Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle

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(out of 5)


Alan Rudolph, the mini-Robert Altman, comes up with a formless foray into the world of Dorothy Parker () and the Algonquin set of New York in the 1930s. Parker, a noted drama critic and fiction writer, was the most notable individual of a group of writers, painters, actors and other artists who gathered at Manhattan’s Algonquin hotel to such an extent that they actually became a curiosity for tourists to see. The film, which peers into the lives of most of these individuals while hinging its focus on Parker, is endlessly entertaining provided you come to it with an interest in one or more of its subjects. Leigh herself has found her perfect role:  the great wit was over the top and completely melodramatic, and the actress is marvelously smooth in her representation.  Backing her up is a magnificent performance by  as her longtime best friend Robert Benchley, plus excellent support by (among many, many others) a then-unknown  as a fictionalized version of Tallulah Bankhead,  and  as Harold Ross and Jane Grant (who started the New Yorker) and  as Show Boat novelist Edna Ferber. Lots of Parker’s work is featured here (through Leigh’s excellent dramatic readings), and Rudolph’s camerawork manages a beautifully accurate glimpse at a sunny, stylish Manhattan of yesteryear (though it’s actually filmed in Montreal).


Fine Line Features, Mayfair Entertainment, Miramax, Odyssey Entertainment, Park Bench Productions

USA, 1994

Directed by

Screenplay by Alan Rudolph, 

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1994

Cannes Film Festival 1994

Golden Globe Awards 1994


MrsParkerAndTheViciousCircle

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