Short takes

For a while there, it looked like Sylvester Stallone might have to play Rocky forever, since his other efforts -- "FIST," "Paradise Alley" -- had a habit of bombing out. Now that may be changing: Universal Pictures, and a director named Bruce Malmuth, have cast Stallone as a tough city cop in Nighthawks. It's a nasty picture at times (in its language and its violence), and the story makes as little sense as the pointless terrorist scheme our hero tries to squelch. Though some sequences have the impact of a runaway jackhammer, its lack of intelligence is equaled only by its disdain for taste. Yet it looks like a solid hit with the public, and that would be a needed boost for Stallone's career. Let's hope it pays off in his next project, the inevitable

"Rocky III" -in which, according to Hollywood scuttlebutt, our favorite boxer runs for mayor of Philadelphia!

Of all Hollywood|s great ladies, Barbara Stanwyck has appeared in more good pictures -or at least interesting pictures -than just about anyone else. So she seemed a fit honoree for the recent gala tribute held by the Film Society of Lincoln Center (even though this event perpetuated the dubious practice of honoring movie stars more energetically than moviemakers). Between speeches by the likes of Anne Baxter and Frank Capra, film clips reminded us that Stanwyck could do absolutely anything, from the high comedy of "The Lady Eve" to the dark shock of "Double Indemnity." Naturally the evening ended with the last scene of "Stella Dallas," an exalted moment in the history of schlock. Watching a decade-long career condensed to a couple of hours must be like seeing your life flash before your eyes. but Stanwyck bore the occasion with grace, saving she still couldn't imagine why anyone would want to pay her such awesome tribute. "When they called," she said, thought they were looking for Barbara Streisand! "

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