In the multi-Oscared The Silence of the Lambs (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), Jonathan Demme’s vision of Thomas Harris’ truly terrifying novel is stunning and unusual: As the FBI races to save a kidnaped young woman from a serial killer, Demme concentrates on the hypnotic duel between an FBI trainee (Jodie Foster) and a brilliant sociopath (Anthony Hopkins).
Although in some ways as capable as its ex-Marine/CIA agent (Harrison Ford), the 1992 Patriot Games (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) could use more of the gentleman’s moxie. This screen version of the Tom Clancy novel is a perfectly adequate action-thriller that finds Ford, now a Naval Academy instructor, in London to give a speech and enjoy a vacation when he literally stumbles on an attempt by Irish terrorists to assassinate a cousin of the queen.
In the slick but improbable 1987 Stakeout (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) a police detective (played by Richard Dreyfuss with impeccable comic timing) falls in love with a woman (Madeleine Stowe) he has under surveillance.
The 1992 Housesitter (KTTV Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is much ado about too little, an occasionally amusing screwball farce starring Steve Martin as a jilted architect whose kooky housesitter Goldie Hawn starts telling people she and he are blissfully married.
The Adventures of Huck Finn (ABC Saturday at 8 p.m.) is but the latest of many films of Mark Twain’s celebrated novel of a boy, a slave, a raft and a river. But not even Mickey Rooney or Jackie Coogan captured the spunk and the spirit of the boy who wouldn’t be civilized in quite the way Elijah Wood has. And in casting Courtney B. Vance as Huck’s companion, the common-sensical runaway slave Jim, this 1993 film has again gotten it right.
The Enforcer (KCOP Saturday at 8 p.m.), the third and one of the best of the “Dirty Harry” movies, finds Clint Eastwood’s San Francisco homicide detective pursuing a murderous terrorist while teamed with a new partner (Tyne Daly, in a warm-up for “Cagney & Lacey”) who proves her mettle and then some to the macho Harry.
In 1985, an acclaimed Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) became an impressive three-hour TV film. Volker Schlondorff directed Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman and John Malkovich as his older son Biff to Emmy-winning performances.