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Prime-Time Flicks

September 28, 1997|Kevin Thomas

In the 1993 For Love or Money (NBC Wednesday at 9 p.m.), Michael J. Fox is the right actor to play a high-powered concierge for a ritzy New York hotel. He has the fast moves and all-seeing eyes that keep him right on top of his guests' every whim.

Night owls please note: KTLA is airing two notable 1971 Clint Eastwood movies during the predawn hours this week. One of Eastwood and director Don Siegel's finest collaborations, the sly Civil War era fable The Beguiled airs early Thursday at 3 a.m. And Eastwood's first film as a director as well as a star, Play Misty for Me, the taut thriller in which he is stalked by an admirer, airs the same time Friday.

RoboCop (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a comic-book styled 1987 action flick about a automated cop. Set in a futuristic Detroit where private industry has taken over the police, it's crammed with humor, cynicism and jolts of energy. The script nastily parodies everything from vacuous TV commentators to dope dealers to cutthroat corporate warfare; it satirizes a society where every tendency toward dehumanization and centralization has gone hellishly out of control. Dutch Director Paul Verhoeven--aided by top-notch Hollywood pros--does a sensational job here; this may be the best action movie of that year. Its 1990 sequel, RoboCop 2 (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.), proved to be a gory disappointment.

In The Maltese Falcon (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) a cynical San Francisco private eye named Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) woos a dangerous dish named Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), slaps around a gunsel named Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.) and an effeminate Levantine named Cairo (Peter Lorre), and verbally spars with a sinister, grimly bemused fat man (Sidney Greenstreet). The object of all their intrigues: the elusive Maltese Falcon, the stuff that dreams are made of. Dashiell Hammett's superb thriller, paradigm of the whole private-eye genre, was John Huston's classy directorial debut. Better movie literary adaptations than this are rarer than the bird itself.

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