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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

January 24, 1988|Kevin Thomas

Earth-Star Voyager, an adventure about six young people who unexpectedly take command of an interstellar spaceship and proceed with a life-and-death mission, concludes on the "Disney Sunday Movie" (ABC Sunday at 7 p.m.).

Blake Edwards' 10 (Channel 13 Sunday at 8 p.m.) is a contemporary classic, starring Dudley Moore as a noted popular composer who, in the clutch of middle-age crisis, pursues a beautiful young bride (Bo Derek) all the way to Mexico, where she is honeymooning. It's a superbly constructed 1979 comedy that makes shrewd observations of the American obsession with sex and youth, Southern California-style.

The Murder of Mary Phagan (NBC Sunday at 8:30 p.m., concluding Tuesday at 9 p.m.) a new movie based on an actual incident, stars Jack Lemmon as Georgia governor John M. Slaton, who created a furor in 1913 when he commuted the death sentence of a Jewish businessman (played by Peter Gallagher) convicted on questionable evidence of the murder of a 13-year-old.

Body of Evidence (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, is a suspense thriller starring Margot Kidder as the wife of a criminal pathologist (Barry Bostwick) who begins to suspect he is a serial killer.

A Father's Revenge (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), yet another new TV movie, stars Brian Dennehy and Joanna Cassidy as an American couple who go to West Berlin after their daughter is kidnaped by terrorists.

Casey's Shadow (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.) is a pleasant 1978 family film set against the quarter-horse championship races at Ruidoso, N.M. Walter Matthau stars as an irascible, untidy Cajun with three sons who scratches out a living raising quarter horses, and Alexis Smith plays a rich breeder with an eye for colts. Director Martin Ritt makes us all rooters in the homestretch, and we care who wins.

A delightfully off-the-trails 1968 comedy-Western directed by Sydney Pollack, The Scalphunters (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) manages a wry, sly reversal of traditions. Burt Lancaster is a crusty trapper and Ossie Davis is a runaway slave who run afoul of scalphunter Telly Savalas and his fancy lady Shelley Winters--but it's Lancaster who's the noble savage of the piece and Davis the literate, even effete man of poetry and haute cuisine.

The Onion Field (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is the grueling, uneven but engrossing and deeply affecting 1979 film which Joseph Wambaugh adapted from his own nonfiction novel about a notorious, still-controversial cop-killing and its aftermath. James Woods is a thoroughly scary psychopath, and Franklyn Seales' stooge is an even more complex characterization. The picture is not the least of all a grimly convincing expose of a justice system that creates its own victims.

Lawman (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is a good, solid 1970 Western with Burt Lancaster in the title role as a marshal who upholds his responsibilities to the letter of the law no matter what. While driving cattle through Lancaster's town, rancher Lee J. Cobb's men--Robert Duvall, Albert Salmi and J.D. Cannon--shoot up the place a little, and a bystander is killed; much carnage ensues.

The Dogs of War (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a contemporary (1981) adventure about a mercenary mission so trite as to make you wonder why it was ever made--even if it is based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth. It lacks the dark humor of "The Dirty Dozen" and the high spirits and camaraderie of the very similar "Wild Geese." It's one of those solemn films that takes itself very seriously yet in the end, after much bloodshed, offers the numbed viewer nothing more profound than the observation that being a mercenary is a rotten business that can at least prick the conscience of even the most hardened soldier of fortune. Dispatched to a fictional African country in the thrall of an Idi Amin-like dictatorship, the mercenary is a laconic, steely type played by Christopher Walken, a fine actor but here in dire need of charisma.

A handsome and smoothly likable Roger Moore made his debut as James Bond in Live and Let Die (ABC Thursday at 8:30 p.m.), but this 1973 film revealed that the series in this instance had lapsed into burlesque, with the elaborate gadgetry, extraordinary chases and mind-blowing ways to commit mayhem overwhelming character and dialogue. At any rate, 007 is this time investigating evil doings that link Harlem with a mysterious Caribbean island.

Glenn Close and Keith Carradine star in Stones for Ibarra, a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation on CBS Friday at 9 p.m. They play a San Francisco couple who resettle in Carradine's ancestral Mexican village.

Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (NBC Friday at 8 p.m.) is a repeat of the 1987 TV movie that brought back Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner to join forces and stop a radical takeover of the country.

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