What to Watch. . .

What to Watch. . .

When you have too little free time -- Take a second to catch ''A Salute to Friz Freleng'' and ''Duck Soup''

When you have too little free time

1 A Salute to Friz Freleng (1949-58, Warner, unrated)
He's the cartoon director who specialized in Tweety versus Sylvester and Bugs Bunny versus Yosemite Sam, and here he shines in eight mini-masterworks. They only last seven minutes apiece, but they're jammed with enough split-second double-take timing to keep you chuckling for hours.

2 New York Stories (1989, Touchstone, PG)
Forget tales two and three (from Francis Coppola and Woody Allen) and savor Martin Scorsese's ''Life Lessons,'' about a painter (Nick Nolte) and his girlfriend (Rosanna Arquette). It runs 44 minutes, but it captures the pain of a whole life lived in thrall to art.

3 Footlight Parade (1933, MGM/UA, unrated)
This meticulously choreographed Busby Berkeley musical is ideal for those with itchy fast-forward fingers: You'd be crazy not to zip past all those awful expository dialogue scenes to the dance numbers, especially Jimmy Cagney's tireless hoofing in the finale.

4 Duck Soup (1933, MCA/Universal, unrated)
In 70 minutes, the Marx Brothers divide, insult, and conquer a country. If even that's too long a furlough from life, rent Hannah and Her Sisters, find the 97-minute mark, and catch Woody Allen's tribute to Soup's healing powers.

5 The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978, Pacific Arts, unrated)
Sample any of the note-perfect Beatle-song parodies in this mockumentary and you've caught the inspired groove. And the whole career-spoofing, Brit-accented ride only lasts 78 rippingly funny minutes.

By Jason Cochran, Steve Daly, Glenn Kenny, Lois Alter Mark, Chris Nashawaty, Tim Purtell, Michael Sauter, and J.R. Taylor

Originally posted Aug 04, 1995 Published in issue #286 Aug 04, 1995 Order article reprints
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