'Patton' appeals equally to war lovers and haters

Today's TV

January 30, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach At a glance

A larger-than-life subject, a great performance from an ungrateful George C. Scott and a powerful script from Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North combined to make "Patton" (9 p.m.-midnight, AMC) that rarest of rare birds, a war film favored by both hawks and doves.

Hawks loved it because no man ever went at war with more gusto than Gen. George S. Patton Jr., who believed he could single-handedly whup the Germans, if only his bosses would let him. And doves (at least 1970-era doves) appreciated his rebellious nature and disdain for authority.

Scott does a great job portraying the sort of man you'd want to have leading the troops, as long as you were nowhere near the Army. Patton loves his men and loves his country, but he loves war even more; he'll work hard and do anything to defeat the enemy, and woe to the soldier under him who's not so completely committed. (Patton almost destroyed his own career by slapping a soldier suffering from battle fatigue.) This is truly one of the great performances of American film.

Since the film is being shown in letter-box format, you'll see the entire picture and not some poor mutation with its left and right borders trimmed.

(Wondering why Scott was ungrateful? When he was nominated for an Oscar, he loudly and repeatedly insisted that he wasn't in the least interested. The Academy gave it to him anyway, and he's never picked it up.)

"Family Matters" (9 p.m.-9: 30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Conclusion of a two-part episode in which Myra (Michelle Thomas) dresses just like Laura when she and Steve go on their first date. CBS.

"Torvill and Dean: Facing the Music" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- We revisit ice-dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean as they prepared for the 1994 Games -- 10 years after their gold-medal performance in Sarajevo. Rebroadcast. PBS.

"Teen Angel" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Marty realizes his powers enable him to travel through time, which gives him the chance to change the past. ABC.

Cable

"Wild Discovery" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., repeats midnight-1 a.m., Discovery) -- "Animal Athletes." How is it that certain animals can run, jump, swim or lift so much better than the best human athletes? Nature gave them bodies that, at least in some ways, work better than those of humans.

"The Cutting Edge" (8: 05 p.m.-10: 25 p.m., TBS) -- D.B. Sweeney of the defunct "C-16" and Moira Kelly star in this 1992 romantic comedy about a beat-up hockey player and a tart-tongued skater who have hopes of pairing up and winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

Pub Date: 1/30/98

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