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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

September 17, 1989|Kevin Thomas

John Huston's dazzling Prizzi's Honor (ABC Sunday at 8 p.m.) is like "The Maltese Falcon" set in Brooklyn and done as an Italian opera; it's a resoundingly comic love story with sobering underpinnings. Jack Nicholson is a raffish Mafia hit man caught between the sultry Kathleen Turner and the aggressive Anjelica Huston. One of Huston's very best.

Rancho Deluxe (Channel 13 Sunday at 8 p.m.) is that offbeat, under-appreciated 1975 comedy-Western starring Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston as a pair of contemporary, small-time rustlers.

Director Fred Schepisi and writer-star Steve Martin's Roxanne (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) updates "Cyrano de Bergerac" with much humor, charm and poignancy; Daryl Hannah is a delight in the title role.

Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a TV movie repeat that finds Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner trying to foil an assassination attempt at the "Russian/American Unity Games."

Although the 1984 Teachers (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.) suffers from awkward shifts between satire and slapstick and the intensely earnest and heart-tugging, it does cut to the core of classroom malaise. Directed by Arthur Hiller, the film is held together by the all-out performance by Nick Nolte as a weary but still conscientious social-studies teacher.

From Here to Eternity (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) is Fred Zinnemann's 1953 classic from the James Jones novel about military life in Honolulu. Burt Lancaster stars.

Cannery Row (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is another instance when Nick Nolte is better than the film, a loving and gentle adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel which plays well but lacks punch. Nolte, however, is a splendid Doc, strong yet kindly, lonely but determined to be his own man.

Reckless (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) afforded Aidan Quinn a flashy 1984 film debut in that year's Brando-Dean role as a surly, inarticulate but vulnerable rebel in a bleak Pennsylvania steel town. Quinn and local rich girl Daryl Hannah work up a steamy romance but the film is essentially fantasy.

Margot Kidder was never better than in Donald Shebib's warm and funny 1981 Heartaches (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) as a gaudy, man-crazy peroxide blonde factory worker. Holding their own, however, are co-stars Annie Potts and Robert Carradine.

Don Coscarelli's Phantasm (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a thoroughly scary experience that centers on two young brothers menaced by a creepy undertaker.

In the chilling The Entity (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.), Barbara Hershey is outstanding as an already struggling single parent caught in a battle between psychiatrists and parapsychologists over the true nature of a mysterious evil force besieging her.

Dog Day Afternoon (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.), one of director Sidney Lumet's best, stars Al Pacino as a bombastic, none-too-bright loser desperate to finance a sex-change operation for his lover (Chris Sarandon).

Although little known, Robert M. Young's Alambrista! (Channel 28 Friday at 11:30 p.m.), a raw, unforgettable account of the plight of a Mexican illegal alien, is one of the key American films of the past 15 years.

Prince of the City (Channel 13 Saturday at 8 p.m.), one of Sidney Lumet's worst, stars a miscast Treat Williams as an NYPD detective whose decision to inform on his corrupt colleagues raises a thicket of moral issues, handled heavily.

Mariette Hartley excels as the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the fine 1983 TV movie M.A.D.D.: The Candy Lightner Story (Channel 7 Saturday at 9 p.m.).

Fernando Solanas' Tangos: The Exile of Gardel (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is a sensual, bittersweet 1985 study of a group of Argentine exiles living in Paris and rehearsing a show inspired by the haunting music of Carlos Gardel, the legendary tango singer.

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

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