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October 05, 1986|Kevin Thomas

John Landis' Trading Places (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a delicious variation on "The Prince and the Pauper," when for a short, magical time the princely are brought down and the lowly raised to fill their places. Dan Aykroyd is very nearly insufferable as a blueblood WASP merchant prince and Eddie Murphy is a shameless con man, posing as a blind, legless Vietnam vet on wintry Philadelphia streets. Both are hilarious, especially when they end up switching lives. Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche co-star.

Also airing Sunday at 9 p.m. are There Must Be a Pony (ABC) and The Last Frontier (CBS). The first is a new TV movie, adapted from the James Kirkwood novel and starring Elizabeth Taylor as a once-celebrated movie star attempting to resurrect her career and her personal life. Robert Wagner co-stars as a businessman who represents both romance and stability. The second (illustrated on the cover) is a two-part, four-hour Australian production (concluding Tuesday at 9 p.m.) starring Linda Evans as an American woman who marries an Australian rancher (Tony Bonner) but subsequently is caught up in a bitter land feud and a risky love affair. Jack Thompson, Jason Robards and Judy Morris co-star.

Philip Michael Thomas and Lesley Ann Warren star in the new TV movie Colors (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) as a Southern couple whose interracial marriage sets off a custody battle between Warren and her ex-husband over their daughter.

That's Entertainment, that glorious compilation of MGM musicals, reprises on Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m., with That's Entertainment, Part 2 airing Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Also at 8 p.m. Monday (on Channel 13) is the broadly amusing, occasionally merely crass comedy-thriller Foul Play, starring Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Dudley Moore.

Deliverance (Channel 7 Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.) is the first of several old films KABC-TV is airing in prime time this week after major league baseball playoff games. This rich, energetic and ominous parable about manhood, adapted from the James Hickey novel and directed by John Boorman, finds Atlanta businessmen Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox riding frail canoes down the wicked waters of the Chattahoochee in the rugged mountains of Georgia.

Airing at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Channel 13, The Lonely Guy asks us to believe that a man as attractive and personable as Steve Martin would have trouble finding companionship after the breakup of his romance with a trampy ballerina. This feeble, uninspired comedy fails so thuddingly that it merely winds up demonstrating that loneliness is no laughing matter.

In Sydney Pollack's starkly beautiful Jeremiah Johnson (Channel 7 Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.), Robert Redford plays a legendary mountain man driven to discover whether any man can totally slip the tethers of human commitment and define himself in a solitary contest with nature at its grandest and most formidable.

The Mirror Crack'd (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is a witty, diverting Agatha Christie mystery in which Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak are great fun as catty, veteran movie stars alongside Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Angela Lansbury as the shrewd Miss Marple. (Look for Pierce Brosnan in a small role.)

Airing at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 13 is Doctor Detroit, which poses the deliberately silly question: What if a naive college professor were to fall heir to a stable of prostitutes? As a result, Dan Aykroyd can do all his funniest stuff by way of a frequently hilarious answer.

Easy Money (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) asks us to imagine Rodney Dangerfield as a working-class Staten Island photographer of babies who's given a year to shape up if his wife is to inherit her mother's $10-million department store. Despite bumpy pacing and a dribble-away finish, Easy Money is pretty amusing and largely enjoyable.

Airing at 8:30 p.m. Thursday on Channel 7 is a reprise of the 1978 TV movie The Initiation of Sarah, a misfired attempt to offer some serious criticism of the excesses of the college sorority system along with a trite tale of the supernatural reminiscent of "Carrie." Shelley Winters and Kay Lenz star.

Zigzag (Channel 7 Friday at 8:30 p.m.) is a nifty suspense thriller in which a dying man (George Kennedy, never better) plots his own murder so his family can collect the insurance.

Last Train From Gun Hill (Channel 7 Saturday at 8:30 p.m.) is a solid 1959 John Sturges Western starring Kirk Douglas as a steely sheriff determined to bring the young killer of his wife to justice.

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