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Prime-Time Flicks

June 13, 1993|Kevin Thomas

Claudia Weill's 1991 Face of a Stranger (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a superior 1991 TV movie, starring Gena Rowlands as an elegant Seattle matron who strikes up an unexpected friendship with a feisty homeless woman (Tyne Daly).

The suburban wife and mother (Meredith Baxter-Birney) in the 1990 TV movie Burning Bridges (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is nearing 40 and is dazed with an obsessive, lusty love for a married man (Derek de Lint). She might as well be wearing the scarlet letter "A" for all the agony she endures in this soaper that equates marriage with adultery. This show is actually anti-feminist, a movie that punishes women for the sake of insecure male viewers.

Whoopi Goldberg, cast as a computer programmer inadvertently caught up in international intrigue, makes the mild 1986 thriller Jumpin' Jack Flash (KTTV Monday at 8 p.m.) seem much hipper than it really is.

The 1988 Stealing Home (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.), with its convoluted structure, soft jazz score and wistfully confessional air, might pass these days for a "personal" Hollywood film. It's a weird, glossed-up hybrid, soggy with nostalgia, and it treats the identity crisis of a failed minor league baseball player (Mark Harmon) as if he were a suffering artist, struggling in a world that had no place for baseball. In flashbacks Jodie Foster plays his first love.

Empire of the Ants (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.), features a colony of ants, feeding on atomic waste, mutating into lethal and manipulative creatures capable of making humans obey their orders. It is a scary but ludicrous 1977 sci-fi horror flick that Joan Collins, playing a predatory land developer, most likely leaves off her filmography.

In contrast, the 1972 Frogs (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) is a darkly humorous tale that imaginatively blends Tennessee Williams and ecological horror. Ray Milland stars as a grouchy old Southern patriarch and Sam Elliott, then a newcomer, as an ecologist studying Milland's polluted waters.

Narrow Margin, the misguided 1990 remake of the 1952 classic which first aired last week, repeats on KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m. Gene Hackman and Anne Archer star.

The Stranger and the Gunfighter (KABC Saturday at 11:30 p.m.) is a 1976 spaghetti-Western with a touch of karate thrown in to make a lively and entertaining action entertainment. Lee Van Cleef's cowboy teams up with a Kung fu wiz to try to recover a missing fortune.

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