Razors hurt you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.”
MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRCLE
Dir. Alan Rudolph
Screenplay: Alan Rudolph, Randy Sue Coburn
With: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Campbell Scott, Matthew Broderick, Peter Gallagher, Jennifer Beals, Andrew McCarthy, Wallace Shawn, Martha Plimpton, Sam Robards, Lili Taylor, James LeGros, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Graham, Stephen Baldwin, Tom McGowan, Rebecca Miller
What is it about:
During the 1920’s there was flappers, prohibition, the end of WW I, a surge of brilliant writers and new magazines and the infamous and sometimes notorious Algonquin Round Table. Known for their sharp wit and stinging reviews, this circle of critiques and writers were the center of New York City. But in the center of it all was the Table’s founding member and Queen: Mrs. Dorothy Parker Rothschild. Mrs. Parker had a tongue of razors when it came to wit and while everything was fun and games on the outside, her love life and career were much to be desired. Yet, through her hardships, she remained the Queen of the Algonquin Hotel’s Round Table. This film covers her love affairs and her times with the Round Table and takes a close look at her intimate friendship with Robert Benchley.
Cephas’ notes and spoilers:
I first wondered about a certain woman named Dorothy Parker after I heard a song by Prince on his 1987 double Cd album, Sign ‘O’ The Times. The song was called “The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker”. So when it came time to do a paper for a college class on American poets, I chose Mrs. Parker so I could learn more about this mysterious woman that is the subject of a song by Prince. What I discovered was amazing. This woman was one of the most famous women of the world in the 1920’s. Not so much for her writings but for her razor sharp wit. In her life, she only wrote 3 books of poetry and collaborated on a “Portable Mrs. Parker” and wrote dozens of short stories the most famous being “Big Blonde” which contains close to 35 references to her real life. As I became morte and more entranced with her, I needed to learn more about this very private woman who never shared her most intimate thoughts with anyone. Si much remains unknown about her private life and thoughts. She was blacklisted in Hollywood for siding with the comunists and being an activist for nearly every minority group she could find. When she died, she gave everything she had to the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. in her will. She is still celebrated today in numerous biographies and collections of her works and in this movie which is based nearly wholly on fact. Yes, I rave on this film due to my love for this wonderful woman.
RENT THIS FILM
Again, another slow film. In fact, it is VERY slow. But interesting if you want a window into the history of one of the world’s most famous women authors of the 20th century. Her wit is not well expressed in this film, but we do get a glimpse. She was a very rude and foul mouthed woman with certain views that many deemed un-womanly in her time. She was a drunk and a very loose woman. I highly recomend the PORTABLE DOROTHY PARKER to know her writing better and the biography DOROTHY PARKER: WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? by Marian Meade to know more on her life.
To Know more about DOROTHY PARKER:
Unofficial Dorothy Parker Homepage
Here are the Unofficial's pages on DP's 3 books of verse that she wrote:
Death and Taxes