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Prime-Time Flicks

October 29, 1995|Kevin Thomas

Fans of Elvira won't be disappointed in this camp, but the notion behind the 1988 Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) seems to have been to introduce TV's erstwhile horror-picture hostess (Cassandra Peterson) to the big screen in a movie as rotten as the worst flick she ever introduced on the tube.

The 1991 remake of the classic Vincente Minelli-Spencer Tracy comedy, Father of the Bride (ABC Thursday at 8:00 p.m.), is set in a prettily lacquered suburban world. Directed by Charles Shyer, it smudges our pleasant memories and replaces them with something more smirky, complacent and hollow. The earlier film was a gentle, graceful comic nightmare. This one-with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton-seems to adore the maddening wedding conventions as much as it does the family trapped in them. As fey caterer Franck, Martin Short steals the movie.

Dark Eyes (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.), Nikita Mikhalkov's beautiful 1987 adaptation of "The Lady With the Dog" (and other Chekhov material), was made in a style reminiscent of Fellini. Marcello Mastroianni, in a poignant portrayal, plays the wealthy wastrel in love with a pure woman as time passes him by. Mikhalkov infuses the film with a carnival gaiety and bittersweet glee.

The Blue Angel (KCET Saturday at 11 p.m.) is one of the screen's great portrayals of romantic masochism--a lonely, disciplinarian professor (Emil Jannings) falls madly in love with a smoky-voiced, promiscuous chanteuse named Lola-Lola (Marlene Dietrich, in the role that made her famous) and suffers every evil consequence, excruciating humiliation and dark degradation conceivable. Based on Heinrich Mann's novel; directed (at his peak) by Josef von Sternberg.

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