Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle (1994)



Director:  Alan Rudolph

Starring:  Jennifer Jason Leigh (Dorothy Parker), Campbell Scott (Robert Benchley), Matthew Broderick (Charles MacArthur), Peter Gallagher (Alan Campbell), Jennifer Beals (Gertrude Benchley), Andrew McCarthy (Eddie Parker), Wallace Shawn (Horatio Byrd), Martha Plimpton (Jane Grant), Sam Robards (Harold Ross), Lili Taylor (Edna Ferber), James LeGros (Deems Taylor), Gwyneth Paltrow (Paula Hunt), Nick Cassavetes (Robert Sherwood), David Thornton (George S. Kaufman), Heather Graham (Mary Kennedy Taylor).

1920s New York intellectual circle meeting at Algonquin Hotel with writer Dorothy Parker being at the center. 



Spoiler Warning:




Historical Background:


1893  --  Dorothy Rothschild born in Long Branch, New Jersey where the family was on vacation.  Her father was Jewish and her mother Protestant.  She grew up on the upper West Side of Manhattan. 

1897  --  at age 4, her mother died.

She attended the Blessed Sacrament Convent School.  Later she went to a finishing school in Morristown, New Jersey.

1902  --  at age 9, her step-mother died. 

1906  --  at age 13, her formal education ended.

1912  --  her uncle, Martin Rothschild, went down with the the Titanic.

1913  --  at age 20, her father died.

1916  --  Dorothy sold her first poem to Vanity Fair magazine and got a job as an editorial assistant for its sister magazine, Vogue.

1917  --  she moved on to a job at Vanity Fair.

1917  -- she met and married a Wall Street broker, Edwin Pond Parker II.  They were almost immediately separated by World War I.

1919  -- she got her big break when she was a stand-in for the vacationing P. G. Wodehouse, writing theatre criticism for Vanity Fair.

At the magazine she made friends with Robert Benchley and Robert E. Sherwood.  They began lunching at the Algonquin Hotel.  They were joined soon by newspaper columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Alexander Woolcott, as well as Harold Ross and many others.  Dorothy became famous for her witticisms, many of them sarcastic and cynical.

1920  --  she was fired from Vanity Fair.  (Benchley and Sherwood resigned in protest.) She now started earning her living as a freelance writer. She separated from her husband, and had affairs with reporter-turned-playwright Charles MacArthur and publisher Seward Collins.

1925  --  Harold Ross founded The New Yorker.  Parker and Benchley were soon considered part of the staff.

1929  --  her best-known story "Big Blonde" was awarded the O. Henry Award as  the most outstanding short story of the year. 

1930s  --  she helped found the Anti-Nazi League in Hollywood.  (She was drifting away from some of her Round Table friends.)

1934  --  she married Alan Campbell, an actor hoping to become a screenwriter.  Many thought he was bisexual.  The couple moved to Hollywood and worked on more than fifteen films and were paid handsomely. 

1937  --  the film A Star is Born came out.  She and Campbell, along with Robert Carson, wrote the script, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing - Screenplay.

1947  --  she and Campbell divorced.

1950  --  she remarried Campbell. 

1950  --  the Red Channels publication claimed that Dorothy was a Communist.  During the McCarthy era, the FBI started investigating her and she was placed on the Hollywood blacklist. 

1957 to 1962   --  she wrote book reviews for Esquire.

1963  --  death of her husband, Alan Campbell. 

1967  --  at age 73, she died of a heart attack at the Volney Apartments in New York City.


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