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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

January 19, 1986|KEVIN THOMAS

All three networks offer new TV movies Sunday at 9 p.m. The most intriguing of the three looks to be NBC's Mafia Princess, based on Antoinette Giancana's best seller about her life with her father, the late Chicago Mafia czar Salvatore (Sam) Giancana. Susan Lucci plays Antoinette, Tony Curtis is Giancana. ABC's Club Med stars Jack Scalia, Linda Hamilton and Patrick Macnee and is described as a behind-the-scenes story of both guests and employees at one of the clubs in the international chain of vacation resorts. In the CBS romantic drama Passion Flower, Bruce Boxleitner and Barbara Hershey are an American banking executive in Singapore and an heiress to one of the Far East's largest fortunes.

Airing on cable's Home Box Office at 8 p.m. is Murrow, an already controversial film biography of Edward R. Murrow starring Daniel J. Travanti as the famed news correspondent.

Another new TV movie, The Prince of Bel Air (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.), stars Mark Harmon as a womanizing pool maintenance man who starts questioning his life style when he falls for beautiful, self-assured artist Kirstie Alley.

Also airing Monday are the fine Western Cowboy (Channel 13 at 8 p.m.) starring Jack Lemmon and Glenn Ford, and the immensely popular Love Story (Channel 11 at 9 p.m.).

Alan Rudolph's Endangered Species (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a taut political thriller centering on the mysterious decimation of cattle near a small Colorado town. Its chilling premise (which won't be revealed here) is persuasive even if the film as a whole is less so. JoBeth Williams is terrific as the community's newly elected sheriff, but she's rather jarringly teamed with Robert Urich as a burned-out cop from New York.

Airing at 9 p.m. on Channel 11 is Some Like It Hot, which remains just about the funniest comedy since the advent of sound.

The 1982 remake of I, the Jury (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) has everything going for it until it is done in by gratuitous violence. It has dynamic direction by Richard T. Heffron, a deftly updated story by Larry Cohen, a moody jazz score by Bill Conti and an appropriately gritty look, thanks to cinematographer Andrew Laszlo. Best of all is a terrific performance by Armand Assante as Mickey Spillane's toughest of tough guys, Mike Hammer. Except for the beginning, which has Hammer determined to avenge the death of an old friend, and Spillane's famous tag line, Cohen has kept nothing of the original story. It matters little one way or another because early on the film is torpedoed by the film makers' relentless determination to leave virtually nothing to the imagination in the depiction of extreme violence.

In A Gunfight (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) Kirk Douglas and Johnny Cash are a pair of top guns yearning for peace but trapped by their own legends. In the skillful telling of their story, they're forced to recognize they really love their mythic roles--and we're, in turn, forced to recognize the barbaric side of human nature by the time this notable Western is over.

Airing at 9 p.m. on Channel 11 is one of the most beloved Westerns of all, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

There's so much youthful talent and energy in Grease 2 (ABC Thursday at 8 p.m.) that it's depressing to discover that the film is so unblushing and relentless a paean to ignorance. When the Class of '61 at good old Rydell High dons caps and gowns, you realize they haven't learned a thing beyond a glimmer in matters of the heart and the importance of self-respect and that's it. But then there's not a whole lot of point to Grease 2 except to try to cash in on the success of its predecessor, "Grease." Stars Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer, in ill-defined roles, are overshadowed by second leads Adrian Zmed and Lorna Luft.

In the nifty heist caper The Hot Rock (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) Robert Redford and George Segal display insouciant charm as a pair of accident-prone heisters eager to snatch an egg-side diamond on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Among those along for the fun are Zero Mostel and Ron Leibman.

Selected evening cable fare: Moscow on the Hudson (Movie Channel Sunday at 8); Sounder (Movie Channel Monday at 8); The Learning Tree (Movie Channel Monday at 10); Maria's Lovers (SelecTV Tuesday at 9, Movie Channel Thursday at 8); A Passage to India (Z Wednesday at 8); Testament (Showtime Thursday at 8); Once Upon a Time in America (Z Thursday at 8); The Long Good Friday (Z Friday at 7); Starman (HBO Saturday at 10:30).

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