Lucille Ball, the queen of television situation comedy, has come out of retirement to star in CBS' "Stone Pillow," a TV movie in which she plays a bag lady.

"I Love Lucy" fans, who are about to celebrate the 35th anniversary of television's most venerable comedy, may well wonder why she would make this film. It is a piece that is neither fish nor fowl, not funny enough to suit that special Ball talent and not deep enough to suit its serious topic, the homeless. Add a shallow supporting cast and a far-fetched ending and you have a boulder of a show that even Ball cannot keep from rolling downhill.

There are a few nice turns, as in the opening when Ball emerges from a sidewalk sleeping bag fashioned from a plastic trash sack. But basically, the viewer is left to wonder, what's a nice 74-year-old lady doing in a film like this?

The answer may lie in a comment she made recently when asked why she didn't do more comedy. "I don't want to try topping myself," said Ball, who once controlled three studios. "My pals are gone, my arenas are closed. I can't go on yelling at Gale (Gordon). And my Vivian (Vance) is gone."