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Malice in Wonderland (1985)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  12 May 1985 (USA)
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Struggling actress Hedda Hopper can't get a break in Hollywood, even though an acquaintance of hers is the extremely powerful gossip monger Louella Parsons - maker and breaker of careers (... See full summary »



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Title: Malice in Wonderland (TV Movie 1985)

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dema Harshbarger
Dr. Harry 'Docky' Martin
Leslie Ackerman ...
Harriet Parsons
Ida Koverman
Thomas Byrd ...
William Hopper
Joel Colodner ...
Andy Kenderson
Tommy Gallep


Struggling actress Hedda Hopper can't get a break in Hollywood, even though an acquaintance of hers is the extremely powerful gossip monger Louella Parsons - maker and breaker of careers (and lives) through her daily syndicated newspaper column. The big movie moguls, fed up with Parson's power over their stars, decide to de-claw her by setting up gossip Hopper as a competitor in the rumour industry. What they couldn't foresee was that Hopper would become as big as Parsons -- and every bit as much of a pain. Based on the true life stories of two of the most powerful (and arguably dangerous) women of Hollywood's heyday. Written by A.L.Beneteau <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

12 May 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rumor Mill  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jane Alexander replaced Lauren Bacall who left before filming. See more »


As the camera pans down the street, on the curb is the painted number of either a house or building. They didn't paint number signs on the curbs back then. See more »


Louis B. Mayer: I haven't destroyed a monster, I've created two.
See more »


Referenced in Charmed: Malice in Wonderland (2005) See more »

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See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Funny but not THAT funny...
13 May 2002 | by (Bucharest, Romania) – See all my reviews

The movie is a mildly funny comedy which you will laugh-out-laugh at but will forget the day after. A movie about the two Tinseltown 'divas' Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons could have been far better when its comedy source is the Hollywood 'Golden Age' struggle for who gets the better star gossip...

In short, Elizabeth Taylor(Louella) and Jane Alexander(Hedda)are rivals in the showbusiness gossip business both on the radio and in the written press. While Louella has always exploited the ones around her and has flourished by sinking to the lowest level of slime, Hedda has a ruff time getting a job as a serious actress and is forced by financial constraints to go into Louella's territory. The two become archrivals and compete for the same men who eventually become ex-husbands of both. The comedy is provided by a lot of crazy hats, food fights and a few polished dialogues which give a hint of the movie's unexplored comic potential.

Elizabeth Taylor cannot play comedy. Her performance is far-fetched and over the top with shouted lines and evil glares at Hedda. Her character remains one dimensional(vengefull forty year old seeking cat-fights) with just a faint hint at her feelings for her child. Jane Alexander on the other hand delivers a rich performance going from drama to comedy without being ridiculous. She is perfectly transformed from middle-aged actress with good moral values that keep her hungry to gossip columnist/gold-digger/Louella, the ultimate Hollywood product: someone with no spine what so ever. Yet both women manage to keep away from the ultimate state of "She'd eat her young for an extra dime!". The writers go a bit too far with the whole ‘family is sacred' idea almost trying to force upon us a moral message that the reason these two women are unhappy is because they have undermined the importance of family, of ‘women shouldn't leave the kitchen' ideas of the fifties.

The subplots are quite funny and the writer manages to slip a good dialogue from time to time. Don't get me wrong: the movie is a good comedy but not the best it could have been. Its other strongpoints (besides Alexander's performance) include the presence of a lot of Hollywood famous people of the time(1940s-1950s), a small role played by young Tim Robbins and some witty irony pointed at the big studios.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't go out of your way to see this movie (especially if you are a Liz Taylor fan...) because the are thousands of better movies you could be watching. But if you stumble over it on T.V. on a lazy afternoon you'll have a good time and it will leave you with a sweet aftertaste...

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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