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Movies to Tape

February 17, 1991

Chasing a Rainbow: The Life of Josephine Baker (Channel 28 Monday at 10 p.m.). Mick Csaky's 1986 documentary is as infectious as its subject, the legendary St. Louis-born entertainer who became the toast of Paris in the '20s.

The Lady Vanishes (Disney Tuesday at 9 p.m., again at 4 a.m. Wednesday). The 1938 Hitchcock classic, one of the best mysteries set aboard a train, finds pretty Margaret Lockwood caught up in a dangerous puzzle once sweet old lady Dame May Whitty unaccountably disappears.

Bronco Billy (CMAX Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.). Clint Eastwood has never made a movie as blissfully sweet as this 1980 winner, in which he directs himself as a sharpshooting, trick-riding star of a tiny, struggling Wild West show. In the finest tradition of '30s screwball comedy, Sondra Locke plays an icy, uppity runaway heiress who reluctantly signs on as his assistant. "Bronco Billy" appeals to the dreamer in all of us, suggesting that we'd all be better off being whatever and whoever we want to be.

Five Star Final (TMC Wednesday at 8 a.m.) Mervyn LeRoy's trend-setting 1931 film from the Louis Weitzenkorn play remains powerful and timely as an indictment of the sensationalist press. However, it is much more effective when it stays within the offices of a tabloid (said to be inspired by Bernarr MacFadden's infamous New York Graphic) with self-loathing editor Edward G. Robinson and his acerbic, silently adoring secretary Aline MacMahon than with an insufferably noble family cruelly victimized by the paper's needless dredging up of the mother's past.

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