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December 09, 1990|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

Swing Shift (Channel 13 Sunday at 6 p.m.) shows that unpredictable and refreshing filmmaker, Jonathan Demme, seemingly hamstrung by his star, Goldie Hawn, in a World War II era feminist home-front comedy-drama that should have been much better. Christine Lahti, as usual, steals every scene in sight.

Every Which Way But Loose (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.), the biggest box-office hit of star Clint Eastwood's career, also inspired Norman Mailer's memorable essay on Eastwood's cinematic cool. It's the one with Eastwood as bare-knuckle boxer Philo Beddoe, who's better at charming orangutans (named Clyde) than women, and it's low-pressure, easy-riding entertainment.

Some Like It Hot (Channel 11 Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.) is, natch, Billy Wilder's all-time champ of a comedy, with Prohibition gangsters, desperate musicians in drag, and Marilyn Monroe as "Sugar Kane"--whom an admiring Jack Lemmon describes as "Jell-O on springs."

Buffs eager for glimpses of the young Kim Basinger might want to examine the 1981 Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.), in which director Robert Greenwald and a slightly camp cast (Dorothy Malone, Fabian, Tab Hunter and Don Johnson) try to give us the inside dirt on nude modeling. Others beware.

Big Shots (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m.) is a mind-boggling ludicrous 1987 stab at mixing children and crime: a kind of John Hughes road movie, with two underage boys, one black, one white, improbably driving cross-country, in the midst of the usual murder and carnage. Robert Mandel directs--we hope with a twinge of shame.

For those who believe TV advertising is taking over the movies, writer-director Michael Crichton's vapid sci-fi sex thriller Looker (Channel 13 Saturday at 6 p.m.) offers disturbing proof. It seems to be about a sinister conspiracy to make holograms of beautiful women and kill people, but it's shot as if it were a long advertisement for some product that's never revealed. A bevy of beauties and stars--including Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey and even Vanna White--all peddle their wares, coldly.

In Penitentiary III (Channel 13 Saturday at 8 p.m.) Jamaa Fanaka's sequel to his earlier jail thrillers, Leon Isaac Kennedy, the pawn of rival police and Mafia boxing teams, proves that three-time losers get the worst of it.

That venerable and much-loved husband-wife acting team, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, take center stage in Hallmark Hall of Fame's Foxfire (CBS Saturday at 9 p.m.), director Jud Taylor's film adaptation of the spare but heartwarming play, written by Cronyn and Susan Cooper, about an elderly Appalachian couple, humanity's seasons and loves that survive death. Tandy won both the Tony and Emmy for this part.

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