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Movies to Tape

December 16, 1990

Back Street (AMC Monday at 6:30 p.m., again at 11:30 p.m.). The first (1932) film version of the Fannie Hurst novel about a woman who settles for being the mistress of the man she loves is not the maudlin tear-jerker it sounds but is unexpectedly a jolter in its raw emotional honesty. Starring Irene Dunne as the good-hearted mistress to John Boles' caddish, selfish banker.

The Sheik (AMC Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., again at 12:30 a.m.). This is the 1921 landmark Rudolph Valentino film in which Valentino, in the title role, kidnaps Agnes Ayres' headstrong British girl, intending to make her his bride. Directed by George Melford.

Meet Me in St. Louis (TNT Thursday at 5 p.m.). Vincente Minnelli's 1944 musical, an authentic American classic, with its Technicolor gloriously restored, is timeless in its enchantment yet dares to suggest a dark side of a more serene age. Set in St. Louis, just before the 1904 World's Fair, and starring Judy Garland at her irresistible best.

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