Day One (CBS Sunday at 8 p.m.), a new three-hour TV movie written and directed by David W. Rintels, stars Brian Dennehy, David Strathairn and Michael Tucker in the story of the Manhattan Project and the race to develop the atomic bomb.
Michael Mann’s ferocious, mesmerizing 1986 movie Manhunter (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a dark locomotive of a movie, dragging the audience with it. It’s a sleek, hard-edged psychological detective story in which its most lingering characters are its twin sadistic killers. William L. Petersen stars as a troubled ex-FBI agent called back to service to track down a serial murderer. Strong, exciting--and not for children.
Robin Givens stars in the new TV movie The Penthouse (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) as the daughter of a music mogul held hostage in her own apartment.
The Assisi Underground (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.) is a standard 1985 drama about an attempt on the part of the Catholic Church to save Italian Jews from the Nazis.
A better bet is the original 1967 In the Heat of the Night (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.), starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger.
Those She Left Behind (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a new TV movie starring Gary Cole as a businessman struggling to rebuild his life and care for his newborn baby after his wife’s death.
In the 1981 First Monday in October (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), Walter Matthau is terrific as a seasoned justice of the Supreme Court in the William O. Douglas mold. Unfortunately, the film--which betrays its theatrical roots as the liberal Matthau duels with the newly appointed conservative, Jill Clayburgh--really doesn’t get anywhere, for all the issues dramatists Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee raise.
The 1988 TV movie Intrigue (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) is an efficient enough genre film, given some grit by Robert Loggia as an American defector who wants to return home; Scott Glenn is his former protege whom the CIA sends undercover to retrieve him.
Night of the Creeps (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a 1986 first feature from writer-director Fred Dekker, who has fun with horror picture cliches as a group of college students battle zombie ax-murderers.
Hard Knox (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), a 1984 TV movie, serves up a so-so dose of sentimental machismo as Robert Conrad plays a career Marine Corps pilot who takes over the operation of a military school filled with young misfits when he is forced to retire from the service.
The Car (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) features a big, black monster of a driverless, impregnable automobile that literally decimates a small Southwestern desert community. James Brolin and Ronny Cox are the unfortunate humans in this grisly and hollow 1977 film. You’re better off watching Billy Wilder’s 36-year-old Stalag 17 (Channel 11 Thursday at 8 p.m.) with William Holden.
The 1982 horror picture A Stranger Is Watching (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) has hopefully been toned down for TV. A morbid exercise in extreme violence against women (and men), it features a child witnessing her mother being hammered to death and a woman being stabbed to death with a screwdriver. Rip Torn and Kate Mulgrew star.
A warm film of illuminating impact, The Chosen (Channel 11 Friday at 8 p.m.) tells a story of friendship, of love between fathers and sons, and above all, what it means to be Jewish. Director Jeremy Paul Kagan and adapter Edwin Gordon’s 1981 film of the 1967 Chaim Potok novel stars Rod Steiger as a Hasidic rabbi and Robby Benson as his son. The film’s central question is: How can a religion maintain its integrity and its traditions and still keep in touch with the times? Maximilian Schell and Barry Miller also star.
The 1984 computer fantasy Electric Dreams (Channel 5 Saturday at 6 p.m.), a romantic comedy of genuine sweetness and originality, stars Lenny Von Dohlen as a spacey, klutzy young San Francisco architect whose computer (voice supplied by Bud Cort) plays Cupid.
The ratings checks on movies in the TV log are provided by the Tribune TV Log listings service.