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June 09, 1991|KEVIN THOMAS

A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story (NBC tonight at 9), a powerful 1989 TV movie, is based on the true story of a Connecticut woman, played by Nancy McKeon, and the bitter struggle to secure protection from her abusive husband.

Weekend War (ABC tonight at 9), the first (1988) TV movie dealing with the turmoil in Central America, condemns the policy of sending National Guard units into such a dangerous area and by implication questions America's entire military presence there. Stephen Collins, Daniel Stern and Evan Mirand star.

Original Sin (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a routine 1989 TV movie enlivened by Ann Jillian's strong portrayal of a wife and mother who discovers her husband's underworld ties when their small son is kidnaped.

In Alan Alda's misfired 1986 comedy Sweet Liberty (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) Alda stars as a college professor caught up in the filming of his historical novel; Michelle Pfeiffer contributes a breath of reality as a star of the film-within-the-film, but even she (not to mention Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins) can't save the show.

Even if you have often enjoyed Monty Python you may well be disappointed in the 1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table travesty best left to those who find frequent and graphic decapitation and dismemberment funny.

Although at times uneven, the 1981 Rich and Famous (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is often sparkling, thanks to George Cukor's direction of Jacqueline Bissett and Candice Bergen as two very different kinds of writers who, despite foibles and feuds, manage to sustain a friendship over two decades.

Although a bit tentative and episodic, Claudia Weill's 1980 It's My Turn (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) has wit, poignancy and a real feeling for character and relationships. Jill Clayburgh stars as Chicago math professor whose life is turned upside down when she goes to New York and meets her brand-new mother-in-law's son, Michael Douglas, a former baseball player.

In the blithe, sparkling, sophisticated 1985 comedy-mystery Compromising Positions (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.), Joe Mantegna's lecherous dentist, the Lothario of Long Island, is found stabbed to death with one of his own dental instruments, and one of his patients, Susan Sarandon, decides to play detective. With Raul Julia, Edward Herrmann, Judith Ivey, Mary Beth Hurt, Anne De Salvo, Josh Mostel and many others, all terrific.

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