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Prime-Time Flicks

July 11, 1993|Kevin Thomas

Absolute Strangers (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), a 1991 TV movie, is an abortion advocacy drama, based on a true incident, that suffers from a lack of strong characterization. Henry Winkler stars as a Long Island accountant who goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to obtain the legal right to terminate his comatose wife's fetus in order to enhance her survival after she is paralyzed in a car accident.

Bigger and better than its popular predecessors, the 1991 two-part TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m., concluding Monday at 9 p.m.) brings back Kenny Rogers in the title role and involves him with a line-up of TV venerable cowboys, culminating in a San Francisco poker game with Teddy Roosevelt, no less.

Weekend at Bernie's (KTTV Monday at 8 p.m.) is a hilarious 1989 comedy, involving a wandering corpse at a house party in the Hamptons, and starring Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman.

Fatal Friendship (NBC Wednesday at 9 p.m.) is a moderately suspenseful 1991 TV movie in which a festering sense of mistrust between two lifelong friends turns male bonding into a viper's nest of suspicion and treachery. Gerald McRaney and Kevin Dobson play two successful businessmen whose macho roughhousing and mutual outings with their wives and kids mask a dark secret.

Sleepy-eyed, sexy and vulnerable, Nicolas Cage made a terrific 1983 film debut in Martha Coolidge's sweet, fast and unpretentious Valley Girl (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) as a working-class Hollywood High Romeo who falls for a nice, decent and affluent Juliet (Deborah Foreman, in the title role).

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, the 1985 Mask (KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m.) forthrightly introduces us to a San Fernando Valley 15-year-old, beautifully played by Eric Stoltz, and allows us to get used to his cruelly disfigured face until we discover what is really exceptional about him: his levelheaded attitude and sweet spirit; with a fine and ferocious Cher as his mother.

The 1940 Night Train to Munich (KCET Saturday at 11 p.m.) is an irresistible high-adventure directed by Carol Reed and starring Rex Harrison as a fearless, self-mocking British secret agent, disguised as a Nazi major.

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