June 8, 1996 in Features

Baby Abduction Movie Tasteless, Laughable

Faye Zuckerman New York Times Syndicate
 

Kate Jackson kidnaps babies Sunday at 9 on ABC. Sound inviting? As usual, this made-for-TV peril film from 1993 offers a strong dose of poor acting, weak dialogue and contrived plot.

Jackson’s character in “Empty Cradle,” an obstetrics nurse named Rita Donahue, will have pregnant women and nurses up in arms. Donahue so easily kidnaps Jane Morgan’s (Lori Loughlin) new baby girl from the hospital.

The hospital staff is oblivious to Donahue’s unusual behavior as well as to her accomplice, a tough-looking teenager who waltzes into an operating room with a baby basket. He then freely exits the area and the hospital with a newborn. The movie would be laughable if it didn’t touch on such a serious subject.

Actually, as the tale drones on, the true villains become hospital administrators and doctors who keep denying any wrongdoing just to avoid a lawsuit. Health-care professionals may want to stay away from the cheap shots at their profession.

Sports fans might want to take note that FOX airs Game 3 of the Stanley Cup championship tonight at 5. You can catch the Chicago Bulls taking on the Supersonics in Seattle in Game 3 of the NBA finals Sunday at 4 on NBC.

Also, CBS Sports covers the French Open today at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. live from Paris.

Highlights

“Origins of Man,” NBC tonight at 8: You can catch this documentary narrated by Charlton Heston once again. Heston discusses new research regarding prehistoric man’s origin. Some of Darwin’s theories are debunked in this hour.

“Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare” (1995), ABC tonight at 9: This repeat wins for the cleverest movie title this weekend. Anyone who’s ever had to suffer through a family reunion can get vicarious pleasure here when a family of cutthroats converges gather in Florida.

“Prophecies IV: The Final Visions,” NBC tonight at 9: This occasional series, hosted by David McCallum, reports on odd occurrences and bizarre visions. This installment includes psychics, survivalists and alleged evidence of time travelers. The prophetic musings of writer Jules Vern lighten the two hours.

“Sinatra” (1992), CBS Sunday at 8; Tuesday at 9: The prime-time bio of Ol’ Blue Eyes returns for another run. You may remember this two-part tale. It was long on song and short on honesty.

The Sinatra tunes are spectacular, as is Philip Casnoff’s inspired portrayal of Francis Albert Sinatra. But the miniseries treads lightly over key aspects of Sinatra’s career.

It’s easily described as a whitewash. Hey fans, you won’t be able to resist the music and Casnoff’s ability to give some depth to the great crooner.

“Married … With Children,” FOX Sunday at 8:30 and 9: Perry Anzilotti plays a sleazeball who teams up with Bud. They want to make an exercise video starring Kelly. Need I repeat the sexist jokes? Meanwhile, pathetic Al and Jefferson attempt to put up a satellite dish. The wives take bets on the types and seriousness of the injuries the men incur during the task.

“Mad About You,” NBC Sunday at 10: One of the year’s funniest half-hours will have you laughing over corruption on a local level. It all centers on Jamie’s fast lesson on how receiving and asking favors works in the New York City political scene.

Cable Calls

“Congo” (1995), HBO tonight at 8: This African adventure, based on a Michael Crichton tale, puts you on the edge of your seat as scientists and diamond hunters cope with an ill-fated safari. Watch out for the killer gorillas. Tim Curry, Laura Linney and Dylan Walsh star.

“Salute to the ‘50s: The Reunion of the Decade,” TNN tonight at 6 and 9: Eddy Arnold and Bo Diddley are among the musicians reliving the rocking and rolling decade.

“Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limits,” DISC Sunday at 9: The science channel continues with its tradition of insightful and involving documentaries with this examination of what goes into enhancing the performance of a top competitor.


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