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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

September 03, 1989|KEVIN THOMAS

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) is no valentine to the comforts of small-town Americana. Instead this 1988 TV reunion for the cast of the late '50s-early '60s sitcom, "The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis," revels in raucous Borscht Belt humor and big-city cynicism. Along with the silliness there's some shameless fun. Dwayne Hickman, Sheila James and Bob Denver star.

Although My Two Loves (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) raises sensitive issues regarding lesbianism only to back away from them, Mariette Hartley and Lynn Redgrave are splendid as the 1986 TV movie's co-stars.

Akira Kurosawa's 1985 Ran (Channel 28 Monday at 8 p.m.) is his superb reworking of "King Lear" in 16th-Century Japan. It's at once a heroic saga of human destiny, a war movie with some of the greatest battle scenes ever filmed, a costume drama of the utmost magnificence--and a crackling good samurai movie chock full of sword play and palace intrigue. Tatsuya Nakadai gives us a great Lear, a man who has held power so brutally and for so long he has become unaware of how he is truly regarded.

In bringing Tom Kempinski's play Duet for One (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) to the screen in 1986, director Andrei Konchalovsky, Kempinski and writer Jeremy Lipp clumsily opened up a two-character drama involving an eminent violinist (Julie Andrews), stricken with multiple sclerosis, and her psychiatrist (Max von Sydow). The result is a film uneven at best but affecting in its final moments by sheer dint of Andrews' vibrant presence.

Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a lively, raucous and finally poignant comedy about a Texas beautician (Goldie Hawn) with a strong reason for making her feckless husband (William Atherton) break out of a minimum security prison.

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (Channel 11 Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.) may be W. C. Fields' most incoherent film, but it's still pretty funny.

Veteran director Mark Robson provided plenty of gloss for Jacqueline Susann's lurid but diverting Valley of the Dolls (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), and director Charles Jarrott did pretty much the same for Sidney Sheldon's The Other Side of Midnight (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.). (What's really needed is "The Greek Tycoon" to form a trilogy.)

An Enemy of the People (Channel 11 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a decent, solid presentation of the Ibsen classic, directed by George Schaefer in a style more suitable for TV than the big screen. Steve McQueen is quite effective as the idealistic, intellectual Dr. Thomas Stockmann, who has discovered that the newly discovered springs in his seaside community are poisonous rather than curative.

A good-natured 1988 Burt Kennedy TV Western, Once Upon a Texas Train (CBS Friday at 9 p.m.), stars Willie Nelson, Richard Widmark and Angie Dickinson.

Ken Burns' engrossing 1985 documentary Huey Long (Channel 28 Friday at 11 p.m.) soaks you in facts and perspectives about the controversial Louisiana governor and then admirably allows you to come to your own conclusions.

Somewhere along the way Beat Street (Channel 9 Saturday at 8 p.m.) lost track of the South Bronx graffiti artists, rappers and break-dancers we begin to care about to turn into an eye-popping musical display.

Re-created from transcripts and shot on tape a mere five weeks after the trial of the private school headmistress for the murder of her lover, "Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower, The People vs. Jean Harris (Channel 9 Saturday at 10 p.m.) benefits from the understated direction of George Schaefer; Ellen Burstyn received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Harris.

The Loves of a Blonde (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is the delectable 1965 Milos Forman romantic comedy made during that exuberant period in Czech cinema before the grim events of 1968.

The ratings checks on movies in the TV log are provided by the Tribune TV Log listings service.

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