In Saturday Night Fever (TBS Sunday at 8:25 p.m.) as Tony Manero, the Brooklyn hardware-store clerk and disco king, John Travolta captured the imagination of an entire generation of young people in this vital, irresistible 1977 story of a young man whose horizons broaden when he meets the sophisticated Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney).
The premise of Dave (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a light 1993 political satire, written by Gary Ross and directed by Ivan Reitman, is that William Harrison Mitchell, the humorless and philandering President of the United States, has a double, Dave Kovic. The film’s title character is the owner of a temporary employment agency who wears funny ties and isn’t adverse to riding a pig if the situation demands it. Recruited for a one-night stand by the Secret Service, Dave’s gig unexpectedly turns out to be a longer engagement. Sigourney Weaver plays the understandably suspicious First Lady to Kevin Kline’s President in what is the best kind of comedy-one whose jokes can’t be given away.
The 1996 TV movie In the Blink of an Eye (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), might have better been told as documentary. As drama, the story of Sonia Jacobs’ (Mimi Rogers), struggle for justice after she is wrongly convicted of the killing of two police officers is flat and lifeless.
Clear and Present Danger (Cinemax Wednesday at 8 p.m.), a 1994 blockbuster, reaffirmed Harrison Ford’s position as the most reliable action star around. This film is the third and easily the best of the Tom Clancy yarns about CIA analyst Jack Ryan. If “Danger” has a problem, it is that it starts too slowly. But the pleasantly complex story line, set in Washington and Colombia, twists and turns in unexpected ways. What is rarer than good action, though, is plausible dialogue and acting, and these are the film’s key strengths.
With the 1996 Gulliver’s Travels (NBC Friday at 9 p.m., completed Saturday at 9 p.m.), the fanciful odyssey of literature’s best-known frequent voyager, becomes four hours of spectacular entertainment. This rich, witty, satisfying adaptation reshapes Jonathan Swift’s 1726 book for film while preserving its tone and spirit and much of the original story omitted from earlier movie versions. Mentioning Gulliver evokes the signature image of a normal-sized man (hereafter to have Ted Danson’s face) on his back, tied down and surrounded by curious six-inch beings known as Lilliputians. Yet this newest recounting, lavishly filmed in England and Portugal, journeys with ship’s surgeon Dr. Lemuel Gulliver far past the island of Lilliput to Brobdingnag, Laputa and the lands of the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos, restoring nearly the entire travelogue of tongue-twisters that Swift created in his satire.