Thunderball (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.), the fourth James Bond film, finds Agent 007 (Sean Connery) trying to learn who hijacked two nuclear bombs in a NATO plane and is ransoming them for a million pounds. It’s a handsome production with a suitably spectacular finish.
Of the two Liberace TV movies shown in 1988, Liberace: Behind the Music (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) is by far the better of the two, although Victor Garber doesn’t resemble the late entertainer nearly as closely as Andrew Robinson does in the authorized version. Nevertheless, Garber is a splendid actor, and Gavin Lambert’s script captures well the complexities of Liberace’s life as an active, though closeted, homosexual who succumbs to AIDS.
Goddess of Love (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), in which Vanna White made her 1988 TV movie debut as Venus, is so awful it must be seen to be disbelieved.
Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal had a hit with “What’s Up, Doc?” but struck out with another attempt at ‘30s-style screwball comedy in The Main Event (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.). Streisand plays a perfume tycoon forced to take over the career of recalcitrant boxer O’Neal.
Lassiter (Channel 7 Monday at 9:30 p.m.) may be lightweight, but this elegant and entertaining 1984 fantasy adventure served Tom Selleck well. He’s a classy jewel thief, enamored of nightclub dancer Jane Seymour. Set in London in 1939, the film’s plot revolves around millions of dollars in uncut diamonds stolen by the Nazis when they seized Czechoslovakia.
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), the 1979 sequel to the 1972 original, is a fairly routine and tedious business which finds fortune hunters Sally Field, Michael Caine and Karl Malden searching for salvage in the capsized ocean liner, the Poseidon.
Children of a Lesser God (CBS Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.) is a classic love story with a difference--the heroine (Marlee Maitlin) has been deaf her entire life. When she and a teacher of speech to the hard of hearing (William Hurt) fall in love, we’re able to see in their struggle to communicate an intensification of the challenges of any two people trying to make a life together in today’s world. What makes the film come so poignantly alive is its understanding of the psychology of close relationships between the hard of hearing and “normal” people.
As a comedy-Western, The Gambler (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) was nothing special, but star Kenny Rogers’ fans made this 1980 TV movie, based on his hit song of the same name, one of the most popular TV movies ever, spawning a two-part 1983 sequel, which airs Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.
Don’t Go to Sleep (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), a 1982 TV movie written by Ned Wynn and directed by Richard Lang, is a potent spine-tingler dealing with a family stricken with guilt over the tragic death of its eldest daughter. Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper and Ruth Gordon star.
Robert Benton’s 1987 Nadine (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is an endearing, souffle-light little throwaway about lovers, larceny and losers, but mostly it is a deeply felt tribute to Texas womanhood, exemplified by Kim Basinger, who soon finds herself on the run with her hapless husband (Jeff Bridges) after she witnesses a murder.
Oliver Stone’s 1986 Salvador (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 8 p.m.) is intensely alive; it broils, snaps and explodes with energy as sleazy outlaw combat photojournalist Richard Boyle (James Woods, never better) and his bellicose disc-jockey buddy (Jim Belushi) flee to El Salvador and wind up the anti-heroes in a corrosive, perceptive political thriller.
John Boorman’s 1981 Excalibur (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) is the most pictorially stunning of all the movie adaptations of the Arthurian legends, and is most memorable for its sensuality and Nicol Williamson’s eerie Merlin.
Without George Burns, Just You and Me, Kid (Channel 5 Saturday at 6 p.m.) would play like a foolish sitcom, but for him it’s a cakewalk. He’s a retired, content vaudevillian who crosses paths with Brooke Shields, on the run from a nasty drug pusher.
All About Eve (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is the film classic that seems to reflect more of the real Bette Davis than any of her other pictures, playing a gutsy, tempestuous, and vulnerable Broadway star defending herself against Anne Baxter’s conniving Eve Harrington.
The ratings checks on movies in the TV log are provided by the Tribune TV Log listings service.