Happy 97th, Mr. Hitchcock, wherever you are.
"Days of Thunder" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Tom Cruise races cars around a track, with help from Robert Duvall as his legendary crew chief, Harry Hogge. Ho hum, you say. True, but this is also the movie where Cruise met his eventual leading-lady-for-life (or at least, life for now) Nicole Kidman, who would soon become Mrs. Tom. Here, she plays a neurosurgeon who likes Tom just fine, but isn't crazy about his choice of profession. CBS.
"Caroline in the City" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Does Caroline realize how deeply Richard feels for her? Maybe not. Sharon Lawrence, of "NYPD Blue," guest stars. NBC.
"Rear Window" (8 p.m.-10 p.m.), "Marnie" (10 p.m.-12: 30 a.m.), "The Thirty-Nine Steps" (1935 version, 12: 30 a.m.-2 a.m.), "Suspicion" (2 a.m.-4 a.m.) and "Blackmail" (4 a.m.-5: 30 a.m., TCM) -- Hard to go wrong with an entire evening of Hitchcock.
"Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., repeats 10 p.m.-midnight and midnight-2 a.m., TNT) -- William A. Wellman was a good director who made a handful of great films, including "Wings," "The Public Enemy" and "A Star Is Born." But more important, according to this adoring documentary produced by his son, Wellman was an ornery cuss and one heck of a man's man, once threatening to send Jack Warner to the hospital if he ever found himself alone with the studio boss. This is an interesting look at an interesting life (Wellman was also a WWI fighter pilot) that would have benefited from less talking and more film clips.
"Daniel and Pascoe: An Advancement of Learning" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., repeats 1 a.m.-3 a.m., A&E;) -- Nothing better than a case of triple murder among a bunch of upper-class English academic snobs, huh? You'll hear echoes of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" throughout this Brit detective yarn. Snappy dialogue and good acting keep things rolling along, although the denouement seems to have more to do with lucky breaks and stupid crooks than good sleuthing.
"Bull Durham" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., Lifetime) -- Bar none, this is is the best baseball movie ever made. Kevin Costner is Crash Craddock, a perpetually minor-league slugging catcher who's assigned the task of nurse-maiding a promising young pitcher with a wicked fastball and not an ounce of baseball sense. Susan Sarandon is the local gal who worships at the altar of baseball. Great stuff.
"Ballyhoo: The Hollywood Sideshow" (10: 05 p.m.-11: 05 p.m., repeats 2: 05 a.m.-3: 05 a.m., AMC) -- William Castle and Sam Arkoff never made a movie they couldn't sell -- either through lurid, splashy posters that were 10 times better than the movies themselves, or by such gimmicks as insuring every customer for $5,000, in case someone died of fright. This loving paean to men who regarded schlock as a good thing covers all the bases but suffers from one major miscalculation: having Frankie Avalon as host. His breathless, oh-wow! narration is never better than grating. The real shame is they interview the man who would have served as the perfect narrator: Baltimore's own John Waters.
Pub Date: 8/13/96