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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

September 11, 1988|Kevin Thomas

For all its brilliance of writing and direction, the 1969 Brotherly Love (Channel 9 Sunday at 7 p.m.), a tragedy of incestuous passion, succeeds on account of the formidable appeal of its stars, Peter O'Toole and Susannah York. O'Toole is a charming wastrel, a boozy Scottish baronet, confronted with the inescapable truth of his all-consuming love for York, his beautiful and almost equally erratic sister. J. Lee Thompson directed it.

Intrigue (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, stars Scott Glenn as an American agent who must smuggle an American defector (Robert Loggia) out of the Soviet Union.

Noble Willingham, Rosalind Chao and Alan Ruck star in Shooter (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie about the experiences of Vietnam War combat photographers.

If you could somehow mate the lovely welder from "Flashdance" with the indefatigable young Mr. Balboa from "Rocky," the result would be Dean Youngblood, the handsome hockey prodigy of the 1986 Youngblood (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 6 p.m.). Unfortunately, Rob Lowe is woefully miscast as a gritty, aspiring hockey star, and the film, although it has a nice feel for the raunchy initiation rites of adolescent sports, is done in by an avalanche of thudding synthesizer-rock and coming-of-age cliches.

The Best of Times (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) has a nearly irresistible premise: Suppose you could somehow wind the clock back past your most embarrassing moment. This unjustly neglected 1986 film deftly has it both ways: giving us a lip-smacking tale of All-American wish fulfillment and a witty satire of its dangers. Robin Williams stars as a man so obsessed with the fact that in high school he dropped a 65-yard pass from the star quarterback (Kurt Russell) that 10 years later he tries to fast-talk a replay of the game among the school's alumni.

There's considerable wry charm in the 1971 Fool's Parade (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), which is memorable for James Stewart's performance as an ex-con who plans to set up a business with the $25,000 he earned while serving a 40-year sentence.

In the 1987 TV movie Mistress (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), Victoria Principal comes through with a good performance as the kept lover of a married man (Don Murray) whose sudden death sends her into a tailspin and reveals the emptiness of her life. Unfortunately, the film's sensitive treatment of a downbeat theme is lost in a meandering story stretched to fill a two-hour time slot.

A triumph of sleek craftsmanship that's undone by gratuitous gore, The Omen (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), made in 1976, is an undeniably scary tale in which our ambassador to the Court of St. James (Gregory Peck) and his wife (Lee Remick) are the unknowing parents of the little Son of Satan (Harvey Stephens) himself. Sadly, The Omen works hard to capture the imagination and then leaves nothing to it.

The Last Tycoon (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a luminous, ambitious but only fitfully alive adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished Hollywood novel. Elia Kazan and Harold Pinter are curious miscasting as director and writer, respectively; Kazan's style is too overblown, and Pinter's knowledge of Hollywood is all too clearly not first-hand. Nonetheless, Robert De Niro is wonderful as the extraordinarily complex, subtle and perceptive Monroe Stahr, whom Fitzgerald based on Irving Thalberg. Also memorable: Tony Curtis as a distraught star calmed by De Niro's mere willingness to hear him out.

Pee-wee's Big Adventure (CBS Friday at 8 p.m.) catches up that eternal 8-year-old, created by comedian Paul Reubens, who inhabits the role with an eerily fixed, intense concentration, in a comic odyssey in which the focal point is Pee-wee's stolen bicycle, a triumph of vintage streamline styling. Its loss forces this bubbling man-child out from his guarded citadel, a pasteled '50s paradise, into the rude, rough world. Director Tim Burton, in his 1985 feature debut, displays a real flair for dancing on that thin line betweeen terror and hilarity.

Romantic melodrama raised to the level of poetic tragedy, Emiliano Fernandez's 1943 Maria Candelaria (Channel 28 Friday at 9 p.m.) stars Dolores Del Rio as a radiant but ill-fated Aztec beauty, scorned because of her mother's reputation but adored by handsome peasant Pedro Armendariz.

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