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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

February 08, 1987|KEVIN THOMAS

Romancing the Stone (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) borrows from everything, from "It Happened One Night" to "The African Queen" and "King Solomon's Mines" to "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but does it so shrewdly that the borrowing becomes part of the fun. Kathleen Turner stars as a mousy romance novelist who plunges into wilder adventures than any she's ever thought up for her bosom-heaving heroines. Michael Douglas is her virile, dashing soldier of fortune.

The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, based on Dominick Dunne's roman a clef about a major society scandal of some years back, airs on NBC Sunday and Monday at 9 p.m. In the title roles are Ann-Margret (on the cover) and Claudette Colbert; Colbert already disapproves of Ann-Margret, her ex-showgirl daughter-in-law, when tragedy strikes.

"The Disney Sunday Movie" (ABC at 7 p.m.) is The Liberators, which stars Robert Carradine and Larry B. Scott as friends in the antebellum South who lead slaves to freedom.

Joyce Chopra's shiveringly memorable Smooth Talk (Channel 28 Monday at 9 p.m. and again Saturday at 11 p.m.), based on a Joyce Carol Oates short story, may be the first film to get adolescence in America right, down to the last, delicate seismographic tremor. Laura Dern is luminous as a 15-year-old in the throes of discovering her impact on boys--and them on her--as she clashes with her family. Then into her utterly normal life comes Treat Williams, never better as a man who still hangs out with high school kids, a smooth talker who's maybe a little dangerous, maybe more than that. . . .

The Last Fling (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, stars Connie Sellecca as a bride-to-be who invites John Ritter, whom she hardly knows, for a final fling in Mexico.

The suspense drama Stillwatch (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, stars Lynda Carter as a TV news reporter who encounters danger when she's assigned to produce a profile on a senator (Angie Dickinson).

A suspenseful, slam-bang diversion directed with bravura by Sam Peckinpah, The Getaway (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) effectively teams Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw; model prisoner McQueen can't get a parole unless he knocks over a bank for crooked politician Ben Johnson. Nonstop adventure follows.

The 1982 film Love Child played more like a TV movie, and now it airs Wednesday on Channel 13 at 8 p.m. Amy Madigan made her theatrical film debut as Terry Jean Moore, the young Florida woman whose aimless hitchhiking with her gun-toting cousin landed her a 15-year term in prison where she became pregnant by a guard (well-played by Beau Bridges as a weak good 'ol boy) she refused to identify as adamantly as she refused to give up her unborn child.

If you don't take The Howling (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) too seriously, it can be lots of fun--although be warned: It does push to the limit the redeeming effects of humor upon sheer grisliness. L.A. newscaster Dee Wallace, who's had a bad brush with a psychopathic killer, heads for exactly the wrong place for rest and recuperation.

Elizabeth Montgomery stars in The Legend of Lizzie Borden (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.), an impressive 1975 TV movie directed by Paul Wendkos and written by William Bast. The film is a shrewd blend of fact and speculation as to whether Lizzie really did give her mother and father 40 whacks each with an ax back in 1892 in Fall River, Mass.

George Lucas' Star Wars, one of the most razzle-dazzling and influential films ever made, airs once again, on CBS Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The exuberant, technically astonishing space adventure utilizes the galactic tomorrows of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers as the setting for events that carry the familiar ring of yesterday's Westerns. Mark Hamill is the innocent, likable hero, Carrie Fisher, the feisty princess, Harrison Ford the cocky operator of a space freighter and Alec Guinness is an old comrade-in-arms of Hamill's father.

Selected evening cable fare: The Best of Times (Z Sunday at 7, Z Wednesday at 9, Showtime Friday at 9); Atlantic City (Z Sunday at 9); Wetherly (Movie Channel Monday at 7); Olivier's Hamlet (Movie Channel Monday at 9); House (HBO Tuesday at 8); The Purple Rose of Cairo (Z Tuesday at 9, SelecTV Saturday at 8); City Lights (Z Wednesday at 7); Renoir's The River (Bravo Wednesday at 8:30); Shoot the Piano Player (Bravo Thursday at 9); Cukor's The Corn Is Green (Movie Channel Friday at 7); Tender Mercies (Z Friday at 7:30); The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (WOR Saturday at 6, WGN at 8:30); Bad Timing (Bravo Saturday at 9); The Hitcher (Z Saturday at 9).

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