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Movies of the Week

October 16, 1988|Kevin Thomas

Sydney Pollack's lush 1985 production of Out of Africa (CBS Sunday and Monday at 9 p.m.) takes us to unspoiled Kenya in 1914 with the Danish aristocrat Karen Blixen, who became a storyteller of the first order under her pen name Isak Dinesen--and was enough of a snob to marry a title. There's much that's wonderful about this film, starting with Meryl Streep's usual impeccable performance as the extraordinarily gifted and complex Blixen and the film's glorious settings. The center of the film--Blixen's romance with dashing British great white hunter and aviator Denys Finch-Hatton--is however seriously weakened by a miscast Robert Redford, who doesn't even attempt a British accent. Still, it's an elegant and intelligent film, enlivened by Streep and all-too-brief appearances by Klaus Maria Brandauer as Bror Blixen, whom he makes a man of quicksilver charm.

Lady Mobster (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a new TV movie starring Susan Lucci as a corporate attorney whose underworld benefactor expects her to legitimize his business.

Bonnie and Clyde, director Arthur Penn and writer David Benton's 1967 epochal account of those Depression era bank robbers played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, airs Monday at 8 p.m. on Channel 5.

Also resurfacing Monday in prime time: Don Siegel's terse 1962 war picture Hell Is for Heroes (Channel 11 at 8 p.m.) starring Steve McQueen, and Duel (Channel 13 at 8 p.m.), the 1971 TV movie that established Steven Spielberg. In this edgy thriller Dennis Weaver stars as a businessman in a rented car driving on an isolated road when he realizes the unseen driver of a diesel truck seems intent on running him down.

The new TV movie Double Standard (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) stars Robert Foxworth as a bigamist-attorney who starts a second family with his secretary.

In The Rose (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) Bette Midler is truly unforgettable as a Janis Joplin-like late '60s rock star on the skids. This 1979 film and Midler are stunners, thanks to Mark Rydell's nobly self-effacing direction.

Patty Duke and Tom Conti star in the new TV movie Fatal Judgment (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), which is based on the true story of a compassionate nurse's murder trial.

A Small Killing (Channel 4 Tuesday at 9 p.m.) is a standard TV movie, a 1981 production starring Jean Simmons as a college professor who poses as a bag lady to help an undercover policeman (Edward Asner) trail a killer. Sylvia Sidney co-stars.

A wise, delicious musical sendup of all the absurdities and hypocrisies surrounding the issue of sexual orientation, Blake Edwards' 1982 Victor/Victoria (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) stars Julie Andrews as a singer so down on her luck in Depression-era Paris that she accepts a job as a female impersonator, quickly becoming a star under the tutelage of a real female impersonator, played by the late, irrepressible Robert Preston.

The 1973 Electra Glide in Blue (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is at once the story of a man's discovery of himself, a murder mystery and a tragic comment on contemporary America. Directed by James William Guercio, it's an all-stops-out, razzle-dazzle kind of film that constantly overreaches yet commands attention and even involvement--at least part of the way. Robert Blake stars as an Arizona motorcycle cop who dreams of raising to detective rank.

The 1980 Hero at Large (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is an engaging comment on the lack of heroes in contemporary life, blending satire and sentiment. John Ritter plays a struggling actor who foils an attempted holdup of a grocery store and becomes carried away with his new role as a hero.

The two-part, four-hour Jack the Ripper (CBS Friday at 9 p.m., to be completed next Sunday) is the latest attempt to dramatize the mysterious and brutal Victorian serial killer. Co-writer/producer/director David Wickes, however, has had access to previously sealed government documents which he claims has yielded the undisputed identity of the elusive murderer. Michael Caine stars as a Scotland Yard detective.

Glitz (NBC Friday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie based on Elmore Leonard's best-selling detective novel, stars Jimmy Smits as a Miami police officer who tracks the killer of a call girl through the casinos of Atlantic City and Puerto Rico.

Das Boot, that terrific and ironic 1981 German war picture set aboard a U-boat, returns Saturday at 10 p.m. on Channel 13.

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