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June 22, 1986

Neil Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) boasts two of Simon's most believable characters, a Hollywood screenwriter on the skids and his sensible, divorcee girl friend, and they are beautifully played by Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. Unfortunately, the film's focal point is not their relationship but the one between Matthau and his confused, brash and tiresome 19-year-old daughter (Dinah Manoff) whom he hasn't seen since she was three.

Also airing Sunday at 9 p.m. are The Final Countdown (on ABC), which cleverly asks us to imagine that a contemporary aircraft carrier, skippered by Kirk Douglas, zips back across 40 years of time to intercept the Japanese air fleet en route to Pearl Harbor, and The Vegas Strip Wars (on NBC), a sturdy 1984 TV movie about casino operator Rock Hudson's struggle for success.

Airing on ABC's "Disney Summer Classics" Sunday at 7 p.m. is Candleshoe, a comedy starring Jodie Foster as an orphan who is used in a scheme to obtain some valuable coins.

Written by columnist Pete Hamill and directed by Richard Sarafian, Liberty (NBC Monday at 8 p.m.) is a new three-hour TV movie dramatizing how the Statue of Liberty came to be erected in New York Harbor 100 years ago.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) is an appealing, bittersweet backwoods saga laced with plenty of country and western music. Dennis Quaid plays an aspiring, hard-living singer-composer kept from completely going off the rails by his feisty 16-year-old sister-manager (Kristy McNichol).

In 1980 Frank Sinatra ended a near-decade absence from the screen with The First Deadly Sin (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), in which he played, with a fresh charge of passion and commitment, a New York homicide detective with an adored, dying wife (Faye Dunaway) and on the verge of retirement when a maniac goes on a lethal rampage. This is solid, absorbing fare--until its disturbing take-the-law-into-your-own-hands finish.

Robert Epstein and Richard Schmeichen's The Times of Harvey Milk (Channel 28 Tuesday at 9 p.m.) is a powerful, comprehensive yet incisive study of the political career and assassination of one of the nation's first openly gay elected officials.

There's something irresistible about another reteaming of Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, and a good thing that is, for Reunion at Fairborough (Channel 5 at 8 p.m. Wednesday and again on Saturday) is not as sharply focused as it might be. The story has Mitchum returning with a group of World War II flyers to an air base in England and rekindling a love affair with Kerr after a 40-year absence.

The Revengers (Channel 11 Wednesday at 9 p.m.) is a big-scale, solid, traditional-style Western starring William Holden as a God-fearing Civil War hero turned Colorado rancher whose entire family is slaughtered in his absence. This 1972 film is unpredictable and develops two major, interlinked themes: the futility of revenge and the obligations of friendship.

Richard Lester's wonderfully romantic yet ironic Robin and Marian (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) finds Sean Connery's middle-aged Robin Hood reunited with Audrey Hepburn's exquisite Maid Marian after a 20-year absence.

Continental Divide (CBS Friday at 9 p.m.) is an ambitious but strained attempt to cast John Belushi in a Tracy-Hepburn situation (with Blair Brown). He's a Mike Royko-like Chicago columnist, she's an ornithologist living in the Rockies, and they're in love but determined to stick to their turf; unfortunately, no one came up with a satisfactory resolution to their dilemma.

Women of South Africa (Channel 28 Friday at 9 p.m.) contains the excellent Maids and Madams, a telling study of upper middle-class white women and their black servants. Channel 50 airs the same program Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., preceded at 7:30 by a fine, sobering film on Nelson and Winnie Mandela.

My Wicked, Wicked Ways (CBS Saturday at 8 p.m.), starring Duncan Regehr, is a misfired attempt to make a TV movie from Errol Flynn's autobiography, and Baby Sister (ABC Saturday at 9 p.m.), another disappointing TV movie in rerun, stars Phoebe Cates as a college dropout in pursuit of her older sister's boyfriend.

Some evening cable fare: To Begin Again (Bravo Sunday at 8); Mississippi Blues (Z Monday at 7); The Return of Martin Guerre (Movie Channel Tuesday at 7); Skin Deep (Lifetime Wednesday at 8); The Aviator's Wife (Z Thursday at 7); The Comic (WTBS Thursday at 9:10); Cocktail Molotov (Bravo Friday at 8:30); 1984 (Movie Channel Saturday at 9).

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