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Prime-Time Flicks

August 20, 1995|Kevin Thomas

Unlike previous screen incarnations of Jack London's Call of the Wild (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), this 1993 TV movie version emphasizes more than the human angle with the story of the dog Buck, who experiences an extraordinary odyssey after his dognaping and transport to the Yukon. Along the way he and a gold-seeking young adventurer (Rick Schroder) become fast companions, their rapport totally disarming and convincing.

The Broken Cord (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a poignant father-and-son drama, stars Jimmy Smits, in one of his best roles, as an unmarried, adoptive father of a Native American boy, a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. Skillfully adapted from Michael Dorris' 1989 nonfiction bestseller, this 1992 TV movie sends a shattering message: If you're pregnant, don't drink.

King Solomon's Mines (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m.) is a disappointing attempt to capture the breezy, comic-book aura of more recent adventure yarns--most obviously "Raiders of the Lost Ark"--but the result is mainly camp. Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone star in this latest version of the H. Rider Haggard story, so memorably filmed in 1950.

The sprightly Back to the Future, Part III (NBC Monday at 8:30 p.m.) satisfyingly ties up the various plot strands that were left hanging from Part II of the time-travel trilogy. This time, director Robert Zemeckis and writer Robert Gale indulge their love of Westerns. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back to the Old West, circa 1885, to try to rescue Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) before he's shot in the back.

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is the agonizingly dull 1987 sequel to the 1985 "King Solomon's Mines."

Whoosh! Days of Thunder (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) just streaked in, fast as a race-car paint job and about as flat. What relationships the movie has aren't between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, but between Cruise and Robert Duvall, putting full, ornery life into another ol' Southern character. The 1990 movie's excitement comes from its racing footage; its massive case of attitude comes from the producers' assurance that they can retool the formula of "Top Gun."

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