The African Queen. The classic Huston-Agee riverboat romance, with an illiterate Humphrey Bogart and missionary Katherine Hepburn chugging their way through a German-filled Congo during World War I. Also, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Robert Altman's poetic, authentic northwestern--an excruciatingly honest love story. HARVARD SQUARE CINEMA. McCabe: 2:15, 6, 9:40; Queen: 4:15, 8.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue. Writer-director Sam Peckinpah's best film, a bawdy tragicomedy which epitomizes his oldtimer's vision of the diminishing West and the downfall of the American individualists it bred. Lyrical. With Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice. PUBLIX CINEMA. Ballad: 11:20, 3:10, 7. Bob etc.: 9:30, 1:25, 5:15, 9.
Fiddler on the Roof. The musical comedy, for all its shmaltz, was great, and the film is a faithful transcription. Norman Jewison directs competently, Oswald Morris's photography is breathtaking, and Topol's Tevye-virile and touching. CHERI I THEATER. 2 and 8 p.m.
The French Connection. Leave your nerve endings at home, along with your emotions, if you plan to see this one. Brutally manipulative and infuriatingly unenlightening about the cops, junkies and underworld kingpins it deals with. SAVOY II THEATER: 10, 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.
Frenzy. A surprise from the supposedly declining Hitchcock. A virtuosic mix of suspense with apt characterization and subliminal social comment, set, thank God, in London, the director's home town. For once, the audience cheers when the hero doesn't kill his enemy. CINEMA 57 II: 10, 12, 2, 4, 6, 8:10, 10:20.
Fritz the Cat. An animated send-up of youth, U.S. culture, and things in general. Based, for the most part diligently, on R. Crumb's comic books, its pornography is irresistable, its funky satire entertaining on a very low level--making this a trap for snobs. ABBEY CINEMA I:1, 2:30, 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30, 10.
The Godfather. It doesn't really come clean on the Mafia, ignoring the roots and outside effects of Cosa Nostra, but it doesn't prettify the goings-on either. Otherwise, a moving, terrifying Italian-American family chronicle, with brilliant acting by Pacino, Brando, Duvall, Caan, and first-rate direction by Francis Ford Coppola.
The Great Dictator. Chaplin made this satire on Fascism in 1939, and the politics are painful in their relative gentleness. But forget the occasional awkwardness: the man's heart was in the right place, and so were his incredible talents--particularly in a ballet of world conquest that the Fooey dances with a bouncing globe. With Jack Oakie. THE PLAZA: 7, 9:30.
Klute. Jane Fonda's Manhattan whore is one of the best female characters in American film, and one of the few honest modern ones. Don Sutherland's hick detective, a less difficult role, is just as well realized. The suspense story isn't much, but Alan J. Pakula's direction successfuly ignores it for long stretches. GARDEN CINEMA: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.
Shame. One of Bergman's glories, a chilling indictment of a passive intellectual's approach to life and death...in wartime. With Hour of the Wolf, a cinematically flashy, intellectually tired rehash of some isn't-an-artist's-life-hell? themes. BRATTLE THEATER. Shame: 6:20, 9:30. Wolf: 8.
Son of Kong. He too, died for man's sins. With Isle of the Dead, mildly entertaining Karloff horror flick. ORSON WELLES CINEMA II. Call 868-3600 for times.
To Have and Have Not. Bogart is an anti-Vichy gun-runner; Bacall, in her screen debut, gets to tell him if-you-need-anything-just-whistle. Forget Hemingway (the filmmakers did), but Faulkner helped write the script. Howard Hawks directed. Bogart is "Nietszche in dungarees" and Bacall's come-ons are hilarious. UNIVERSITY FILM SOCIETY. 105 Emerson Hall: Wednesday, 7:30 and 9:30. Admission 51.
The Graduate. Remember Simon and Garfunkel? Remember when loss of virginity was a fiery crucible for a young man's (or woman's) character? Remember when you hoped that Mike Nichols would become a good filmmaker? Neither do I. PARIS CINEMA: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.
Slaughterhouse Five. Easier to accept than the book, because here Billy Pilgrim is the whole story. Uniformly well-acted, and though it won't shoot your pecker off, it won't leave you untouched. CHERI III THEATER: 1, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8:10, 10:10.