April 06, 1986

Blue Thunder (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a chilling close-up look at police helicopter Big Brother surveillance, is a technically impressive, relentlessly manipulative film that leaves you both limp and angry. Roy Scheider stars as a maverick Los Angeles helicopter officer still suffering Vietnam trauma, but the reasons for him or anyone else in the film to be a hero or villain are ludicrous. We believe in the aerial dogfights, but the film's basic disregard for human life is its undoing.

Faye Dunaway has the title role in the new TV movie Beverly Hills Madam (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), in which she plays one of the more elegant practitioners of the world's oldest professions, catering to an exclusive clientele but beginning to question her luxurious but precarious existence.

On CBS, also at 9 p.m. Sunday, Marlo Thomas stars in another TV movie, Nobody's Child (illustrated on the cover), which is based on the true story of a Massachusetts woman's battle to overcome a lifetime of mental illness.

In The Annihilator (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie (and series pilot), MarkLindsay Chapman stars as a newspaper editor forced to commit murder and to run for his life when he realizes that a group of deadly humanoid aliens are transforming ordinary humans into ruthless killing machines. (Wow!)

In the new TV movie My Two Loves (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) Mariette Hartley plays a widow and mother whose affair with her late husband's partner (Barry Newman) becomes overshadowed by her growing attachment to a new lesbian friend (Lynn Redgrave).

Airing at 8 p.m. Monday on Channel 5 is Bandolero, a misfired Western which at leastbenefits from good performances by James Stewart, Dean Martin and George Kennedy. (Less effective is leading lady Raquel Welch.)

In A Case of Deadly Force (CBS Wednesday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie based on an actual incident, Richard Crenna plays Boston attorney (and ex-cop) Lawrence O'Donnell Jr., who launched a relentless legal investigation into the shooting death of a hospital worker by police officers. It was adapted from O'Donnell's book, "Deadly Force: The Story of How a Badge Can Become a License to Kill."

Ghost Story (Channel 13 Friday at 8p.m.) is a tame and meandering adaptation of the Peter Straub story of a long-term revenge which plays like one of those tiredold stories told around summer camp fires.As a sinister moon rises over a succession of houses in a picturesque New England town, four distinguished actors--Fred Astaire, the late Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks and John Houseman--twitch, mutter, moan and wake, sweat-drenched from their sleep. We catch on immediately that these central figures share a dark secret. It's only two long flashbacks later that we find it out, and a moderately predictable secret it is by that time. What's mysterious is why the revenge has taken all this time to be wreaked, after all have led rich and fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, the entire film is simply confusing rather than mysterious; in addition to its veteran stars it wastes Craig Wasson, Alice Krige and Patricia Neal.

Inspired by the 1980 siege of the Iranian embassy in London by Khuzistan partisans, The Final Option (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a textbook example of a potent premise botched, lapsing, in this instance, into a disturbing piece of rabble-rousing. Judy Davis heads a radical anti-nuclear organization which takes over theembassy and demands a nuclear missile so that it may be used to blast a nuclear base in Scotland. So muddled and improbably developed is this film that it's all too easy to identify these fanatics with the anti-nuclear movement at large.

Although contrived, The Mind of Mr. Soames (Channel 13 Saturday at 8 p.m.) isa fairly good, offbeat British film with Terence Stamp released by brain surgery from a lifelong coma at the age of 30. Quite effective as an indictment of society's infinite capacity for making monsters of men.

The Day and the Hour (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is a disappointing Rene Clement film starring Simone Signoret as a Frenchwoman liv-ing in Occupied Paris who aids American paratrooper Stuart Whitman.

Los Angeles Times Articles