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MOVIES OF THE WEEK / Kevin Thomas

November 20, 1988|Kevin Thomas

The new TV movie The Diamond Trap (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), an international adventure caper, stars Howard Hesseman, Brooke Shields, Ed Marinaro, Twiggy and Darren McGavin. Another new TV movie, The Goddess of Love (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), marks the TV movie debut of Vanna White, cast as a statue of the Greek goddess Venus who comes alive when she falls in love with shy hair stylist David Naughton. Little Richard plays Naughton's flamboyant partner.

The 1979 ... And Justice for All (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.) is such a shrill, over-the-top indictment of our criminal justice system ills that it self-destructs. Al Pacino stars as an abrasive, idealistic Baltimore lawyer coerced into defending a judge (John Forsythe) he slugged and who has been charged in a rape case.

The memorable True Grit (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.) launches a week of John Wayne movies.

In Susan Seidelman's endearingly hilarious 1985 Desperately Seeking Susan (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) bored New Jersey housewife Rosanna Arquette winds up assuming the identity, after a knock on the head, of freewheeling, lush-looking Madonna (in her sensational film debut).

In the new TV movie Take My Daughters, Please (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) Rue McClanahan plays matchmaker for her three unmarried daughters.

Killer Instinct (NBC Tuesday at 8 p.m.), another new TV movie, stars Melissa Gilbert and Woody Harrelson in a drama about a psychiatrist menaced by a mental patient (Fernando Lopez) she is forced to release against her better judgment.

In Superman (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m., completed Wednesday at 8 p.m.), that romantic and thoroughly entertaining 1978 fantasy, we're introduced to the comic-book hero who comes from the planet Krypton--Marlon Brando, no less, is his father--to save Metropolis. Christopher Reeve is as perfect as shy, awkward, myopic Clark Kent as he is as Superman, embodiment of invincible heroism.

The new TV movie Spies, Lies and Naked Thighs (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), an action comedy, stars Harry Anderson as a man who may not after all be an old pal of United Nations interpreter Ed Begley Jr.

George Lucas' 1977 landmark Star Wars (CBS Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.) remains one of the most razzle-dazzling movies ever made. This exuberant and technically astonishing space adventure utilizes the galactic tomorrows of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers as the settings of events that carry the familiar ring of yesterday's Westerns with their mythic clash of good guys versus bad guys. Mark Hamill is the innocent young hero, thrust into cahoots with his father's old comrade in arms (Alec Guinness) and with an imperiled princess (Carrie Fisher). With Harrison Ford as the cocky operator of a space tram.

Disney's beloved 1964 live-action/animation fantasy Mary Poppins returns on ABC Thursday (Thanksgiving) at 8 p.m. with Julie Andrews in the title role as the "practically perfect" nanny hired by the Banks family of Edwardian London.

Saturday evening brings two of George Cukor's most celebrated and similar romantic comedies, The Philadelphia Story (1940) (Channel 5 at 8 p.m.) and Holiday (1938) (Channel 28 at 10 p.m.). The first is the more famous, in which brittle socialite Katharine Hepburn, about to remarry, begins to wonder if she's not still in love with her ex; Cary Grant and James Stewart co-star. The second, also an adaptation of a Philip Barry play, may be the better, tinged as it is with the melancholy of the super-rich. This time heiress Katharine Hepburn finds herself with breezy nonconformist Cary Grant. (Beware: The Philadelphia Story is being presented in a "colorized" version.)

The Last Waltz (Channel 7 Saturday at 11:30 p.m.) offers a 26-song look at the final appearance by the Band, at the time (1978) America's most distinguished rock group. Director Martin Scorsese brings an unprecedented intimacy and power to the concert film.

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