams (Z Monday at 9); Micki & Maude (HBO Tuesday at 9); The Brother From Another Planet (SelecTV Wednesday at 9); The Cotton Club (Showtime Thursday at 8); Citizen Kane (Z Thursday at 9); Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (SelecTV Friday at 9); Honeysuckle Rose (Cinemax Saturday at 6, Movie Channel at 9); A Passage to India (Z Saturday at 8).

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