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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

In the new TV movie Love and Betrayal (CBS Sunday at 9...

April 16, 1989|KEVIN THOMAS

In the new TV movie Love and Betrayal (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), Stefanie Powers plays a woman whose world is shaken when her husband (David Birney) leaves her for a younger woman.

A Deadly Silence (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, is based on the true story of a Long Island teen-ager (newcomer Heather Fairfield) who hired a classmate to murder her sexually abusive father (Charles Haid). Mike Farrell plays her attorney.

Barbarosa (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.), a splendid 1982 Western written by William Witliff and directed by Fred Schepisi, stars Gary Busey as a Texas farm youth on the run after an accidental killing and Willie Nelson as a fabled outlaw with whom Busey crosses paths. A film of humor, sentiment and insight, it skewers the folly of revenge and macho pride. Gilbert Roland co-stars as Nelson's aristocratic father-in-law.

John Sayles' hilarious 1984 The Brother From Another Planet (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 10 p.m.) is a true cosmic joke, a sly fable about a black slave (Joe Morton) from outer space who lands in the most ironic promised land of all--Harlem--and who has the power of healing. Sayles uses his mute, pensive hero to give us a fresh look at our society with all its harsh divisions.

The Naked Spur (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), always watchable, is one of several stylish and terse Anthony Mann Westerns that revived James Stewart's career in the '50s.

Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, the most controversial movie of the '80s--and the one that sunk United Artists--airs on Channel 5 Wednesday at 7 p.m. in its 2 1/2-hour theatrical version, which is more satisfying than its original three-hour, 40-minute version, although John Hurt's tone-setting Harvard valedictorian's speech is an unfortunate trim. In any event, it is a stunning landmark film that has been reappraised with increasing favor since its 1981 release. As in Cimino's Vietnam saga, "The Deer Hunter," the central theme is the betrayal of the American Dream for the common man by those in power. Once again, too, Cimino is able to confront an ugly national tragedy--in this instance, an 1890 Wyoming range war--and carry us through it to express a profound love of country. Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken and Isabelle Huppert star in the epic.

Peter Wang's 1986 A Great Wall (Channels 28 and 15 at 9 p.m.) is a low-key, insightful, slightly racy and very endearing culture-clash comedy about a Silicon Valley engineer (Wang) who takes his family to visit his sister and her family in Beijing. A fine example of gentle daring and not at all the pomp-and-circumstance kind of production you would expect of the first American film shot in China.

Take a Hard Ride (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a totally forgettable and glum 1975 spaghetti Western that compounds trite plotting and dialogue with unrelentingly tedious pacing in which pauses are held to the point of self-parody. Jim Brown and Dana Andrews star.

A delightful off-the-beaten-trails 1968 comedy-Western directed by Sydney Pollack, The Scalphunters (Channel 13 Friday 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. It's Lancaster who's the noble savage and Davis the literate, even effete man of poetry and haute cuisine.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is the impressive 1979 TV movie remake of the 1929 anti-war classic. Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine and Patricia Neal star.

Katherine (Channel 9 Saturday at 8 p.m.), a notable 1975 TV movie, was written and directed by Jeremy Kagan. It stars Sissy Spacek as a young woman whose radicalism leads her from innocence to terrorism. Art Carney plays Spacek's father.

The Seven Samurai (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is the great 1954 Kurosawa saga about seven warriors, headed by Toshiro Mifune, who protect a small village from bandits.

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