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July 20, 1986

Anyone house-bound on Sunday has a choice: Frank Tashlin's The Geisha Boy (Channel 13 at 1 p.m.), from what the French might call "La grande epoque de M. Jerry Lewis"; Martin Ritt's message-Western Hombre (Channel 9 at 2 & 6 p.m.), with Paul Newman; and C. B. DeMille's Reap the Wild Wind (Channel 5 at 3 p.m.), with John Wayne battling an octopus.

Sunday evening--just when you thought it was safe to go back into the living room--Steven Spielberg's 1975 watery blockbuster, Jaws (ABC at 8 p.m.) pops up through the salty spray again, homing in on horror. Spielberg, always a master of sheer moviemaking mechanics, here, uses Peter Benchley's nightmare of a super-shark terrorizing a New England beach community, to summon up wave after wave of clean-limbed, sunshiny terror.

Champion (Channel 2 Sunday at 11:45 p.m.), is a boxing movie from more healthily cynical years, with Kirk Douglas as a pugilist-heel.

The Sender (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), a forgotten 1982 shocker, gives us a young man (Zeljko Ivanek) who projects his bad dreams and thoughts into people's minds. (Perhaps he should get into script development.)

Two superior thrillers are available at the same time: William Friedkin's 1971 cop-chase classic The French Connection (Channel 7 Monday at 9 p.m.)--with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as New York City narcs, and a furious below-the-el pursuit no one ever forgets; and 1983's Videodrome (Channel 11 Monday at 9 p.m.) about a sinister S & M cable channel, investigated by James Woods (another of his sleazeball roles). The movie takes director David Cronenberg's specialty--anatomical horror--to a far extreme. It's so grisly it seems impossible to show uncut.

Francis Coppola's Rumble Fish (Channel 11 Tuesday at 9 p.m.)--based on another of S. E. Hinton's Tulsa bad-boy novels--is shot in a weird semi-expressionistic style which recalls "Touch of Evil," "Koyaanisqatsi" and "Decision Before Dawn." It follows the downward plunge of a youth gang past its prime, sliding into chaos--with Mickey Rourke as the doomridden James Dean-ish hero, and Matt Dillon, Nicolas Cage and Vincent Spano among his warring followers. A lot of people think this film is bonkers. A few of us--including French actor Gerard Depardieu--think it's great.

There's also a fair Western, Duel at Diablo (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), and more spicy DeMille historical nonsense, Unconquered (Channel 5 Tuesday at 2 a.m.).

Another Western, The Way West (Channel 13 Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.), is barely even fair--despite Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Richard Widmark, Sally Field, and a script based on A. B. Guthrie's sequel to "The Big Sky."

Without 3-D, there's probably no reason at all to catch Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (Channel 11 Wednesday at 9 p.m.). But night owls can see Curtis Harrington's eerie mermaid love poem, Night Tide (Channel 11 Wednesday at 2 a.m.), or William Wyler's fine Henry James adaptation of The Heiress (Channel 5 Wednesday at 3 a.m.), with Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift.

The film from the recent Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's stage classic, Death of a Salesman (CBS Thursday at 8 p.m.) gives Dustin Hoffman one of the choicest American dramatic roles--Miller's despondent Willy Loman; a stellar supporting cast (John Malkovich, Kate Reid and Charles Durning); and West Germany's Volker Schlondorff ("The Tin Drum") as director.

There's also, finally, an excellent Western on Thursday--Robert Aldrich's 1972 Ulzana's Raid (Channel 13 at 8 p.m., repeated Saturday at 11:30 p.m.), with Burt Lancaster; it suggests a darker variation of John Ford's "The Searchers."

Paul Newman again triumphs over a "failure to communicate" in Stuart Rosenberg's tough chain gang movie, Cool Hand Luke (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.).

1984's "Rebel Without a Cause" copy Reckless (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) has a tighter-than-usual Chris Columbus script, moodily colorful direction by James Foley, and good acting by Aidan Quinn, Daryl Hannah and Kenneth McMillan.

The Scalphunters (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) is a decent Western--with odd couple Burt Lancaster and Ossie Davis and director Sydney Pollack in a low-pressure, engaging key.

Cheech & Chong's Next Movie (Channel 11 Friday at 9 p.m.) is no "Up in Smoke"; here, the pot seems to have smoked up the plot.

On Saturday, John Ford's Mogambo (Channel 13 at 1 p.m.), brightens up the afternoon. It's the old master's gusty remake of "Red Dust," with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. Later, there's a warm, funny heist comedy--starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg--from director Martin ("Beverly Hills Cop") Brest, Going in Style (Channel 13 at 3 p.m.). And, in the evening, one of the great Anthony Mann-James Stewart Westerns, The Man from Laramie (Channel 9 at 8 p.m.), co-starring, superbly, Arthur Kennedy. Finally, there is director Michael Roemer's moving portrait of black American life, Nothing But a Man (Channel 50 at 11 p.m.), with Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln.

Selected evening cable fare: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (HBO Sunday at 6, Friday at 11:30; SelecTV Tuesday at 8; Showtime Tuesday at 10; Z Friday at 9); Beverly Hills Cop (Z Sunday at 7, Wednesday at 9; Showtime Saturday at 8); Kagemusha (Bravo Monday at 8:30); 1900 (Z Monday and Tuesday at 9); Streamers (SelecTV Monday at 10, Bravo Thursday at 11:30); The Asphalt Jungle (Movie Channel Monday at 11); Kamilla (Bravo Tuesday at 9); Wise Blood (Z Wednesday at 7, Movie Channel Friday at 11); Sugar Cane Alley (Bravo Wednesday at 9); The Birth of a Nation (Bravo Thursday at 8); Alexander Nevsky (AE Thursday at 9); A Clockwork Orange (Bravo Friday at 8).

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