November 09, 1998 12:00 PM

Polly Walker, Vincent Perez

This romance, set outside Madrid on the eve of the Spanish civil war, swamps the audience in a wave of froth, which isn’t what one usually associates with the conflict that ended in 1939 with Francisco Franco as the country’s military dictator. But Angels bravely refuses to concede an inch to reality. The colors are soft and pretty, and Walker, hair streaming, floats through like a gorgeous somnambulist. I half expected Fabio to turn up as a matador.

Walker (Enchanted April) plays an Irish governess newly arrived to teach English to the daughters of an upper-class family. The father, a doctor, is a liberal, as is his son (Perez). Walker and Perez dance in the village square, visit ruins and fall in love. Theirs is a tango of marshmallow hearts. Recommended for impressionable governesses. (R)

Bottom Line: Deader than Franco

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