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September 24, 1989|KEVIN THOMAS

Never Cry Wolf (Channel 5 Sunday at 6 p.m.), Carroll Ballard's stunningly seductive film of Farley Mowat's autobiographical story about a young biologist sent on his own to study Arctic wolves, stars Charles Martin Smith, who's dumped unceremoniously in the middle of frozen God knows where. Such is the evocative power of this film that Smith changes before our very eyes from an amiable Everyman to a man intimately attuned to this alien world. Subtle and complex, the film is part saga, part preservationist's meditation.

In Amos (Channel 9 Sunday at 8 p.m.), a so-so 1985 TV movie, Kirk Douglas has the title role as a feisty 78-year-old ex-ballplayer who lands in a nursing home run by a rigid and capricious Elizabeth Montgomery, whose patients start dying mysteriously.

The Preppie Murder (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, is a docudrama about the recent and deeply controversial murder case in which Robert Chambers (William Baldwin), a husky, handsome college dropout, brutally killed his 18-year-old girlfriend Jennifer Levin (Lara Flynn Boyle) in Central Park. Danny Aiello, William Devane and Joanna Kerns co-star.

Sayonara (Channel 9 Sunday at 10 p.m.), the multi-Oscar winning 1957 James Michener tale, stars Marlon Brando as an American serviceman who falls in love with a Japanese entertainer (Miiko Taka); their romance is paralleled with that of the ill-fated Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki.

The unintentionally hilarious Tarzan, the Ape Man (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.) stars Miles O'Keeffe and Bo Derek, who vie for best chest honors amid outrageous dialogue and predicaments--and a gloriously hammy turn by Richard Harris as Bo's father.

Taking its title from the 1960s hit song recorded by The Angels, My Boyfriend's Back (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) stars Sandy Duncan, Jill Eikenberry and Judith Light as a '60s singing group reunited to perform on a TV special. Appearing as themselves are Mary Wells, Gary Lewis, Peggy March, The Penguins and Gary Puckett.

Clint Eastwood has never made a movie as blissfully sweet as Bronco Billy (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), in which he directs himself as a sharpshooting, trick-riding star of a tiny, struggling Wild West show. In the finest tradition of '30s screwball comedy, Sondra Locke plays an icy, uppity runaway heiress who oh so reluctantly signs on as his assistant. Brocno Billy appeals to the dreamer in all of us, suggesting that we'd all be better off being whatever and whoever we want to be.

Planet of the Apes (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), an odyssey of much imagination and style, stars Charlton Heston as an astronaut who lands 2,000 years into the future in a country ruled by apes who speak, read and write--and regard man as the lowest form of life. At once a parable and an adventure, it has an ending that's a stunner. Wonderfully directed by the late Franklin Schaffner, this 1968 Arthur P. Jacobs production spawned four ingenious and largely effective sequels. Channel 5 will air Beneath the Planet of the Apes Thursday at 8 p.m. and Escape From the Planet of the Apes Friday at 8 p.m.

Alfred Hitchcock always said he wanted to film an actor in George Washington's nose on Mt. Rushmore, and he got his wish in one of his finest films, the amusing 1959 thriller North by Northwest (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau.

The Blues Brothers (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) turns loose Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi as that weird musical duo they created on "Saturday Night Live" in an overblown $30-million John Landis production that has them trying to reassemble their old band to raise money to save their orphanage in Chicago. (In the process Chicago seems to suffer more damage than it did in its famous fire.) The compensations in this disappointing off-the-wall comedy are an array of musicians, including Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles and James Cleveland's terrific gospel choir.

Prime Target (NBC Friday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, stars Angie Dickinson as a New York cop who becomes the prey of a killer while she investigates a series of murders. David Soul co-stars.

Wolfgang Petersen's 1981 Das Boot (Channel 13 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is such a tense and stunning World War II adventure, set aboard a German U-boat on a dangerous mission, that its anti-war sentiments become all the stronger when we're deliberately reminded at the finish that it's been the Germans we've been rooting for. Jurgen Prochnow stars.

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

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