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Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994)

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Dorothy Parker remembers the heyday of the Algonquin Round Table, a circle of friends whose barbed wit, like hers, was fueled by alcohol and flirted with despair.


Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Campbell
Gertrude Benchley
Eddie Parker
Horatio Byrd
Jane Grant
Deems Taylor (as James LeGros)
Mary Kennedy Taylor


Dorothy Parker remembers the heyday of the Algonquin Round Table, a circle of friends whose barbed wit, like hers, was fueled by alcohol and flirted with despair. Written by Cleo <frede005@maroon.tc.umn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


New York in the 1920's. The only place to be was the Algonquin, and the only person to know was Dorothy Parker. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 November 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mrs. Parker and Mr. Benchley  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)


$2,144,667 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to the article "Back to the Round Table With Dorothy Parker and Pals. . ." published in 'The New York Times' on 29th August 1993, star Jennifer Jason Leigh was so dedicated to doing this movie that Leigh did it for what she says was "a tenth of what I normally get for a film". See more »


Dorothy Parker: But I can't understand what God is saying, because he's got a mask over his face. Isn't that just like Him?
See more »


Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #1.1 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

The Dark Side of Fame...
26 June 2000 | by (Morro Bay, Hammett Valley, Twin Rocks) – See all my reviews

I found this movie totally enjoyable from start to finish. Maybe because Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of the most superb actresses of our time (and of course ignored!!!). Or maybe because I love period pieces with lavish attention to detail in the costumes and production designing. Or maybe because I am always entertained by true stories of humanity. I think in this movie's case, it is all three. This is another portrait of the dark side of fame. Leigh did a wonderful job being Mrs. Dorothy Parker, a 1920s poet and magazine writer who drank (during prohibition New York) and caroused with a large, mouthy group of professionals in the writing and stage business. It's easy for anyone to relate to the lonliness Mrs. Parker feels in this boisterous "circle" of shallow, back-stabbing people. In spite of her gift for smooth, haunting, beautiful poetry (much of it recited in this movie), Mrs. Parker is not happy or fulfilled. Rather she is misunderstood, isolated and self-depreciating. She ends up losing a job over salary disputes, losing her husband to alcohol, and falling deeply and hopelessly in love with the married Charles McArthur (Matthew Broderick), who impregnates and betrays her. Mrs. Parker's only comfort in life is the friendship she has with Bob Benchley (an excellent Campbell Scott). Leigh, speaking with a facinating accent, brings sadness and cynicism to Mrs Parker with perfection.

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