Hostage CBS, Sunday, 9-11 p.m. Stars: Carol Burnett, Carrie Hamilton, and Leon Russom. Writer: Stephen Foreman. Director: Peter Levin. Producer: Diana Kerew. ``Hostage'' is a routine crime melodrama that comes close to making the grade as serious drama through superior acting and direction.
Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton, mother and daughter in real life, portray, respectively, a widowed matron and the abused young jailbreaker who takes her hostage.
The increasingly loving relationship that develops between them in the program is especially poignant and meaningful, because of the well-publicized real-life reconciliation that took place between Miss Burnett and Miss Hamilton.
Viewers may find themselves empathizing thoroughly with the main characters as they manage to solve their immediate problems and seem well on the road to satisfying their mutual emotional needs as the plot in this two-hour film unfolds.
But the drama itself is a pastiche of familiar melodramatic themes. There's a bit of ``The Desperate Hours,'' for example, in the victim taken hostage in her own home and a touch of ``Night of the Hunter'' in the terrifying tracking of the young woman by an obsessed father.
Viewers will have to suspend rational thoughts as they make their way through unbelievable plot twists and inconsistent behavior on the part of everybody concerned.
But through it all, Burnett and Hamilton play their roles with such insistent skill, and Leon Russom plays the ambivalent villain so convincingly, that you come to shrug off the little voices that keep telling you not to believe a word of all this.
If you stick with it, you may even find yourself feeling, as I did, that the drama offers some insights into understanding parent-child relationships.