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Prime-Time Flicks

April 11, 1993|Kevin Thomas

The Sound of Music (NBC Sunday at 8 p.m.) is back for Easter. The 1965 blockbuster, winner of five Oscars and based on the final Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical, stars Julie Andrews in the story of the Trapp Family Singers, who had to flee their home in the Austrian Alps just before the outbreak of World War II.

On stage, Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias (CBS Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) was both amusing and poignant, a drama about how a group of small-town Southern women of varying ages and socioeconomic levels form an unconscious sisterhood once in the local beauty salon. On screen it became an overblown, miscast disaster, with only Julia Roberts' ill-fated young bride emerging with honors.

The 1987 TV movie The Gambler III: The Legend Continues (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m., concluding Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a routine sequel-to-a-sequel in which Kenny Rogers this time crosses paths with some actual historical figures of the Old West: Sitting Bull (George American Horse) and Buffalo Bill (Jeffrey Jones).

Rooster Cogburn (KTLA Wednesday at 8 p.m.) isn't exactly the best film John Wayne or Katharine Hepburn ever made, but it's occasionally enjoyable because it is the only picture they were in together. The plot finds Wayne reprising his "True Grit" deputy marshal, riding off to catch the bad guys who murdered the minister father of spinster Hepburn.

KTLA is showing two more vintage Westerns in its 8 p.m. slot: Burt Kennedy's enjoyable 1967 The War Wagon (Thursday at 8 p.m.) and Robert Aldrich's 1972 cavalry vs. Indians cult film, Ulanza's Raid (Friday at 8 p.m.), starring Burt Lancaster.

Ken Burns' 1992 Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (KCET Friday at 9 p.m.) is yet another outstanding documentary from the maker of "The Civil War."

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (KTLA Saturday at 6 p.m.), a 1971 Disney delight, is a musical fantasy starring Angela Lansbury as a witch who does her bit for World War II; with cartoon sequences.

In his taxing, fascinating 1988 film The Thin Blue Line (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.), Errol Morris built a powerful case against Texas justice while attempting to bring to the documentary form an ultra-cool, film noir look. The result is an experiment in nonfiction screen narrative that yields darkly amusing observations of Americana.

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