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November 18, 1990|KEVEN THOMAS

The new TV movie Polly: Comin' Home! (NBC Sunday at 7 p.m.) continues the story of a plucky young orphan (Keshia Knight Pulliam) who lives with her wealthy domineering aunt (Phylicia Rashad) in a small rural Alabama town in the mid-'50s. Dorian Harewood, Anthony Newley and Celeste Holm co-star in this sequel to last year's "Polly," a musical reworking of Disney's 1960 "Pollyanna."

Following at 9 p.m. Sunday on NBC is another new TV movie, Crash: The Mystery of Flight 1501, in which Cheryl Ladd stars as a woman obsessed with clearing her husband after he's charged with pilot error in an air disaster.

IT (ABC Sunday and Tuesday at 9 p.m.), a new two-part four-hour movie based on a Stephen King novel, finds seven adults who were childhood friends reunited in their small Maine home town to combat an evil force they thought they had defeated 30 years earlier. Harry Anderson and Dennis Christopher star.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Channel 13 Monday at 7:30 p.m., also WGN Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.), Steven Spielberg's magical, mystical sci-fi adventure, stars Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon. A strongly evoked small-town Midwestern America sets off wondrous special effects conceived by Spielberg and Douglas Trumbull.

Overboard (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m., again Saturday at 8 p.m.), a Hollywood reworking of Lina Wertmuller's nifty "Swept Away," casts Goldie Hawn as a rich harridan who gets her comeuppance from sexy proletarian Kurt Russell, but the 1987 film's attempt to combine screwball romance and populist fable doesn't jell.

Hairspray (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.), John Waters' deliriously fast and funny 1988 satire of the '60s combines nostalgic spoof and social consciousness with smashing effectiveness. Ricki Lake stars.

Thanksgiving Day (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, is a black comedy about a quirky family coping with life after the father drops dead at Thanksgiving dinner. Mary Tyler Moore, Tony Curtis and Joseph Bologna star.

John Hughes' 1987 Planes, Trains and Automobiles (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), a virtual catalogue of worst-travel experiences, is best when it turns over the film to Steve Martin and John Candy, masters of physical comedy as they struggle to get home to Chicago from New York for Thanksgiving, but it is marred by great patches of the humor of abuse.

Crocodile Dundee (ABC Wednesday at 8 p.m.), one of the most popular films of the '80s, stars Paul Hogan as a resourceful tour guide in the Australian outback who winds up in adventure and romance in New York City.

The Last Emperor (Channel 13 Thursday at 7 p.m.), Bernardo Bertolucci's lush, exotic, epic-scale 1987 multi-Oscar winner, focuses hypnotically on one of history's forgotten men, Pu-yi, who ruled China as a child, became a puppet ruler of the Japanese in Manchuria and survived rehabilitation in Red China. John Lone, Joan Chen and Peter O'Toole star.

Dumbo (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) is Walt Disney at his best, a 1941 fable about an ostracized little pachyderm with out-sized ears, high nightmarish big-top tormentors, a feisty rodent pal Timothy and a band of street-wise crows who give him "the magic feather" and a ticket to glory.

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