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Prime-Time Flicks

October 22, 1995|Kevin Thomas

With director Sidney Lumet working from a script by horror-meister Larry Cohen ("Q"), Guilty As Sin (Fox Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a teasing sex-and-slaughter erotic thriller, with better characters than usual. As a hotshot female defense attorney and her randy client, an accused wife-killer, Rebecca De Mornay and Don Johnson use innuendo and sex appeal as weapons.

Just the ticket for quake watchers, Trouble Shooters: Trapped Beneath the Earth (NBC Tuesday at 9 p.m.) is a well-crafted 1993 TV movie, an action-thriller about the effort to rescue tenants whose apartment building has been swallowed by a great fissure in the earth. The film offers astute direction by Bradford May, who brings clarity to the complicated underground sequences. Kris Kristofferson and David Newsome contribute some emotional dimension as an embattled father-son rescue team.

Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Smart Story (ABC Wednesday at 9 p.m.), a 1991 TV movie, effectively recreates the seduction, lust and subsequent murder trial of a 23-year-old high school teacher (Helen Hunt) for manipulating her student lover (Chad Allen) into killing her husband. The person revealed here is so unredeemable that the role is a risk-taking plum for Hunt under the scrupulous direction of Joyce Chopra. (Gus Van Sant's big-screen "To Die For" very loosely plays with the Smart story, upping its morality tale with a tragicomic look at media monsters as personified in Nicole Kidman's murdering weathercaster.)

The spirited 1991 comedy Soapdish (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) turns upon the amusing notion that the stars of TV soap operas have lives as crazy as the characters they play, if not more so. Presiding over the long-running soap in question, "The Sun Also Sets,"is America's sweetheart (Sally Field), who at 42 is beginning to wonder whether there's more to life than tearfully saying such lines as, "I'm guilty of love in the first degree."

Victor/Victoria (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.), a wise 1982 musical sendup of all the absurdities and hypocrisies surrounding the issue of sexual orientation, stars Julie Andrews as a singer so down on her luck in Depression-era Paris that she accepts a job as a female impersonator, quickly becoming a star under the tutelage of the irrepressible Robert Preston. Also starring James Garner as Andrews' thoroughly confused love interest. (Andrews, by the way, is now opening the stage version of "Victor/Victoria" on Broadway.)

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