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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

April 15, 1990|Kevin Thomas

Disney's beloved 1964 live-action/animation fantasy Mary Poppins returns on NBC Sunday at 7 p.m. Julie Andrews, of course, has the title role as the "practically perfect" nanny hired by the Banks family of Edwardian London.

The Living Daylights (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) introduced in 1987 a new James Bond, Timothy Dalton, who is splendid--provided you can put Sean Connery out of your mind--but after a quarter of a century of 007, it's pretty much the same as before, except for less casual sex, on account of AIDS. The plot involves a tricky Soviet general (Jeroen Krabbe), a beautiful cellist (Maryam d'Abo) and the usual spectacular stunts and gadgets.

POW: The Escape (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.), an obscure 1986 Vietnam War movie about American prisoners of war struggling to make their way to freedom as Saigon falls, is little more than a Grade-C Western, with souped-up jeeps instead of horses, heroic GIs serving as the cavalry, naughty North Vietnamese standing in for the Indians and lush jungle foliage replacing the sagebrush. David Carradine and Mako star.

The late John Cassavetes' 1980 comedy Gloria (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) was his most accessible, likable movie in which a radiant Gena Rowlands plays a retired gun moll on the run with both a priceless underworld ledger--and an unwanted but beguiling 6-year-old (John Adames).

Top Secret! (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) tries to send up--and update--the World War II spy adventure, a rather antiquated target. There's a nonstop barrage of gags, many of them inspired and hilarious in themselves but scattershot in effect.

PT 109 (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is the routine 1963 World War II movie in which Cliff Robertson played PT boat commander John F. Kennedy.

In Endangered Species (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.), Alan Rudolph's taut 1982 political thriller, the cattle near a small Colorado town begin to be decimated, their carcasses peculiarly mutilated while their internal organs seem to have evaporated. The film's plot proves to be timely and chilling, but its unraveling is less than inspired, with newly elected sheriff JoBeth Williams unpersuasively teamed with surly, burned-out New York police detective Robert Urich in trying to solve the mystery.

Two vintage adventures also air Friday: Robert Aldrich's 1954 Western Vera Cruz (Channel 11 Friday at 8 p.m.) with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster, and Michael Curtiz's classic 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) with Errol Flynn.

With the 1982 I Ought to Be in Pictures (Channel 5 Saturday at 6 p.m.), Neil Simon wrote two of his most completely believable characters--a burnt-out screenwriter and his girlfriend, a studio hairdresser--and under Herbert Ross' direction, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret are wonderful. Unfortunately, Matthau's obnoxious teen-age daughter (Dinah Manoff) turns up to become the film's center of attention.

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