Noteworthy films, with mini-reviews by Times critics.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Cinemax Monday at 12:10 a.m., Thursday at 9 p.m.): With this nonstop, freewheeling 1988 farce, Spain's iconoclastic Pedro Almodovar moved into the mainstream. Funny and sly, it stars Almodovar's favorite actress, the wonderfully expressive Carmen Maura as a minor veteran Madrid actress who wants to fall apart over the desertion of her longtime lover--but Almodovar never allows her the time to do so.

The Big Street (TNT Thursday at 1 p.m.): Lucille Ball was very proud of this 1942 film, a kind of "Midnight Cowboy" of a more innocent era. Adapted by Leonard Spigelgass from a Damon Runyon story and directed by Irving Reis, it teams Ball as a flashy, gold-digging star singer at a Times Square night club and Henry Fonda as a naive, hickish busboy who worships her from afar. The unexpected finish is amazingly potent, thanks to Ball's underplaying.

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