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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

December 10, 1989|KEVIN THOMAS

Kevin Dobson stars in the new TV movie Money, Power, Murder (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) as a maverick reporter on a cable news station on the trail of a missing network anchorwoman. Blythe Danner co-stars.

George Peppard once again plays homicide detective Frank Doakey in Man Against the Mob: The Chinatown Murders (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.). Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, this new TV movie finds Doakey investigating a mob-run prostitution ring.

The Golden Child (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a flabby disappointment, finds L.A. social worker Eddie Murphy trying to wrest the Golden Child, a short of Dalai Lama-like creature of perfection, from Satanic forces.

Dinner at Eight (TNT Monday at 7 p.m.) is a new made-for-cable remake of the 1933 MGM production in which an all-star cast portrayed various levels of society invited to dine in New York City. Lauren Bacall stars.

Sweet Dreams (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.), the tangy 1985 biography of country singing star Patsy Cline, stars a well-cast Jessica Lange and Ed Harris as Cline's volatile husband. Karel Reisz directed from Robert Getchell's trenchant, compassionate script.

Nutcracker (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.), Carroll Ballard's 1986 film of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company production, is surprisingly disappointing--beautifully designed (by Maurice Sendak, no less) but awkwardly edited.

The new TV movie Lady in a Corner (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) stars Loretta Young as a fashion magazine editor fighting for control of the publication with a young, power-hungry editor (Lindsay Frost).

Mel Shavelson's 1955 The Seven Little Foys (Channel 11 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is one of Bob Hope's most enjoyable movies, in which he plays vaudevillian Eddie Foy. James Cagney reprises his George M. Cohan in a cameo.

Honkytonk Man (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is one of Clint Eastwood's most personal and engaging pictures. Taking a breather from action movies, Eastwood directs himself as a down-and-out Depression-era country singer struggling to make it to the Grand Ole Opry before he dies. There's a poignant relationship between this man and his nephew, played by Eastwood's own son Kyle.

The 1979 Murder by Decree (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) boasts Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes and James Mason as Dr. Watson, but the notion of pitting Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper was actually done more effectively in the more modest 1965 "Study in Terror."

The Oscar-winning 1967 In the Heat of the Night (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.), which inspired the NBC series, boasts bravura performances by Rod Steiger as a redneck police chief and Sidney Poitier as an urbane and competent black cop who comes to help solve a Mississippi murder.

The Seven-Percent Solution (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) is a particularly handsome and charming period piece, a fictional conjecture about what Sherlock Holmes (Nicol Williamson) was really like and why. Holmes has been ensnared by cocaine, and Watson (Robert Duvall) leads him to Vienna hoping that Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin) can help him. To be sure, adventure also awaits him.

With Gonza the Spearman (Channel 28 Friday at midnight), director Masahiro Shinoda and his actress-wife Shima Awashita have made another flawless film from an 18th-Century Chikamatsu bunraku puppet play--their first was the landmark "Double Suicide." Awashita plays a nobleman's wife innocently but hopelessly compromised by her husband's dashing clansman Gonza (Hiromi Goh).

The Secret Garden (CBS Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a stylish 1987 presentation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 story about an orphan brought from India to live in a gloomy English castle.

The Great White Hope (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a highly fictionalized account of the tumultuous life of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion. This big-scale work, directed by Martin Ritt, is of solid craftsmanship but little style. James Earl Jones' Johnson is, however, intensely vital and larger-than-life.

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