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Movies to Tape

September 25, 1988

Ninotchka (Channel 5 Sunday at 10 a.m.): This is the one in which Garbo laughs, the 1939 Ernst Lubitsch classic in which she plays a stern Soviet beguiled by Melvyn Douglas and Paris. Written by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and Walter Reisch. (2:00)

Queen Christina (Channel 5 Sunday at 3 p.m.): More vintage Garbo, directed by Rouben Mamoulian in 1933. Who could forget the image of Garbo as the lonely 17th-Century Swedish queen at the prow of her ship? Garbo's final film with John Gilbert, who had been her great love onscreen and off. (2:00)

The American Friend (Bravo Sunday at 5 p.m.): A key Wim Wenders film, a moody suspense film which also comments on the impact of American culture on West Germany, a favorite Wenders theme. Bruno Ganz and Dennis Hopper star; cameos by directors Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller. (2:11)

What Price Hollywood? (USA Wednesday at 3:30 a.m.): The 1932 George Cukor film which was reworked as "A Star Is Born" is fresh and timeless in its own right. Constance Bennett stars as a Brown Derby waitress with ambitions for Hollywood stardom, and Lowell Sherman is the heavy-drinking director who discovers her. (2:00)

Agatha (Channel 11 Saturday at 1:30 a.m.): Based on Kathleen Tynan's novel that ingeniously imagined what had happened to Agatha Christie during her never-explained 1926 disappearance, this handsome, romantic 1979 film casts Vanessa Redgrave in the title role and Dustin Hoffman as a brashly confident American journalist intent on tracking her down and scoring a scoop. (2:00)

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