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January 06, 1991|KEVIN THOMAS

Mark Harmon stars in Dillinger (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV-movie version of the exploits of the Depression-era gangster. By coincidence, the 1934 movie, Manhattan Melodrama, Dillinger was watching at Chicago's Biograph Theater when he was caught airs on TMC Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Bump in the Night (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, stars Meredith Baxter-Birney as a former investigative reporter who is struggling to sober up while attempting to rescue her young son from a child molester. Christopher Reeve and Wings Hauser co-star.

The new Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) finds Mason (Raymond Burr) involved in the murder of a much-hated TV anchorman.

Kramer vs. Kramer (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.): A divorce, a father's adjustment to sole parenthood and a vicious custody battle--these elements added up to an intimate drama, beautifully told on all levels and an Oscar winner for writer-director Robert Benton and actors Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep.

Mad Max (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.) is the 1980 Australian film that tells how Max's saga began--as a highway cop defending his family against a biker gang. It is a crude but energetic tribute to American International Pictures, yet it launched Mel Gibson as an international star and George Miller as a major director.

Made in 1978, The China Syndrome (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) proved to be one of the most prophetic movies ever made, having been released shortly before the Three Mile Island debacle. At once a fervent anti-nuclear protest and an edge-of-the-seat thriller, it stars Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and an Oscar-winning Jack Lemmon.

In the enthralling Amadeus (Channel 5 Wednesday at 7 p.m.), which Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman adapted from Shaffer's play, the genius is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) and the "mediocrity" is Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), reigning success at the court of Emperor Joseph II of Austria, a man driven to deadly jealousy of the young, impudent and tragically naive Mozart. An Oscar-laden popular and critical success, this 1984 film is a superb, intelligent period piece, at once vital and poignant.

A slam-bang, suspenseful, sardonically funny, furiously-paced 1971 melodrama with a justly famous, much-imitated chase sequence, The French Connection (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.), starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, is still one of the most exciting movies ever.

John Landis' Into the Night (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) is an immensely enjoyable and knowing comic film noir in which insomniac Jeff Goldblum winds up in a high adventure with gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer. The 1985 film is highlighted by an imaginative use of Los Angeles locales and types and by guest appearances by a slew of top directors.

In the 1987 Shy People (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) director Andrei Konchalovsky envisioned a cataclysmic confrontation between a shallow, sophisticated New Yorker (Jill Clayburgh) and a puritanical, uneducated Louisiana bayou matriarch (Barbara Hershey), but the result is an often unintentionally hilarious disaster from which only Hershey emerges unscathed.

Lasse Hallstrom's wonderful 1985 Swedish film My Life as a Dog (Channel 28 Saturday at 9 p.m.), at once funny and touching, is about a resilient 12-year-old (Anton Glanzelius) coping with a new life with relatives in the country.

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