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Prime-Time Flicks

August 21, 1994|Kevin Thomas

Mystery lovers can gorge on the true-life, two-part, four-hour 1991 And the Sea Will Tell (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m., concludes Tuesday at 9 p.m.), in which two couples, one middle-aged and rich (Diedre Hall, James Brolin), the other footloose post-hippies (Rachel Ward, Hart Bochner), fatally intersect in the summer of 1974 on the remote island of Palmyra, 1,000 miles south of Hawaii.

The 1993 TV movie Father & Son: Dangerous Relations (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), which has the parental theme of irresponsibility being handed down from generation to generation. Louis Gossett Jr., who is also the co-executive producer, stars as a black father who dumps his wife and 5-year-old son, then encounters his son (Blair Underwood) 20 years later in a prison yard where they're both doing time.

There's bad and there's laughably bad. The 1991 TV movie The Woman Who Sinned (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is the second. As the plot twists pile up, this ludicrous Susan Lucci vehicle is an absolute howl. For openers, Lucci's art gallery owner has an extramarital affair because her husband (Tim Matheson) doesn't want kids.

In the suspenseful murder thriller Final Appeal (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), a 1993 TV movie, a hard-drinking, disbarred lawyer (Brian Dennehy) feels compelled to try to represent his younger sister (JoBeth Williams) after she guns down her husband and his mistress. As a loyal sibling, Dennehy offers an intriguing portrait of a guy who quietly, almost invisibly, tipples his way through the day.

Taffin (KABC Monday at 9 p.m.), a lackluster 1988 picture never released in major cities, stars Pierce Brosnan as a professional debt collector who undergoes a change of character when he finds himself up against an organization of corrupt businessmen and criminals intent on building a chemical plant in a small Irish community.

Nobody but the public seemed to like the 1983 Flashdance (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.), a kind of full-length erotic aerobics class that stars Jennifer Beals, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night who's intent on auditioning for a ballet troupe and having an affair with her impossibly rich, unattached boss (Michael Nouri).

Sam Peckinpah's brilliant, controversial 1969 commentary on violence, The Wild Bunch (KCOP Saturday at 7:30 p.m.) finds William Holden leading a bunch of border ruffians operating in South Texas and Mexico, circa 1913.

A lighthearted 1989 fable aimed at kids, except for the very young, Little Monsters (ABC Saturday at 8 p.m.) seems an incredible simulation of "Beetlejuice," so uncannily close is the manic energy of Howie Mandel's Maurice, the proverbial monster under the bed, to that of Michael Keaton's obnoxious-but-ya-gotta-love-him demon from hell. Fred Savage is its young hero, who manages to befriend Maurice, who belongs to a subterranean network of scaly gremlins who wreak havoc only at night.

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