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The Prince Meets the Monster


The Scene: The world premiere Tuesday of TriStar's "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" at the Cineplex Odeon. Afterward came an elegant, candle-lit dinner in the Century Plaza's ballroom. What gave the evening its extra gleam was the attendance of the Prince of Wales. It was royalty well-matched for the occasion: TriStar might have had a difficult year, but it wasn't nearly as bad the one Prince Charles had.

Who Was There: On hand to see the tale of pre-Victorian plastic surgery gone hog wild were the film's director and star, Kenneth Branagh, with his wife, Emma Thompson; co-stars Tom Hulce and Helena Bonham Carter; plus 800 guests, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Penny Marshall and studio execs Alan Levine, Stacey Snider, Marc Platt and Mark Canton.

The Royal Review: This is an opportunity that should not be missed. At the top of the ads (right above where it says how many thumbs Siskel and Ebert have) in colossal type could be the words: "Marvelous!"--Prince of Wales. Don't think someone isn't considering it.

The Royal Definition of Schmoozing: At the beginning of his dinner remarks, Prince Charles said: "I know you want to get on and eat and have a drink and generally do the things that people have to do in this part of the world. Quite what is another matter."

The Ambience: The Americans were all trying so hard to be extra good. They came early, they were seated as protocol dictates before His Royal Highness arrived. They sat quietly through every creeping inch of the credits. "It was the most sedate group I'd ever seen after a screening," said one woman. "It was a combination of all that death and all that prince."

Quoted: "I feel like a faux pas waiting to happen," comedian Margaret Cho said. "I know I did something wrong just by being here."

Real Faux Pas: The moronic protester shouting, "Jail the bloody Windsors." The inept TV crewman trying to slip into the press area wearing someone else's official ID badge (he was hustled off by more security than is imaginable), and the character in the bad toupee who was pulled away from the prince's table for unexplained reasons.

Dress Standout: Carter wore a brown Morgane Le Fay shift with detachable gloves over a chiffon skirt and a large green velvet cloak. "It's Gothic, it's theatrical and it's the most inappropriate gear to sit through a movie in," Carter said.

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