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Prime-Time Flicks

June 29, 1997|Kevin Thomas

The Doctor (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) invites us to relish the spectacle of a hard-driving hotshot, William Hurt's heart and lung specialist diagnosed with a malignant growth in his throat, finding out that there is more to life than insensitively bludgeoning your way to the top. Hurt and director Randa Haines show us in this 1991 film how far quality work can go in redeeming a plot as pat and predictable as they come.

*

Children of the Dark (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) isn't the horror movie its title might suggest, but it does contain moments of horrifying behavior. After preschool-aged daughters Jamie (Lindsay Haun) and Sheri (Analise Ashdown) are diagnosed as having a rare genetic disorder, the Harrison family is ostracized and persecuted by the denizens of their small Illinois town. But the overwhelming majority of townspeople are so cruel or insensitive that you begin to wonder just how much this true story was exaggerated for the purpose of dramatic effect.

*

Heart and Souls (NBC Saturday at 9 p.m.) is about ectoplasmic chums and last-minute redemption, a bright 1993 fantasy-comedy about humanizing yuppies and reviving empathy in the moral wreckage of the '80s. It wins a few and loses a few. In the end, the actors save it, especially star Robert Downey Jr. Downey's Thomas Reilly is the heart of "Heart": a slick-haired corporate clone who lives on his phone, thrives on the deal. And Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgwick and Tom Sizemore play the four souls trapped with him--all killed in a San Francisco bus crash at the moment Reilly was born, en route to the maternity ward.

*

Farewell, My Lovely (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) is that rare instance of the remake that's comparable to the original--in this instance a 1975 version of the 1944 original, "Murder, My Sweet." Actually, Raymond Chandler's piercing thriller, in point of fact, had been previously filmed as "The Falcon Takes Over," as part of the Falcon series. With Robert Mitchum (a wonderful Philip Marlowe); Charlotte Rampling does a good take on Lauren Bacall.

*

Movie to Tape

Ladies of the Chorus (Cinemax Wednesday at 8 a.m.) Adele Jergens and Marilyn Monroe, in her first key role, are teamed in a backstage story as mother-daughter burlesque dancers--although the glamorous Jergens was only nine years older than Monroe. Directed by

the much-respected Phil Karlson.

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