World's disastrous decision

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 September, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 September, 1993, 12:00am

AFTER last week's superlative series of Silver Screen Classics (though cutting to ads mid-duel in Scaramouche was unforgivable), World comes down to earth with a crash.

Inexplicably, the station is devoting this week to disaster (in more ways than one) movies, lumped together under the umbrella title ''Dangerous Ventures''. Certainly are . . . some of us will be venturing dangerously close to the off switch.

ON the plus side, the original Airport (World 9.30pm, Original Running Time 137 mins) movie, now 23 years old, does at least have some curiosity value.

Viewers can while away the time figuring out how on earth Helen Hayes managed to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her feisty old woman routine.

The plot, based on Arthur Hailey's book, revolves around a desperate man taking out massive insurance policy then boarding a plane with a bomb.

Fine, except after the bomb's blown up there's still two hours to go as the plane struggles on looking for somewhere to land - that somewhere just happens to be snowbound of course.

Meanwhile, on the ground, airport manager Burt Lancaster is not only struggling with the airborne crisis, but also an unhappy wife; a troublesome affair with employee Jean Seberg; and a philandering brother-in-law Dean Martin, pilot of the troubled planeand lover of air hostess Jacqueline Bisset whom he's impregnated. Got that? With enough cliches flying around to sink a ship - but that's another disaster movie - Airport and its ghastly sequels had to be sent up sooner or later, and Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers did a splendid job with Airplane in 1980. Do yourselves a favour, watch that instead.

DEVOTED fans may have waited up until 4am this morning to see the Men's Final of the US Open tennis live. All others can catch the replays on Pearl at 9.30pm, or on Prime Sports at 12.30pm, 8pm today or 4am tomorrow.

THERE'S only one reason to view Romance on the Orient Express (STAR Plus 8.30pm, ORT 104 mins) and that's to see Sir John Gielgud effortlessly stealing the show with a flamboyant performance that gives the film its only verve.

Those being upstaged are Cheryl Ladd (Charlie's Angels) and Stuart Wilson (Anna Karenina) as an estranged couple who rekindle their romance.

WITH only 10 days to go before the decision on the venue for the Olympics 2000, The Pearl Report (Pearl 7.20pm) asks how much support there is here for China's bid to be host. Is Beijing 2000 a nationalist dream, it asks, or is it simply a commercial proposition? BBC documentary series On the Line (BBC 9.25pm) follows a similar theme in an episode about a rigorous training programme the Chinese authorities have developed for young athletes, apparently confident that the games are theirs.

IT appears that rat races are not confined to old Hamlin. Spurred on by a report of a rat falling from the ceiling of a Hong Kong restaurant on to the plate of a horrified diner, Janine Graham courageously sets out to size up HK's rat problem on Inside Story (World 8.30pm).

DANGEROUS Moves (World 12.40am, ORT 100 mins) is an intriguing thriller focusing on the intense rivalry between a Soviet chess champ (Michel Piccoli) and his former pupil turned defector (Alexander Arbatt) as they face off in the world chess championships. Winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar, it's compelling for the underhand tactics employed by each side, to distract the other player, and the way both men are shown to be as much pawns as the chess pieces with which they play.