Some interesting films on US television, November 21-27

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.

Saturday, November 21

*10:00 a.m. (HBO Plus)-- Super Mario Brothers (1993)--Underrated, highly imaginative film version of the popular video game, to which it bears only a slight resemblance. The two plumber brothers (Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) visit an alternate universe in which evolution took a different course, leaving dinosaurs as the dominant species. Dennis Hopper overacts wonderfully as the dinosaur dictator of this world. (MJ)

*10:30 a.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--John Sayles wrote and directed this well-done, politically astute film about the ethnic divisions in Texas. Unfortunately, it suffers from a contrived, hard-to-believe ending. With Chris Cooper and Elizabeth Pena. (MJ)

12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- A Shot in the Dark (1964)--Blake Edwards directed the second of the Inspector Clouseau films, starring the inimitable Peter Sellers. With Elke Sommer, George Sanders and Herbert Lom. (DW)

*1:20 p.m. (Cinemax)-- William Shakespeare's 'Romeo + Juliet' (1996)--Inventive and exciting modern-dress version of the play. Starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. (MJ)

3:30 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- The Godfather, Part III (1990)--Not the best of the Godfather trilogy, but a cut above most current films. This time, the Corleone family, led by Michael (Al Pacino), gets involved with the sinister machinations of the Vatican and international finance. With Andy Garcia, Diane Keaton, and Sophia Coppola. Directed by Francis Coppola. (MJ)

4:15 p.m. (AMC)-- The World in His Arms (1952)--Gregory Peck is an American ship's captain wooing an aristocratic Russian woman (Ann Blyth) in San Francisco in the 1850s. Raoul Walsh directed with his customary vigor. (DW)

5:45 p.m. (Cinemax)-- The Fifth Element (1997)--Vacuous, silly science fiction film in which the future of the universe hinges on a Brooklyn cabdriver (played in proletarian style by Bruce Willis) finding something called 'the fifth element.' Worth seeing only for its imaginative settings and special effects. Typical scenery-chewing villainy by Gary Oldman. Directed by Luc Besson. (MJ)

6:35 p.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--See 10:30 a.m.

9:55 p.m. (Encore)-- The Warriors (1979)--Walter Hill's bizarre and exciting retelling of Xenophon's ancient Greek classic The March Up-Country. Set in nighttime New York City, the film shows members of a juvenile gang fighting their way back to the Bronx. (MJ)

2:00 a.m. (HBO Signature)-- Frantic (1988)--Roman Polanski's failed attempt to make a Hitchcock-type suspense film. With Harrison Ford. (MJ)

*3:30 a.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--See 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, November 22

6:30 a.m. (HBO Signature)-- Young Frankenstein (1974)--One of Mel Brooks's funnier and more successful parodies, this time of the classic horror film by James Whale. Particularly effective because it uses many of the original sets. With Peter Boyle (as the monster) and Gene Wilder (as Dr. Frankenstein). (MJ)

10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Killing (1956)--An early effort by Stanley Kubrick, about an elaborate racetrack heist. With Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor and Elisha Cook. (DW)

11:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Camille (1937)--Perhaps Greta Garbo's finest film. She plays Dumas's tragic courtesan, forced to give up her love, a young man from a 'good family,' for the sake of his family's honor. Robert Taylor and Lionel Barrymore are adequate, but Henry Daniell enlivens the proceedings as the villain. Directed by George Cukor. (DW)

12:45 p.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--Francis Coppola took a John Grisham potboiler and made it into an engrossing but pedestrian film. Nonetheless, it is rich in characters, with particularly good work by Danny DeVito and Mickey Rourke (in a surprising standout performance as an ultra-sleazy lawyer) Also starring Matt Damon, John Voight, and Claire Danes. (MJ)

*1:30 p.m. (Sundance)-- Last Year at Marienbad (1961)--Alain Resnais's enigmatic film is one of the classics of French cinema. It asks questions (never answered) about the nature of time and memory. A marvelous film to watch, with its energetically mobile camera and lengthy tracking shots down ornate corridors. (MJ)

1:35 p.m. (Encore)-- Gypsy (1962)--Unfortunate film adaptation of the great Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musical. Rosalind Russell does not have the necessary fire in her belly for the role of Mama Rose. Worth seeing for the music, but look for the recent, far better, made-for-TV version with Bette Midler. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Also starring Natalie Wood and Karl Malden. (MJ)

*1:40 p.m. (TMC)-- Chinatown (1974)--The best example of modern film noir. A convoluted tale of incest, corruption, and the fight over access to southern California water. Jack Nicholson plays the private detective. With Faye Dunaway, John Huston. Directed by Roman Polanski. (MJ)

3:00 p.m. (Sci-Fi)-- Heaven Can Wait (1978)--Warren Beatty stars as a football player who dies before his time and returns to earth in another body, that of a millionaire businessman. Julie Christie is a social activist who awakens his conscience. With Jack Warden. Directed by Beatty and Buck Henry. Good-natured, but not extraordinarily insightful. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- Married to the Mob (1988)--Michelle Pfeiffer is the widow of a Mafia hit man, trying to change her life. Dean Stockwell is the crime boss who lusts for her. With Matthew Modine. A semi-amusing, semi-conformist film, directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (HBO)-- The Firm (1993)--Another film that takes a shot at the legal profession. In this paranoid potboiler, a young, ambitious lawyer finds out that his high-toned firm is totally owned by organized crime. An unremarkable film is saved by a remarkable performance by Gene Hackman (always dependable), playing a cynical partner. From the bestseller by John Grisham. (MJ)

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)--Elia Kazan's version of the Tennessee Williams drama about the strong and the weak in a New Orleans tenement. Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (FXM)-- Sodom and Gomorrah (1963)--Robert Aldrich directed this above-average Biblical epic. Starring Stewart Granger and Pier Angeli. (MJ)

9:00 p.m. (HBO Plus)-- Face/Off (1997)--Hong Kong action director John Woo lets out all the stops in this exciting, humorous, and (of course) preposterous film about a government agent (John Travolta) and his terrorist nemesis (Nicolas Cage) exchanging faces. (MJ)

10:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Breakdown (1997)--Suspenseful thriller in which the wife of a meek computer programmer (played by Kurt Russell) disappears during a cross-country trip. One of the last performances by the late, great character actor J.T. Walsh. (MJ)

10:45 p.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See 12:45 p.m.

*11:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- Last Year at Marienbad (1961)--See 1:30 p.m.

12:25 a.m. (HBO Signature)-- Serpico (1973)--Al Pacino plays a loner cop taking on corruption in the New York Police Department. As always, director Sidney Lumet captures the texture of New York City. (MJ)

12:30 a.m. (TCM)-- The Big Parade (1925)--King Vidor directed this powerful silent work about World War I, with John Gilbert as an American soldier who comes of age in the fighting. With Renee Adoree, Hobart Bosworth and Claire McDowell. (DW)

2:00 a.m. (AMC)-- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)--See 8:00 p.m.

Monday, November 23

*7:00 a.m. (Cinemax)-- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)--One of John Ford's best films. The story of a man who rises to fame because he shot a notorious outlaw, though the shooting was done by someone else, embodies Ford's philosophy of myth and the West. Starring Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, in fine performances. (MJ)

7:10 a.m. (Encore)-- Gypsy (1962)--See Sunday, at 1:35 p.m.

9:00 a.m. (Comedy)-- Married to the Mob (1988)--See Sunday, at 6:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. (Sci-Fi)-- Heaven Can Wait (1978)--See Sunday, at 3:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m. (HBO Plus)-- The Year of Living Dangerously (1983)--Love story set against the background of the military bloodbath against the Communist Party in Indonesia in 1966. The political scenes are very powerful. Linda Hunt is marvelous as the diminutive photographer Billy Kwan, for which she deservedly won an Academy Award. Starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. Directed by Peter Weir. (MJ)

2:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Mortal Storm (1940)--One of Frank Borzage's anti-Nazi films. The family of a prominent academic (Frank Morgan) is torn apart by Nazi ascendancy. The politics are murky, but Margaret Sullavan, as the professor's daughter, and James Stewart, as her fiancé, are magnificent. (DW)

6:30 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)--Steven Spielberg's special-effects-filled take on UFO sighting as a religious experience. Starring Richard Dreyfuss. (MJ)

9:45 p.m. (FXM)-- All That Jazz (1979)--Choreographer/director Bob Fosse's overwrought autobiographical film about his mental and physical crackup. Not strictly speaking a musical, but it is filled with musical numbers--including a bizarre one occurring during the main character's open-heart surgery. With Roy Scheider and Ben Vereen. (MJ)

10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Heaven Can Wait (1943)--Don Ameche stars as a dead man seeking entry to hell, who recounts in flashback what he thinks has been a life full of sin. With Gene Tierney and Charles Coburn. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. (DW)

10:00 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- Tommy (1975)--The Who's rock opera done with dazzling, overheated images that assault and often insult your eyes. Often hard to take, but for once director Ken Russell's annoying style suits the material. Filled with stars such as Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton. (MJ)

*10:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- The Ice Storm (1997)--Excellent film by Ang Lee of aimlessness and disillusionment in the 1970s. As the middle class disintegrates in suburbia, we see the disintegration of the White House playing out in the background as the Watergate crisis runs its course. The fine cast includes Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Jamey Sheridan and Christina Ricci. (MJ)

12:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Now, Voyager (1942)--A well-done melodrama with a remarkable cast. Bette Davis is an isolated, neurotic woman helped by psychiatrist Claude Rains, and falling in love with Paul Henreid. Directed by Irving Rapper. (DW)

Tuesday, November 24

6:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Northwest Passage (1940)--King Vidor's vivid film about Rogers' Rangers, an elite corps opening up territory in pre-Revolutionary America. Spencer Tracy is Rogers, with Robert Young and Walter Brennan. (DW)

7:00 a.m. (HBO Family)-- The Court Jester (1956)--Classic Danny Kaye farce of confused identities in the Middle Ages. Lots of witty verbal humor. Directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama. (MJ)

7:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Beau Geste (1939)--A story of the French Foreign Legion, filmed two other times. William Wellman directed this version, with Gary Cooper, Ray Milland and Robert Preston. (DW)

10:45 a.m. (HBO Signature)-- Bob & Carol &Ted & Alice (1969)--Paul Mazursky's comic, perceptive look at the sexual mores of the American middle class in the 1960s. With Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon. (MJ)

3:30 p.m. (HBO Plus)-- Frantic (1988)--See Saturday, at 2:00 a.m.

4:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Philadelphia Story (1940)--George Cukor directed this film adaptation of Philip Barry's stage play about a spoiled mainline socialite yearning for--well, what exactly? One critic calls it 'simply the breaking, reining, and saddling of an unruly thoroughbred,' i.e., Katharine Hepburn. (DW)

4:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- Something Wild (1986)--Melanie Griffith, in one her rare performances of substance, turns out to be trouble for Jeff Daniels, an uptight businessman. Ray Liotta is her psychotic boyfriend. Not a great film, but it has its moments. Directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)

4:15 p.m. (AMC)-- On the Riviera (1951)--Danny Kaye does his one-of-a-kind humor and plays a dual role in this farce about mistaken identities. Directed by Walter Lang. (MJ)

*7:15 p.m. (HBO Plus)-- Super Mario Brothers (1993)--See Saturday, at 10:00 a.m.

8:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Contact (1997)--An intelligent, refreshingly non-xenophobic film on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Jodie Foster plays the single-minded astrophysicist in this adaptation from the novel by the late Carl Sagan. Unfortunately, toward the end the film becomes mushy-minded and tries to make its peace with religion. (MJ)

8:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- Something Wild (1986)--See 4:00 p.m.

*8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Sergeant Rutledge (1960)--Woody Strode plays a black US cavalry officer charged with rape and murder in post-Civil War America. John Ford directed. With Jeffrey Hunter, Constance Towers. (DW)

10:00 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- Serpico (1973)--See Sunday, at 12:25 a.m.

10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Stage Door (1937)--Amusing, lively comedy-drama set in a theatrical boarding-house. Extraordinary cast includes Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Franklin Pangborn, and Jack Carson. Directed by Gregory La Cava. (DW)

12:50 a.m. (TMC)-- Men of Respect (1991)--Fascinating but largely unsuccessful attempt to translate Macbeth into a modern gangster milieu. Starring John Turturro, Peter Boyle and Rod Steiger. Directed by William Reilly. (MJ)

1:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Sergeant Rutledge (1960)--See 8:00 p.m.

2:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Annie Hall (1977)--Woody Allen's first serious effort, a semi-autobiographical film about his life and loves, likes and dislikes. Diane Keaton memorably plays his girlfriend. (DW)

Wednesday, November 25

*6:00 a.m. (Cinemax)-- Barry Lyndon (1975)--An intelligent adaptation of William Thackeray's novel about by an eighteenth century scoundrel, directed by Stanley Kubrick. (DW)

9:30 a.m. (HBO Plus)-- Frantic (1988)--See Saturday, at 2:00 a.m.

12:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Angel Face (1952)--An extravagant Otto Preminger melodrama, about a murderous girl who does in her father and stepmother. With Jean Simmons, Robert Mitchum, Herbert Marshall. Described as 'a lyrical nightmare' by one critic. (DW)

1:00 p.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:45 p.m.

1:45 p.m. (Cinemax)-- The Fifth Element (1997)--See Saturday, at 5:45 p.m.

4:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Bonjour Tristesse (1958)--A critical and disturbing look at postwar morals and manners, with a memorable performance by Jean Seberg as a selfish teenager determined to break up her playboy father's romance. (DW)

4:30 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- Young Frankenstein (1974)--See Sunday, at 6:30 a.m.

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Fortune Cookie (1966)--Billy Wilder's ultra-cynical story about a television cameraman (Jack Lemmon) injured during a football game and the attempts by his shyster lawyer (Walter Matthau) to sue for millions. (DW)

8:05 p.m. (TBS)-- Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)--The formerly blacklisted Albert Maltz wrote the script, from a story by director Budd Boetticher, about a drifter (Clint Eastwood) who helps a 'nun' (Shirley MacLaine) stage an uprising in Mexico. Veteran action filmmaker Don Siegel directed. (DW)

10:30 p.m. (HBO Family)-- Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)--The pioneer automaker (played by Jeff Bridges) and his company are destroyed by the giants of the auto industry. Director Francis Coppola obviously meant this as a parable about the independent artist versus the film industry, with Tucker standing in for Coppola. The whole thing seems oversimplified. Good performance by Martin Landau. (MJ)

11:30 p.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:45 p.m.

11:40 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- The Year of Living Dangerously (1983)--See Monday, at 1:00 p.m.

1:40 a.m. (HBO)-- The Godfather, Part III (1990)--See Saturday, at 3:30 p.m.

2:20 a.m. (HBO Family)-- The Poseidon Adventure (1972)--Of interest because it was made when disaster films were peopled by real actors and not filled with ultra-expensive special effects, cartoonish characters, and pretty faces. The preposterous story has a luxury liner and its passengers being turned over by a gigantic ocean wave; the passengers must find their way out of the upside-down vessel. The good cast includes Gene Hackman, Roddy McDowell, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Albertson. Directed by Ronald Neame. (MJ)

4:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Bonjour Tristesse (1958)--See 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 26

*7:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Citizen Kane (1941)--Orson Welles's classic work, the tragic story of a newspaper tycoon with delusions of grandeur. Based loosely on the life of millionaire William Randolph Hearst, the film was essentially suppressed when it came out. (DW)

*8:00 a.m. (Sundance)-- Last Year at Marienbad (1961)--See Sunday, at 1:30 p.m.

9:05 a.m. (AMC)-- Friendly Persuasion (1956)--William Wyler directed this film about a family of Quakers and, therefore, pacifists, trying to survive with dignity during the Civil War. With Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, and Anthony Perkins. (DW)

9:25 a.m. (Encore)-- Charade (1963)--Delightful Hitchcockian light thriller directed by Stanley Donen. Starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau. (MJ)

*11:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Maltese Falcon (1941)--John Huston classic, based on the Dashiell Hammett novel, with Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade. Sidney Greenstreet, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre brilliantly costar. (DW)

11:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)--The story of American colonials in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War. With Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert, in one of John Ford's more modest works. (DW)

*12:00 p.m. (FXM)-- The Culpepper Cattle Company (1972)--An unjustly forgotten film about a naive young man joining up with a cattle drive. Grittily realistic depictions of the daily working life of cowboys--the kind of detail rarely shown in Westerns. A gem. With Gary Grimes, Billy 'Green' Bush and Geoffrey Lewis. Directed by Dick Richards. (MJ)

1:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)--Charles Laughton is memorable as the abominable Captain Bligh on board a British ship bound for the South Seas. Clark Gable is Fletcher Christian. Directed by Frank Lloyd. (DW)

2:30 p.m. (HBO Family)-- The Court Jester (1956)--See Tuesday, at 7:00 a.m.

3:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Marie Antoinette (1938)--Lavish MGM spectacle about the life of the doomed queen of France. Criticized in its time, it stands up to a certain extent. Robert Morley is memorable as Louis XVI; Norma Shearer is Marie. Directed by W. S. Van Dyke. (DW)

*4:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Ju Dou (1990)--Young peasant woman (Gong Li) is forced to marry an elderly factory owner and commences an affair with his nephew, in this story about China in the 1920s. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the film was banned in China. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (TCM)-- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)--Richard Lester directed this film version of the Broadway musical comedy (with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) about ancient Rome. The wonderful Zero Mostel plays a slave in a jam. Frenzied and trying too hard. (DW)

*6:00 p.m. (AMC)-- My Darling Clementine (1946)--John Ford directed this Western about the lead-up to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Henry Fonda is Wyatt Earp and Victor Mature Doc Holliday. With Ward Bond, Tim Holt, Walter Brennan. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Love in the Afternoon (1957)--Billy Wilder directed this film about the affair between a young Parisian woman (Audrey Hepburn) and a middle-aged American businessman (Gary Cooper). Maurice Chevalier is her father, a private detective. This was Wilder's first film co-written with I.A.L. Diamond. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (FXM)-- The Big Trail (1930)--An early sound picture, with John Wayne, in his first starring role, shepherding a flock of pioneers westward. Somewhat stiff and awkward, but with very nice touches. Directed with his customary vigor by Raoul Walsh. (DW)

*10:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- The Ice Storm (1997)--See Monday, at 10:00 p.m.

10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Friendly Persuasion (1956)--See 9:05 a.m.

10:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Gilda (1946)--Rita Hayworth is spectacular (singing 'Put the Blame on Mame') in Charles Vidor's drama about a love triangle in postwar South America. George Macready is a shady casino owner, Hayworth his restless wife, and Glenn Ford a new employee. (DW)

11:00 p.m. (HBO Family)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:45 p.m.

*12:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)--Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel about the making of a film in Rome. A 'garish drama' with Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton. (DW)

*2:00 a.m. (FXM)-- The Culpepper Cattle Company (1972)--See 12:00 p.m.

*2:35 a.m. (Sundance)-- Last Year at Marienbad (1961)--See Sunday, at 1:30 p.m.

2:40 a.m. (Showtime)-- Blazing Saddles (1974)--Mel Brooks's Western parody, with Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder and Madeline Kahn. (DW)

*3:15 a.m. (AMC)-- My Darling Clementine (1946)--See 6:00 p.m.

3:25 a.m. (Encore)-- The Warriors (1979)--Walter Hill's bizarre and exciting retelling of Xenophon's ancient Greek classic The March Up-Country. Set in nighttime New York City, the film shows members of a teenage gang fighting their way back to the Bronx. (MJ)

*4:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Ju Dou (1990)--See 4:00 p.m.

Friday, November 27

6:00 a.m. (TBS)-- A Fistful of Dollars (1964)--In the first of Sergio Leone's Italian Westerns Clint Eastwood, in the role that made him a star, plays the Man With No Name. The story, a remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo, involves warring families in a border town. Ennio Morricone's score is striking. With Gian Maria Volonte and Marianne Koch. (DW)

8:00 a.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:45 p.m.

10:45 a.m. (AMC)-- Back Street (1941)--One of the great tear-jerkers of all time in its second and lesser version, directed by Robert Stevenson. Margaret Sullavan is the 'back street' woman having an affair with married Charles Boyer. (DW)

*1:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--See Saturday, at 10:30 a.m.

*2:30 p.m. (Cinemax)-- William Shakespeare's 'Romeo + Juliet' (1996)--See Saturday, at 1:20 p.m.

4:00 p.m. (Showtime)-- Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)--See Wednesday, at 10:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:45 p.m.

4:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Melvin and Howard (1980)--Jonathan Demme's amusing look at the story of Melvin Dummar, the man who claimed to be the beneficiary of Howard Hughes's will. Excellent performance by the underrated Paul LeMat as Dummar. (DW)

4:15 p.m. (AMC)-- Dark City (1950)--Charlton Heston in his film debut, as a cynical lowlife who, along with a few accomplices, takes Don DeFore in a card game, with unforeseen consequences. Future 'Dragnet' co-stars, Jack Webb and Harry Morgan, are two of Heston's pals. With Lizabeth Scott and Viveca Lindfors. Directed by William Dieterle. (DW)

4:30 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- Serpico (1973)--See Sunday, at 12:25 a.m.

6:00 p.m. (TCM)-- A Day at the Races (1937)--Marx Brothers' foolishness. Set in a sanatorium where rich and hypochondriacal Margaret Dumont is the most prominent patient. Directed by Sam Wood. (DW)

*6:45 p.m. (TMC)-- Chinatown (1974)--See Sunday, at 1:40 p.m.

*8:00 p.m. (Encore)-- The Wanderers (1979)--Philip Kaufman's film is an excellent adaptation of Richard Price's fine novel about youth gangs in the Bronx in 1963. With Ken Wahl. (MJ)

10:30 p.m. (TCM)-- The Life of Emile Zola (1937)--A stolid and not particularly accurate version of the life of the French writer (Paul Muni). The final speech, in Zola's own words, is moving. Directed by William Dieterle. (DW)

*11:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--See Saturday, at 10:30 a.m.

11:45 p.m. (HBO Signature)-- Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)--See Tuesday, at 10:45 a.m.

*1:30 a.m. (TBS)-- Escape from Alcatraz (1979)--Clint Eastwood plays a convict determined to break out of Alcatraz, the supposedly inescapable prison. Based on a true story, the film methodically follows Eastwood's efforts. Directed by Don Siegel. (DW)

2:50 a.m. (Encore)-- Ishtar (1987)--One of the most famous failures in recent Hollywood history, Elaine May directed this $40 million picture, which stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. Interesting as an historical curiosity. (DW)

4:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Melvin and Howard (1980)--See 4:00 p.m.

*4:10 a.m. (TCM)-- Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)--See Thursday, at 12:30 a.m.