Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994) - full transcript

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.

Into love and out again,

thus I went, and thus I go.

Spare your voice,
and hold your pen...

Well and bitterly I know.

All the songs were ever sung,

all the words were ever said...

Could it be, when I was young,

some one dropped me on my head?

Oh, I'm rather glad
that you caught me like this,

because it gives me
an opportunity

to give you a little talk

on the art of making
motion pictures

in your own home.

Of course, you all know
that you can...

...that you can make
motion pictures

in your own home.

All you need to have is a home

and a small camera
like this... somewhere.

And quite a lot of film,
as you see.

Oh, well.
Never mind.

Now with these essentials,

you can take pictures
of any interesting events

that may happen
in your own household.

If any interesting events
ever do happen

in your own household.

And you can make
a record of all trips

and of the progress
of the children

down the path of life.

And you can also
entertain your friends

into the bargain.

Now the other night, we had a party
of friends in for dinner.

And after dinner, instead of
going out on the town,

as they say,

or settling down
for a dull game of bridge...


Wonderful Bob.
The rest of this is voice-over.

Thank you, everyone!
An early lunch today!

Let's be back
in one hour, please.

Try to be back in one hour.

we'll be in the living room after lunch.

How are you feeling, Bob?

I'm fine.
Just hurting inside.

The top one's a corker.

Look at that.
The higher authority.

If it comes through,

it'll be the first ever

For a husband-and-wife team.

Did you hear that darling?

We could be the first husband-and-wife
team ever nominated for an Oscar.

Oh shit.
Now I'll have to see the picture.

Mr. Selznick should know
by this afternoon.


Alan, how are you?

It's good to see you.

Oh, Mrs. Parker.

Mr. Benchley.

Oh, Bob, you look terrific.

Oh well, when I dress up,

I still manage to look
like a house detective.

It's the tie.

Listen, you must come up
to Roxbury drive.

I'll whip up some tomato curry
with spring lamb.

That will be fine.

Alan enjoys whipping
young lambs.


Well, great to see you, Bob.

Darling, I'll prepare them
for our scene.

We did a little fix for Goldwyn.

He told us people want
a happy ending.

Dorothy reminded him
that in all history,

no single person
ever had such a thing.

Goldwyn doesn't know
what she's talking about.

You must tell me
the moment you know.

He can be such a Fawn's ass.

Well, Mrs. Parker,

Mr. Benchley,
out here,

the streets are
paved with Goldwyn.

Careful, man.
Stepped in something.

Little art going by.

I'm seeing Don Stewart tonight.

We're going to go out
for a hot-fudge gin.

Donny needs a break.

From his leagues
and guilds and Soviets.

Union is a five-letter word,
Mr. Benchley.

What do you know about that?

And I expect to see you

at the writers' fund raiser.

Oh, you sent me
that little card.

I couldn't make it out
with the red ink.

On the first.

I promised Gertrude and the boys

I'd launch the big Benchley
expedition that weekend.

These are not the days

for timid,
selfish little things.

Mrs. Parker,
it's no small affair,

getting all those people...

Years I've wasted being a
party girl and smartass.

You were a pretty smart
party gi...


Ready for you on the set.

Bit of a party girl myself.

Visiting hours
are over, Mr. Benchley.

Let's do it again
sometime soon, Mrs. Parker.

You'll find us
next door to Caligula.

Oh, does that hurt?

Must have been so colorful
in the twenties.

Was it?
I barely remember.

So many famous writers

are from the Algonquin roundtable,
Mrs. Parker.

Ah, but no real giants.

Just a bunch of
loudmouths showing off,

writing it up in their
columns the next day.

It's no mermaid tavern,
I promise you that.

Will you get me
a cup of coffee, dear?

They love it, darling.

They love our new ending.

Brilliant scene, Dottie.

Thank you, Farleigh.

So, how was Bob?

It's so silly.
We're all out here,

and we never see him.

Alan, Mr. Benchley
has sold out to Hollywood.


A perfect happy-ending
scene, Dottie.


How very kind of you, Seymour...

You monumental shit.

Darling, please
don't use that word.

Well, sorry,
you monumental shit.



Veronica, make your heart sing!

Just put it on the floor, dear.

And action!

I came in such a hurry,
my heart is still pounding.

And I thought it was
Valentine's day.

I suppose it was colorful.




Oh, yes.

How are you today,
Mr. Crowninshield, sir?

Oh, the mail elf is here.

Mr. Elf.

Do you have anything
for me in there?

What's with the sign?

Sorry. We're not allowed
to discuss our salaries.

Crownie's posted a memo.

There's a love letter
from a soldier in there.

A real letter?

No. Another post card.

War must have run him
short on paper I suppose.

What's the difference
between the red...

Don't touch that!

"Dear, if you can send
a cake of working soap,

I think I can arrange
to buy this castle. Ed."

Such passion.
I am overwhelmed.

"If I were better paid,"

I might feel happier about
murdering time.

In an overheated theater...

"Indeed, given the state
in which I hobbled home,"

bruised and beaten
by the mediocrity

"of both author and cast..."

My, our vines do bear
tender grapes...

"I can only guess
that my refusal"

to list their names here

is due to a lingering sense
of playground honor...

I'm not going to tell on them.

Like it, Crownie?

I would have liked it
better if it hadn't been...

Another dull thug.

From another one of
your prodigious producers.

That had nothing to do with it.

How silly of me.

Was it a very big advertisement
he was going to take out?

Not that it matters,
but, yes, a quarter page.

Benchley, why didn't you cut
that bit about her salary?

Would that it were in my power

to alter
Mrs. Parker's wages.

Get rid of that ludicrous sign.
Didn't you see my memo?

I'm hungry.
Aren't you?

No. I'm Mr. Sherwood.

Great Scott! I'm Francis
vanity fair not the morgue.

You inspire deathless prose.

I think we'd better
feed Mrs. Parker

before she gets cranky.

Be careful you know.

She bites the hand that feeds her.

Oh, I do not.
Do I?

Oh, shit.

I thought I was late.

Not so anyone would notice.

Only three hours.

What are we doing?
May I come in?

It smells like home.

Thank you.

You must be terribly hot.

No. No.
Not at all.

Oh, dear.
We can't.

Why not?

Don't you want to
feel married again?

I have to be at the
theater in half an hour.


No. Ibsen.

Who's he?

You'll like it, idiot.

Gun goes off in the third act.

So, where is this
mythical husband of yours?

Tonight I rank third
in his affections,

behind misters Hague and Hague.


I look pitiful enough.


Let's hope the actors don't put
too much glug into their lines.


Eddie, are you hungry?


Eddie, wake up.

Oh, God.

Eddie, wake up.
Wake up.

Kiss me.

Oh, I missed you.

Lady, lady, never speak of
the tears that burn your cheek...

She will never win him,

whose words had shown
she feared to lose.

Be you wise and never sad,

you will get your lovely lad.

Never serious be, nor true,

and your wish
will come to you...

And if that
makes you happy, kid,

you'll be the first it ever did.

There's the phone.

Young Mr. Benchley,
where are you going over there?


Hello, Gertrude.
It's Dorothy.

Something's come up with work.

May I speak with
Mr. Benchley, please?

One moment.

It's Dorothy.

On a Sunday.

A Sunday.

Mrs. Parker,
what happened?

Crownie fired me.

He took me out to lunch,

and then he fired me.

He didn't even have
the nerve to say why.

You and I both know why.

I've wrecked my career.

Kindly direct me to hell.

Take two aspirin,
lightly grilled.

I'll be in on the next train.


Don't tell me.

I suppose she started crying.

They fired her.

She did get a bit weepy, yes.

And then the bastard offered me

a satisfactory rate.

What does that mean?


For a few little pieces at home.

Like I'm a spoiled virgin

and no one else would have me.

You're not spoiled.

I'm not?

Just highly seasoned.

What does that mean, Bob?

What were you two doing
when I was overseas?

Nothing, ed,

which is a lot more
than you weren't doing.

Do you mind?

I'm leaving.

I was expecting a raise,
I really was.

Do you mind?

Yes, all right.
Then I'll stop.

The day will arrive

when they come to me on their
knees and beg me to drum.

There will be three
of you today?

Yes. Only three.

I wonder what
the least expensive item is

on this menu.

The eggs.

Uh, yes, I believe
I'll have the eggs.

Same for me, please.
Loosely scrambled,

like my brains.

Could I get a half-order?

Hello, guppies!

What colossal trumpery

is taking place at vanity fair?

Well, Mr. Sherwood
was replaced last week.

By the woman who gives
music lessons

to Conde Nast's daughter.

A woman, I might add,
who's so full of charm,

she's practically
panting with it.

And then Mrs. Parker
was fired...

Because, I presume,

vanity fair is a magazine
of no opinion,

and she has plenty.

And you, Benchley?

We hear your income is
running well into one figure.

Go ahead, Rob.
Tell them.

I trust this is for publication.

one can't simply repeat rumors.

And do it with some complexity.

I am resigning from
vanity fair...

There will be five of you today?

Yes. Only five.

I'm, uh... I'm resigning
from the magazine.

Because Mrs. Parker's dismissal
was remarkably stupid...

Hello, Helen!

And unfair.

Helen Hayes.

And if I've learned anything...

I've allowed them
to seat five in the booth.

I know it's a little disorderly,

but I think we can keep them
from being disruptive.

Everyone, Ross and I have set

a September date
for the wedding!


Call me Cox.

It's damned embarrassing.

And I'm keeping my maiden name.

No goddamn music!

No marching down the
aisles to Mendelssohn!

I insist on picking out
the wedding ring

and making all the arrangements.

It's settled!

We must remodel
that ghastly house

before I move in.

Does that mean you're
moving out?

you left the tub full this morning.

In the hopes
that you might take a bath.

I tell you, that house
reeks of sex.

Aleck, how would you know?

A childhood bout of the mumps

killed the impulse in me.

Don't apologize.

Celibacy sharpens the senses.

Is this a dagger
I see before me?

I think this calls for
a cele-bation.

I may not be able to vote red,

but I can certainly drink it.

Where's my bread?

I'm hungry!

Bring them some celery
and some popovers or something.

Mr. Case already
told me, sir.

Well, I knew that.

Are you nervous?
Don't be nervous.

I'll take care of you.

Your royal highnesses,
I give you Marc Connelly,

fact-finder for
the Morning Telegraph.

Ah, the chorus girl's breakfast.

Well, I don't actually write
for the Telegraph.

- 11.
- 11?

A bald man.

Feel of a strange.

It feels just like
my wife's behind.

So it does!

Ha ha ha!

Listen, everyone.

Ross is in the planning stages
of a brand-new weekly.


Something similar to what you're doing now,

Just what the world
is waiting for,

another publication for
little old ladies in Dubuque.

Don't ask us to be on your advisory board.
It'll ruin our appetites.

Speak for yourself.

Does that mean you're
interested, Aleck?

Ross, you remind me a great deal

of my grandfather's coachman.

Some horse's ass
would know the coachman.

Oh, here's Kaufman!

George, over here!

Table for one, sir?

Everyone, I'd like you
to meet my assistant

at the New York Times,
George S. Kaufman.

A Jew.

- Gesundheit.
- Shalom.

I'm no longer
your assistant, Aleck.

You haven't converted, I trust.

No, just promoted.

Feeling alright George?
You look terrible.

Terrible would be
an improvement.

- Harold Ross, American Legion Weekly.
- You shouldn't touch George.

George doesn't like
to be touched.

So how many more will there be
for lunch?

There will be two of everybody!

Mr. Case
won't like this.

Oh, well.
Case closed.

Yes, Bob?
You rang?

I... I... I'm afraid
I have...

I am resigning my position
at Vanity Fair.


Well, because my job,
if you could call it that,

as Managing Editor
is no longer attractive

without the extraordinary
talents of Mrs. Parker

and Mr. Sherwood.

This is not a reckless decision.

I'm a careful man,

one who often wears a belt,

as well as suspenders.

Bravo, Bob.

Think of us fondly, please,

as ships departing
a sinking rat.

Well, make a good union man.

What was that all about?

Uh, Mr. Woollcott,

have to remind you,
as of this week,

drinking alcohol
here is illegal.

I am interested only in things

that are illegal, immoral,
or fattening.

It's wine, not alcohol.

Ice, please.


Are you all right,
Mrs. Parker?

Oh, that man is a mess.

Kaufman... oh, I think
he's rather quick.

- Is that what his name is?
- Yeah.

Oh, I never saw such a thing.

He's a twitchy fella.

Mr. Benchley, are you
quite sure about this?

Positive, Mrs. Parker.

Listen, you can't buy the kind
of advertising they'll be giving us.

We'll be freelancers.
Oh, my God.

We'll write only what we like,

not slave over a hot desk
for people like Conde Nast.

Have you told Gertrude?


Is there a problem?

Don't worry about a thing.

I've set this kind
of fracture before

without much pain,

but we must get started

Mrs. Beemish,
please take a seat.

Does it hurt?

Oh, it's dreadful.

Please don't try to speak.

I need room to work.

We'll rent an office together,

move in,

cheer each other on.

You can try your dainty
hand at fiction,

and I'll start my history

of the queen Anne humorists...
Both of them.

Mr. Benchley...

I feel as though you're
proposing marriage.

Many torments lie
in the small circle

of a wedding ring.

What if it doesn't work?

Well, we'll just yearn a living.

But first, we need a name
for the office door.

Utica Drop Forge
and Tool company.


Robert Benchley, president.

Dorothy Parker, president.


I could kiss you,

but I'm not sure
it would come out right.

You're afraid you might

melt the gold in my teeth.


Afraid I might lose you.

I know I'm losing Eddie.

I couldn't bear losing you, too.

You'd have to wear a pretty
large hole in your pocket

to lose me,
Mrs. Parker.

Madame, Monsieur,
the eggs are getting cold.


Much better.

Have to be comfortable
when I sit down to write,

because that's where I shine.

Park Bench.


May I tell her who's called?

Does the cent sign
go before or after?


This is Mr. Nichols.

Wants to know
where your story is.


Tell him something, will you?

I'm afraid Mrs. Parker's had
some sort of an attack.

They're in the process now
of freezing her appendix.

The doctor thinks we may get it

to listen to reason this way.

Yeah. All right.


Has to be in by tomorrow.

Oh. Shit.

I may die before a train of
thought leaves the station.

Me, too.

Let's change places.

All right.

Hmm... well.
Pardon me.

Excuse me.

We'd build a little bungalow,
if you and I were one,

and carefully we'd plan it
so we'd get the morning sun.

I'd rise each day at rosy dawn

and bustle gaily down.

In evening's cool,
you'd spray the lawn

when you come back from town.

If you and I were one, my dear,

a model life we'd lead.

We'd travel on
from year to year,

at no increase of speed.

Ah, clear to me
the vision of the things

that we should do.

And so I think it best, my love,

to string along as two.

Here, dear?

Oh, to the right.

Oh, how do you do?
I'm Neyso McMain.

I'm your neighbor.

Would you like a drink?

Sworn off.
Thank you.

Oh, well, if you should
ever want to come by,

my door is open, day and night.

Hotel Algonquin.
Please hold.

O'Neill's won
the Pulitzer, Aleck!

Hey, John.
How are you?

Hello, Mr. Woollcott.
How you doing?

You know everyone.
Everyone, Will.

Mr. Benchley.

- How do you do? Robert Benchley.
- Will Rogers.

Nice to meet you, Miss Parker.

I never liked a man
I didn't meet.

Thank you, I guess.

So, Aleck, Will Rogers for president.
What do you think?

Now get out of here.

Now that women have the vote,

what do you think, ladies?

Well it is a lovely hat.

Everybody knows it's the hat
that gets you in the white house.

This must be the smallest table in
the biggest city on the planet here.

You folks got sore knees
under there?

We need a Ouija board.
We'd divine the future.

Future looks
pretty divine to me.

Georges, tell Mr. Case
I've had a great idea.

He might not believe it, sir.

If Ziegfeld changed the name
of the show...

I'm sorry.
What did you say?

Wisdom, every word.


Ross, use the word "dog"
in a sentence.

We'll give you time.

Get her a drink.

Oh yeah!
Would you like a drink?

- Welcome.
- Please, come.

Well, Neyso, I think if you
loiter in your studio long enough,

the whole world will
drift in and out.

That's the point.

Sour trumpet at the end

of a third-rate marching band.

Round of cards?
I'll get the girls.

The girls?

Yes, I'd love to.

You're a celebrity,
George, face it.

A temporary one.

There's not another kind.

My point exactly.

Come on, Don.
Ardent fidelity.

That's the first thing that
springs to your mind

when you think
of Mrs. Parker.

Well, it's not the first thing,

but gradually, I work
my way back around.

Let's take a walk through here.

I'll show you some
of Miss McMain's

useless object d'art.

Your apartment is just lovely.

You think?
It's that Slavic architecture.

It's just like a dormitory here.

Oh, ho.

Just like a dormitory here.

I was just saying, the Par...
well, here they are now.

The Parkers live just
across the hall.

That's why...

It's really so kind of you
letting Robert sleep over

when he works late.

Why sometimes I think
you see more of him than I do.

Well I'm always very modest.

You know that, Gertrude.

Well it must be wonderful to
never have babies waking you up.

They don't allow
babies in dormitories.

Not that there's anything
wrong with babies.

Oh if there were, Gertrude,
you'd be arrested by now.

Ha ha! Well...

I'm sorry. I...
I didn't understand.

For being so good with them.

Thank you.

And you are good
with them, God knows.

They worship her.

I don't think they
know who I am even.

Aren't you and Eddie anxious

to start a family of your own?

Oh, good...
heavens no.

My mother was 42
when I was born.

Of course, then she
promptly went and died on me,

so maybe waiting
isn't such a good idea.

Reminds me,
I need another drink.

- Anybody?
- Uh, no. No.

You know, my mother
was 34 when she had me,

but then again,
she had the good graces

to wait until I was 12
before she passed away.

She was always
the politest of women.

Oh, well, here's
a lovely picture...

Benchley and his two wives.

Not nice, Aleck.

Oh, come on, Sherry.

Don't say it's
an intellectual relationship.

What does that mean?

Yes, what does that mean?

In their minds,
they "mmm" like bunnies.

Oh, Mr. Benchley.

How's Eddie doing?
He seems all right.

Well, I think he's
off the morphine, anyway.

Now he wants to move
back to Hartford

to be near his family.

I don't know.

Maybe it'll be easier
for him there.

At least they know
how to keep house.

Wifely chores can be
lethal, Mr. Benchley.

Only if done properly.

You're much too hard on yourself,
Mrs. Parker.

A little garbage gives a house

that lived-in feeling.


Pull a bed sheet
over it or something.

The coward's way out?


Excuse me, please.
I must find the ladies room.

It's just to the left here.

Right around the corner there.

Do you know where
the ladies room is?

Here, take one of mine.

No, I don't drink.

All right.
It's just in the back.

Oh, uh, you've, uh,
forgotten your, uh...

Soul, as usual.

If our Mrs. Parker
used her body

the way she uses her mouth...

Dottie, 20 questions.

I'm thinking of a person.

I'm so happy for you, Ross.

Would he be the kind of man

to put the wings back on flies?

I know nothing about entomology.

Compassion, not bugs.

Who's that sitting
with deems Taylor?

Mary Kennedy.

She's consoling him
through his divorce.

But if I were you,

I would be paying more
attention to my own flanks

than to his at the moment.

Paula, I see you've met
my little husband.

Oh! So this
is Eddie.


Well, how's your arm, dear?

My arm?

Why, yes.
Dottie said you broke it.

Sharpening a pencil?

Did she?
Excuse me.

You did say that,
didn't you, Dot?

Paula, your slip is showing.

It's on purpose, dear.


How like your acting that is.

Excuse me.

Ha ha ha.

Ah, hello, Frank.

Take care of your body, Paula,

because when it goes,

you'll have nothing left.

Shouldn't you leave some
for the other guests, Eddie?

I have to exercise my arm after
all those weeks in a cast, dear.

I never said such a thing.

Sure, you did.

They know better than
to expect anything from me,

thanks to you.

You don't want to
become the town drunk, Eddie.

Not in Manhattan.

You know, I think that you
ought to drink more, dear.

Then maybe you could
stop nagging me.

I may be a dimwit
and a lousy drunk, dear,

but you and your friends...



It's ok. It's ok.
It's ok.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry. I...

I didn't know what to do,

so I... I just
held my breath.

Are... are you
all right?

I'm just so grateful
Robert doesn't drink.

His uncle did, you know,

so he's seen the damage done.

Do you really like that?

Not much.

But it's better than
a sock in the eye.

Ha ha ha!

So anyway, I asked him
if he'd ever read.

Edna Ferber's new book.

It's a very full book.

Full of what, Ross?

Full of not being edited.

And this from the editor of
American legion magazine, mind you.

You could do with a little
trimming yourself, my dumpling.

So it's thin, thinning, or needs thinning.

Three words Aleck
has never heard of.

That's almost
a subjective completion.

What Ross means is that
stories flow easily

from Edna's fingertips.

I understand she fairly
whistles at her typewriter.

And there was that poor
sucker Flaubert

just rolling around
on the floor for days,

looking for just
the right words.

Well, Dottie, I do
love your pieces,

and when Ross launches
his new magazine,

you'll have to be part of it.

No other woman
writes like you do.

Who would want to?

Listen, I read your
new piece in the smart set

over and over again, Dottie.

It was wonderful.

How sweet, Ross.

Didn't he understand
it the first time?

Alan, dust off your tutu.
It's official.

We've rented
the 49th street theater

for Sunday, April 30th.


As our treasurer, I feel
compelled to ask...

How much?

Nothing to worry about.
I made a great deal.

They gave us the sleeves
off their vests.

Kaufman should have negotiated.

He's the Christ killer.

One more slur
upon my race, Aleck,

and I'm walking away
from this table,

out of the dining room,
and away from this hotel.

I trust that Mrs. Parker will
walk out with me... halfway?

Raoul Fleischmann was 14

before he realized he was a Jew.

That's nothing. I was 16
before I realized I was a boy.

What convinced you?


Sex laws of a Newton.

Mmm. Chemin de fer.

Mirabile dictum.


What on earth
are they talking about?

And don't tell me
you understand.

Too much for your precious ears.

Why, speaking of
stage-struck Jewish nuns,

here's Edna!

You almost look like
a man today, Edna.

So do you, Aleck.

Madam Ferber's so
diligent in her duties,

I'm surprised
she's deigned to join us.

Well, coffee and sandwiches
aren't my usual,

but don't make me out
a dullard to your friends.

I always say, "there's
no good sauce for play"

like hard work."

Please, sit down.

Bite your tongue, mistress,

before our Mrs. Parker
does it for you.

Ah, the two of you split

without having written
a flop yet, hey, Marc?

That'll be the day.

Oh, flops...
These days, they're just a play

where no one wears
evening clothes.

An Edna Ferberating statement
if ever I've heard one.

Oh, that couldn't be
Ferber from the truth.

You know what I admire?

It's an artist who's got enough brio

to embrace main street.

Though the range of his works

may be from bad to horrible?

I think far too wide a stretch

is made of the word "artist,".

Because I don't think that word is elastic.

If I did, I'd be better company.

Well, I think

you're wonderful
company, Mrs. Parker.

Homemade fudge, anyone?

Edna, uh...

I love your fudge, George.

Who's the actual producer

of no good ring?

My little dream Princess,

I will plan, cast, and Polish
the entire revue

with my usual
revolutionary taste.

The devil you will.

Ladies and gentlemen,

tonight, 12 rounds in 3 acts.

Of unregulated artistic impulse.

In the well-lit corner,

the vicious circle.

Of the hotel Algonquin.


And in the darkened corner,

well, the sort of thing

one usually finds in
a darkened corner.

Tonight, the no-walkout rule

will be in effect.

And our judges this evening

will be your trampled

We shall be quite vulgar
and unduly exhibitionist,

chief characteristic
distinguishing man from beast,

and so now, as usual,
we'll shoot ourselves.

♪ We got the blues

♪ we believe we said before
we got the blues ♪

♪ They're little flappers,
never growin' up ♪

♪ And they've all been flappin'
since Belasco was a pup ♪

♪ We got the blues

♪ they've got the blues

♪ we got the blues...

♪ they've got the blues

Didn't know you played.

Yes. That was
my execution.

♪ We got the blues

♪ I'm an ingenue,
and I've got the blues ♪

♪ As everyone
can plainly see ♪

♪ It's 'cause an ingenue
must promise to ♪

♪ Imprison
her virginity ♪

♪ I check my maidenhead
in my producer's bed ♪

♪ Oh, gosh, I guess
the joke's on me ♪

♪ We got the blues...

They're extremely depressed,

and there's nothing
that I can do about it.

Ah, the prodigal bum
has returned.

How's it going?

Hey, it's great.

Why are you writing numbers?

Mmm. My report.

Report? What about
the sketch, man?

Your sketch.

- Sketch?
- Your sketch. You're next. You're on.

You wanted an account
of the finances.

That's what Connelly told me.

Don't point the scinger
of forn at me, Benchley.


- If you want to drink, ruin your life...
- Share this with...

your friend who I believe
is in need of inspiration.

Liquor makes people
behave unlike themselves.

Why on earth would you want people

to behave like themselves?

Well, in your case, I...


It's like a train station.

Don't look at me

in that tone of voice,
Mr. Benchley.

May I see that, please?

Thank you.

Oh, it's my uncle Albert.

That's exactly how he smelled.

What's it taste like?

Like it smells.

Now, give it here.

I won't be the cause
of your corruption.

My corruption?

Two minutes, you're on.

Come along and hold me up,
Mrs. Parker.

♪ Never growing up

♪ and we've all been flapping
since Belasco was a pup ♪

♪ We got the blues

they've got the blues.

♪ We got the blues...

Too bad Eddie
didn't stick around.

He likes leg and Fanny numbers.

He went back to Hartford?

And it was all going so well.

♪ ...blues ♪

♪ Copeland and Connelly,
Connelly and Copeland ♪

♪ The playwrights
of the prairie ♪

Hey, girls, how'd you like
to be in a show?


All right, let's go back
to the dressing room.

And, uh, talk.

What's funny is a laugh

wrapped inside a fact.
That's funny.

That's funny.

That would be some of our
Mrs. Parker's unprintable verse.

Come on. Come on.

You're in a Broadway theater now.
I want you to behave yourself.

Careful, please!

Oh, careful of the tomatoes.


New careers for everyone.

Very nice.

It's an obsession
with women's clothing.

Oh, you look wonderful, ravishing.

Jane, listen,
I can't go to this party.

Please, can we not go?

Get out of my way, Ross.

I'm here with
someone with talent.


Thank you, Mr. Sherwood
and your lovely companions.

Certainly, "he who gets flapped"

loses nothing in its translation
from the original Russian.

And now,

it is with a great sense
of mystery that I...

Try to pay attention,
Mrs. Parker.

Don't break a leg.

- Mr. Robert Benchley...
- I'll enter from the trenches.

And his report.

I shall, uh,

take but a very few moments
of your time this evening.

I realize that you'd much rather

be listening to this
interesting entertainment

than to a dry financial report.


But, uh, I am reminded
of a story.

Which you have probably,
all of you, heard.

Uh, it seems that there
were these two Irishmen

walking down the street,

but when they came up...
They came to a...

Oh, I should have said
that in the first place,

that the store belonging to
the Irish... the first Irishman...

The first fella's store...

Uh, well, anyway...

The, uh, parrot...

Now, in connection
with reading this report,

there are one or two points which.

Dr. Murnie wanted brought up
in connection with it,

and he has asked me
to bring them up in...

To bring them up.

The first is in regard to

the work that we are
trying to do up there

at our little place
at Silver Lake...

A work that we feel

not only fills a very definite
need in the community,

but also fills
a very definite need...

in the community.


Uh, the... I don't think

many of our members of our society

realize just how big the work
is we're trying to do up there.

For instance, I don't
think it's generally known

that most of our boys
are between the age of 14.

Uh, we feel that by taking
the boy at this age,

we can get closer
to his real nature,

and a boy has a very
real nature, you may be sure.

Dottie, I'd like you to meet my
new discovery... Baby Vomit.

Beware, her Lacy sleeve

has a bottle of vitriol
concealed in its folds.

Well get a load of this guy.

Blows into Tony's like something
cut loose from the Macy's day parade,

brings me here to meet
one of my favorite writers,

forgets my name.

Well, it's Charles.

Charlie MacArthur.

Pleased to meet you,
Mr. Vomit.

Charlie's new at the American.

Very amusing fellow from
Chicago with theatrical ambitions.

I thought I'd come
lay him at your feet

like the faithful
retriever that I am.

Bad dog, Aleck.

I heard your husband
might be away.

Well, his wife's in Chicago.

Aleck, do you meddle in
all your friends' sex lives

just because they have them?

I knew you'd be pleased.

Now, it seems to me
that the people who criti...

Why, criticize, that, uh...

The, uh, the people who...

Why, as a matter of fact, it was
done just as, uh, economically as...

as is possible.

Even more so.

Mr. Rossiter, uh,

our treasurer...


Mr. Rossiter, our treasurer,

unfortunately is
confined to his home

with a bad head cold,

and, uh, I, uh...

Excuse me.




The joke seems to be on me.

Mr. Rossiter has pneumonia.

Who is this guy?

Robert Benchley, Life Magazine.

That's Benchley,
the drama critic?

A Saint.

A Saint, no less.

Well, it's a good thing
he's so goddamn funny.

Yes, it is.
It's a goddamn good thing.

- Aleck.
- What, Ruth?

- We're next.
- Don't worry. Calm down, Ruth.

The treasurer's, uh, report.

He was the best
thing in the show,

so into my column he goes.

Robert is a writer,
not an actor.

Besides, he would never
have time for performing,

what with myself and
the boys in Scarsdale,

and his job with the magazine.

As it is, he's got to be careful

he doesn't work himself
into the ground.

I know, I've seen it
happen before, Gertrude.

Never underestimate
the power of applause.

Marc, from one's self
expect applause.

- He noblest lives and noblest dies...
- Help me. Help me, Mrs. Parker.

Well, Irving Berlin
and Sam Harris...

right behind you,
directly behind you...

want me and the
treasurer's report.

To be in their next revue.

Oh, how do you do?

Uh, ahem.
It seems that, well, I... I... I...

I... I... I...

I couldn't justify
a critic like myself being...

Well, having a paid job
on stage...

But I didn't want to offend them
and say no,

so I asked for $500,
and I thought they'd just laugh,

and the next thing I know,

Harris is gleaming at me
with those...

And saying, "for $500,
you better be awfully good."

I'm a bit flustered.
I guess we'll see what happens.

I'm Charles MacArthur.

- How do you do?
- I'm Robert Benchley. - I'm so sorry.

Excuse me. I have to
tell my... my wife.

Excuse me, Gertrude.

Would you like a drink
before kissing me?


If I don't drive
around the park,

I'm pretty sure to make my Mark.

If I'm in bed
each night by 10:00,

I may get back my looks again.

If I abstain from fun and such,

I'll probably amount to much,

but I shall stay the way I am,

because I do not give a damn.

Tim and I a-hunting went,

spied three women in a tent.

They being three, we being two,

I bucked one,
and Tim bucked two.

Oh, here's Bobby's station.

One man's descent into hell,

where we're all waiting for you.

Say hello to my father,
will you, Rob?

If I can find him.

This place ought to be closed.

By law.

Ha ha ha!

And thank you.

That's what I thought you'd say.

Rob, how do you feel?

How do I feel? I...

I must say, I...
Feel like an angel.

Ha ha!

Some friendly advice, Benchley.

The best way to avoid a hangover

is to stay drunk.

How does a sophisticated
gentleman know when he's drunk?

When he can't pronounce
sophisticated anymore.

Isn't she adorable?

She's delirious.

That's why she's adorable.

Well, to get back to me,

I was wondering how
it could have been

so awful drinking with Eddie.

And so much fun

drinking with all of you.

Is that a loaded question?

Because you're married to him.

Might be more fun sleeping
with somebody else, too.


Oh, dear, dear,

is the, um, subject in
danger of turning to sex?

No more than usual.

Because we wouldn't
want Charlie here

to think that's all
we ever talk about.

Don't look now, toots,

but no matter how much
you talk about sex,

you never know how
the other fellow does it.

Why would you want to know that?

Well, you would know

if you were an experienced woman,

but of course, it would be
bad manners to tell,

now, wouldn't it?

Cops are here.
Everybody speak easy.

Through the kitchen.

This way.

All right, everybody.

Settle down.

We're going to take
a little ride.

One at a time.
Come on.

You're coming with us
this evening.

- Nice faces.
- Lovely hats, too.

Put your drink away!

Ha ha! This is

Oh, shit! I left
my purse inside.

That's all right.
They'll return it...

Federal good manners
act and all.

Wait here.
I excel at this.


Press. The American.
Mind if I take a look?

This fella conks me on the head,

and thus goes my heart.

Ah, love conks her all.

He's wild and mad and fleet.

I may have him mounted.

Yes, one would assume.


Here we are.


- Hello!
- I'm engaged.

- He's engaged.
- Oh you are?

Then be happy.

- Lousy goddam New Yorker.
- Now, now now.

Gentlemen! Would you
strike this man?

Want to do something
about it, pip-squeak?

New York will be deprived

of its annual Gilbert
and Sullivan revival,

I think.

Oh the hell with him.
Let's walk.

Nice meeting you, however.

I love the rain.
I am sister to the rain.

My place is closest, sister.

Well just missed my last train.

I guess I'm coming, too.

I'm a late sleeper.

I'll be sure
to boil my eggs gently

and not scrape my toast.

Hello. Excuse me.

Hey, wait, there.
47th and 7th, please.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.




Thank you for the robe.


My apartment
is shamefully undeveloped

compared to yours.

Ah, well, a friend helped
me fix up the place.

I should say a few friends.

Oh, do you enjoy Swinburne?

Look... before you start
analyzing my books,

there's something
I should clear up.

You didn't pick
them out, either.

I lied when I told you

you were one of
my favorite writers.

And I lied when I smiled.

It's just that I've read
more about you...

What Dorothy Parker
thinks of this or that...

than your actual writing.

Not counting the fluff,
of course.

Fluff pays the rent.

Yeah, but if I were you,
I'd be worried.

Oh, how dare you?

How dare you?



Come here.

What, I'm supposed to worry.

Because a self-confessed
liar and sycophant

whose place looks like it's been

decorated by the Junior League

tells me to?

That's right.

I'm not going in there.


Because I've read my share.

Oh, really?


Well, did you know
that I sold a short story

that took months to write?

That's, um...

Fiction, for your information.

My low brow is not
congenital, Dot.

I saw it.

About a henpecked husband
living in the suburbs...

seemed a lot like Benchley.

Now, don't be mad.

Dream bigger.

Like you?

Yeah, like me.

And you're going to
help, I suppose.

Whatever you want.

It could be...

one of the very best.

I think you'd want to find out.

And this must be some
sort of sophisticated

Midwestern farm-boy routine.

Uh... what's my line?

- For a little person, you talk an awful lot.
- You want to hitch up a mule...

...and plow my fertile fields?

No, but I'm glad
you're by the book.

I felt we were pretty good
together for the first time.

I guess adultery takes practice.

Double adultery
cancels itself out.

Questionable logic,
but I like the theory.

What does your wife
think about it?

Ah... don't worry
about her.

We're clean.


How can you wake up
so beautiful?

Oh, Charlie.

I'm going to wear
my heart on my sleeve

like a wet, red stain.

A runaway train colliding.

You knew it was dangerous
when you introduced them.

Cupid is judged on precision,
not perils.

Don't look now, toots,

but this is the one
she's been waiting for.

Oh, it's a little
something for Woodrow.

We're engaged, everybody.

Dorothy's dog and I.


Keep it down, everybody.

...the bombs exploding
all around me.

I was overcome with a...

a powerful feeling of optimism.

So I said to myself,

"MacArthur, this is
the lowest point in your life.

From here on, everything
will be an improvement."

Get more.

Queen's bet 5.

I don't know how wonderful
they are together.

They're an ideal couple.
I'd liked to have them both ♪♪

MacArthur's got a terrific
head on his shoulders.

and a different one each night.

I remind you, there are two
sides to mistress Dorothy.

Offensive and defensive.

Our founder.

If a man pursued her,

she wouldn't be interested.

Let that man pursue
another woman, and

she'll fall deliriously
in love with him.

With claws flashing
and tears falling.

She's available, but she's the
goddamndest fortress at the same time.

Yeah, a fortress of cards.

Our founder.

She really knows how to suffer.

The greatest little
runner-downer there ever was.

Dottie can't be suffering

and still say all
those funny things.

♪ There wasn't a soul
to greet me there ♪

♪ A lone stranger
on your shore ♪

♪ But Irish luck
was with me there ♪

♪ And wishes came galore ♪

Happy birthday, Dottie.

Happy birthday, Dot.

Don't you think 29's
dangerously ripe, darling?


Just how I like 'em.

The tide's out.
The table's set.

Everybody like clams?


Come on, Marc.

Can't we just whistle for them?

They don't have ears.

Grab that.



Thank God.
Nobody saw.


I can't even get
morning sickness

when you're supposed to.

Are you sure?

- Dottie.
- Oh, Neyso, I wish the lord I weren't.

In April,

my one love came along,

and I ran the slope
of my high hill.

To follow a thread of song.

His eyes were hard as porphyry.

With looking on cruel lands.

His voice went slipping over me

like terrible silver hands.

In April,

my love went whistling by,

and I stumbled here
to my high hill.

Along the way of a lie.

Now what should I do
in this place.

But sit and count the chimes,

and splash cold water
on my face.

And spoil a page with rhymes?

Aw. What happened?

Did you fall asleep?

I went two hours in the theater

imagining you were
dead somewhere.

Oh, Jesus Christ, Dot.
I'm sorry.

Ah, don't be.
It was more entertaining

than the play I was watching.

I'll... I'll just
get dressed.

Cause that guy gave up
on the whole thing quite early

and spent most of the
evening on the floor

as a member of a
volunteer search party.

To aid the lady on my left

in retrieving a missing rubber.

Oh, I left my lipstick
here yesterday.

You know, it must be just as hard

to get that look right in life

as it is onstage.

Well, someone has to leave.

If you ask me, it ought
to be the someone

who already has
their clothes on,

but then...

you're the writers.

I'm just an actress.

Dorothy, cut the theatrics.

We're both still married.

We're in no position to...

Look, you know my situation.

And you know mine
while you're up.

I said I'd help take care of it,
and I meant it.

Here's your lipstick.

Does the gangplank
need painting?


You know I adore you,

but I'm not going to
make any excuses.

Oh, no.
Goodness, no.

It's all my fault.
Really, it is.

Well, I wish
I didn't have to go,

and let's hope I
won't be rushing back

as fast as my little
legs can carry me.

I can't tell you

how much I'll... miss you.

Just drive, please.

Where is he?

Did he telephone?

Why am I so cold?

It's the anesthesia.

We had to give you extra.

You must have been further along

than you told the doctor.

Your hangover is going

straight to the
Smithsonian, Mrs. Parker.

Once it kills me and
becomes famous, you mean.

Don't say that.

You know, there's a lesson
for all of us in this.

What's that, Sherry?

Well, I don't know.

Good night, everyone.

Yes, well,
it's getting to be that time,

isn't it?

Coming, Dot?

Time does flit.

Oh, shit.

Good night.

Damn it. My watch
has stopped.


You wound it too tightly.

Perhaps it is in need
of lubrication.

Let's go wild tonight!

There's plenty of
time to do nothing

once you're dead.

Please don't use that word.

What do you say,
Mr. Benchley?

You want to go wild tonight?

Thank you Mr. Benchley.

Mr. Benchley?



Oh, perhaps I should
see you home, Mrs. P.

We can recite crossing
the bar along the way.

What do you think?

I can't sleep worth sour apples.

I keep seeing these little...

hands and feet...

And a head full of curly hair,

just like Charlie's.

God is standing over me

in a doctor's jacket...

Shaking his long,
rubber-gloved finger.

That's very phallic.
Don't you think?

But I... I...
Can't understand

what God is saying.

Because he's got a
mask over his face.

Isn't that just like him?

Oh, you poor, hungry thing.

All right.

Up we go.


Look, Woodrow.

It's raining.

We want the rain...

The wanton rain.


Oh, you're simply all...

worn-out, aren't you?


Hungry and worn-out.


We don't want
to have a breakdown.

Got to keep you healthy.


There you are.


There you go, darling.

A nice dinner for you.

Oh, hello, Johnny.
It's Mrs. Parker.

Yes, I'll be needing you
to deliver up some dinner

before theater tonight, dear.

Oh, whatever's the special...

And a large pot of coffee.

Thank you.


All right.

Tragedies don't
kill us, Woodrow.

Messes kill us.

I can't stand messes.

Oh, where's the fucking aspirin?

The sun's gone dim,

and the moon's turned black,

for I loved him,
and he didn't love back.

You were a mess lying there...

Bleeding and drooling.

You were pathetic...

And disgusting.

Is that all?

I only know 15 adjectives.

You don't have to tie double knots,
Mr. Benchley.

These are not
your son's Oxfords.

Do you still love me, Fred?

Of course I do,
Mrs. Parker.

But you think I'm a kill-joy.

No, I don't,

but if you don't eat
more solid foods

and stay away from razor blades,

you could arouse
that suspicion in others.

I hear mice.

Shall I discourage them?

Do I look...
All right?

Now you do.

Come in.


Aside from F.P.A.,
who withers easily,

it seems as though all your
friends are here, Mrs. Parker.


And Paula, too.

It must be rough now
that Benchley and Charlie

are such good friends, huh?

It's not so bad.

I just let him ignore me.

You know, people still think

he's banging me every night,

and sometimes I
wish to God he were.

But only sometimes.

You know, he sent me
$30 for the operation.

Judas making a refund.

Oh, for Christ's sake.

There you are.

Fred, how long do you think
we can keep this thing up?

Keep what up?

You performing six nights a week

and me covering first acts.

We need the money,
Mrs. Parker.

You only need enough money
to keep body and soul apart.

Shh. Remember,
Mrs. Parker,

speak easy.

Open up.

This is a raid.

Oh, God.

Please, Mrs. Parker.

You're running a fever, Fred.

People will think I'd
beat you in private.

You're running it ragged.

Probably how I managed
to get so much done

and still look so dissipated.

I'll bet you haven't
eaten a thing all day.

Au contraire. I found a
little French place nearby,

completely without charm.

We'll have one brown
and one clear, please.

Oh, for crying out loud, Fred.

The last thing you need is that.

- What?
- What? What about your family?


I forbid you.

May I remind you,
Mrs. P., you

that I'm not a fictional creation
of hers. It could easily...

What could you possibly say
to a thing like that?

"Did you go to the circus
this year?"

Oh, no, no. Better.

"When do your tonsils
come out?"

How about "your regal
presence at the bar"

has inspired my soul
to an upheaval"?

Hmm? That's the source of
all great literature...

An upheaved soul.

I, uh... have
a question to ask.


A serious one.


Why do you think...

that we...


You and I...

That would be "we," yeah.

Have never misbehaved?

I'm referring
to what we don't do

in spite of everything.

What we don't do, hmm.

Mrs. Parker, really.

Tell me.


Well... ahem.

I suppose we respect
each other too much.

Ah. We don't respect

Well, Mrs. Parker,
suppose it didn't work.

Suppose it did.

No. No, no.

It's a lot easier to take
disappointment when you're young

or dumb or don't expect much,

but we're old and smart and...

Don't bat those
ingenue eyes at me.

You know what I'm talking about.

That's the trouble.
You know entirely too much.

Oh, gee, and I was thinking

I must not know enough,

because the things I want most

I can't seem to get.

That's because you've
forgotten how to have fun.

Oh, really?


I'll show you some fun.

- What are you doing?
- Yes, you.

What are you doing?

You looked in need
of rescue, dear.

What's your name?


Sit down, Joanie.

Joanie Gerard.

How do you do?
I'm Robert.

Are you an actress,
Joanie Gerard?

I'm a Western Union girl.

Yeah. Oh.

But I want to be an actress.

Oh, you dear, brave soul.

You're in luck.

Freddy is a talent scout,
aren't you, Fred?


Oh, well, after a fashion.

And this is Mrs. Parker,

my good friend and
favorite living writer.

But not much fun.

You're a real, living writer?

Currently on leave.

Jeez, I feel like I ought to drop a
curtsy or something.

Her curtsy, your pants, my teeth.

Ha ha! All right.

What do you say?

Shall we go wild tonight?

Yeah, Fred.
What do you say?

You want to go wild?

I could outline
several opera plots

I've been working on.


Oh, forget him, dear.

I've just been released
from our lady of malpractice,

and I want to go wild.

How do I learn how?


Uh! Uh!

Oh! Oh!

Uh! Uh!

Artists... that's why
we invite them.

Ha ha!

Bravo, George.


Mind us, you cretins!

Well played!

That wasn't very sporting, George.


Do we have a game?

I'll sing an opera.

You gentlemen see
if you can name it.

All right.

Here we go.

I would say that is,
uh... Joe Green.

Yes. It's definitely
Joe Green.

Joe Green?
Giuseppe Verdi.

Don't look now, toots,

but unmarried Yale barristers
have been spotted

cavorting on the south lawn.

Oh, a girl can get splinters

sliding down a barrister.

What else?

What about our athletic friend
down there?

He's built like a horse.

Always so optimistic.

Well, he keeps waving
his mallet in my direction.

It must mean something.

What are you doing?
This isn't polo, you cretin.

Descend from your perch,
my little mourning dove,

and show this neomalthusian
how it's done.

Mind if I join you?

You must be picking
wallflowers, Scott.

Well, Sherry, I read your latest
short story... "Extra, extra."

It was as fine a bit of
writing I've ever read...

Thank you.

Short, lean, acid, so good.

This is a magazine of the city.

A smart magazine.

And not for the little
old lady in Dubuque.

You have a title?

♪ Ba Ba Ba Ba-da

♪ Ba Ba Ba Ba-da
Ba Ba-da Ba Ba-da ♪

What's in a name?

A name is simply a name.

It's who you know, darling.

It's who you know.

Most of our friends
will be contributing.

Dorothy Parker, for one.

George Kaufman.


Bob Benchley.

They're all devoted to the idea.

They've never really heard
of anything like it and...

So, we're...

George, come here!

Is he through that wicket?

Wicket's crooked, Marc.


Whose ball is this?

You cheat.

Whose ball is this?

That's Edna's.

Oh, for God's sake!

Now what do you want to do, huh?

I've always wanted
to write a novel.

- Or a play.
- How old are you?

- 28.
- 28.

Alec you're out of time.

Don't let the time pass.

If you want to write
something, you write it.

Don't turn 40 be
wishing that you had.


Why is Harpo the only one of us

who enjoys performing like a seal?

Please don't answer that.

It's a magazine for a man

who knows his way
aound the city.

- Or want to know.
- Yes. A man not unlike myself.

What's this magazine
about, Ross...

Shipping news?

It's a magazine about New York.

For people with manners.


Well, if it's about New York,

why not call it the New Yorker?

Now, that's brilliant.


I hope you like
to gamble, Dorothy,

because I just made a bet

that I can make you smile.

Oh, I hate to see
anyone lose money.

It's so hard to find.

Don't go away. I must eat
something before I pass out.

Attention, everyone.

Maybe Dorothy would consent

to recite one of her
little things for us.

Oh! Great idea.

Well, maybe I'll just
digest my little supper

and sing for it later.

Oh, please, Dorothy.

Something bilious for dessert.

No. Something bubbly,
Mrs. Parker.

Something bubbly bilious.

Double bubbly,
but don't bill us.

Ha ha ha ha!

One more drink,
and I'll be under the host.

Oh, please, Mrs. Parker.

Do honor us with one of
your darling little poems.


Razors pain you.

Rivers are damp.

Acids stain you,

and drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren't lawful.

Nooses give.

Gas smells awful.

You might as well live.

Another cheerful poem.


- What a fascinating woman.
- Nice going.


is it true that you live in a rat-hole?

Oh, I like my apartment.

It's just big enough
to lay my hat

and a few friends.

Did you know my family's
in bird sanctuaries?

It's true.

Rather interesting.

Let's say I buy
a peacock for $5.00,

throw it up in a tree,

and then charge, oh,
any Tom, dick, and Harry

$2.00 apiece just to...

Oh, don't worry,
uh... Roger.

I don't review rehearsals.

Oh, God.

Her mind lives in a quiet room,

a narrow room, and tall,

with pretty lamps
to quench the gloom.

And mottoes on the wall.

There all the things
are wax and neat

and set in decorous lines.

And there are posies,
round and sweet,

and little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily,
apart from cold

and noise,

and pain.

And bolts the door
against her heart,

out wailing in the rain.

I think I was born
to live in a hotel.

It helps me concentrate

knowing I can
just sign for things

whenever I need them.

Yes, it's wonderful.

But, of course, the bill
always comes through

at the end of the month.

I trust that won't be a problem.

Scout's honor.

Well, I think this hotel's
always been very lucky

for writers, Mrs. Parker.

For example.

Do you have any idea how
many important plays

have been written here?

Well, well.
How fortunate.

I'm working on a play.

And if you're right,

we won't have to worry
about the rent, now, will we?

I wouldn't go away
from you for anything!

There's nothing in the world that...

No, no. Stop, please.
You mustn't move.

- Please. You mustn't move!
- Stop!

- You mustn't move on his speech!
- Stop!

- Oh, my! I can't work like this!
- Dorothy, don't you think

she ought to be
wearing a brassiere?

Oh, God, no.

We've got to have something
in this show that moves.

Good afternoon,
Mr. Benchley.


Loved the play.

Let's hope it's a big
financial success!

I owe him three
months on the rent.

Well, at least you got
fantastic reviews.

Yes. And some were even
from total strangers.

Ha ha ha!

Oh, I suppose it was dull,

and you all have my apologies.

But how can you know
about your own?

You can't.

I want to know who decided to
open it two days before Christmas.

I hear your Mr. Benchley.

Has taken up residence
at Polly Adler's brothel.

Well, that is, of course,

when he's not
with that little show girl.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt
to work that in.

The play's about Benchley
anyway, isn't it, Dot?

Look on the bright side,
Dorothy you can thank ♪♪


- Hello, Broun.
- My place has got your name.

Written all over it.

Thank you, Don.
Thank you.

Miss Hunt, how do you do?

Miss Ferber.

Well, when they laughed
at the mandolin duet,

I wanted to bash
their skulls in.

Could have used a French horn.

I think it's more
of a magnificent tragedy

than it is a comedy.

It's a wonderful play,
and that's final.

I'm afraid so.

We did a cool $90 at
yesterday's matinee.

Philip's closing it next week.


Mr. Woollcott, we really
have to clear the room

to prepare for
the dinner service.

Clear the room?

- Obviously has no taste.
- You imbecile!

Do I look like
a piece of furniture?

Well, actually,
an entire showroom

on a good day.

Ha! Let's go up to
my room, everybody.

You coming, Fred?

I think I'll catch up
with you later.

At Polly's?

Why don't we say
at Tony's, Mrs. Parker?

Thank you, sir.

Please, Mr. Benchley.

I've never been to a whorehouse.

Mrs. Parker...

It's not unlike the
theater in many ways.


No. Ha ha!

Never, I suppose.

"For Polly.
"Long may she wave".

Al Tennyson.

Mr. Benchley.

Oh, that's very good.

I prefer a real whorehouse

to the theater.

Oh, yes.

If a girl can't sing here,

she has the good
manners to fake it.

What's the going rate?

I like the looks
of that one there.

She's a guest.

Well, so am I.

Oh, Bobby,

are you going to read
to me again tonight?

Oh, another county heard from.

Um, I'd like you
to meet my good friend,

Mrs. Parker.

Mrs. Parker...

Is she all right?

I think she should lie down.

Here we are.

Yes, I think
I hit my... ass.

Take her to
the lavender room, Coco.

Yes, Miss Adler.

I'm so sorry.

- It's right this way.
- I'll go up with her.

I had medical training
in the army, you know.

Suspicions confirmed, Fred.

I am a drunken whore.

You're an artist, Mrs. Parker.

Sometimes artists
lose their balance.


I'm little Dorothy with the
curse of the Rothschilds

hanging over her head.

You're the artist,
Mr. Benchley.

No, no. Not me.

Don't lay that on me.

I've discovered I have
no real talent for writing.

I can't quit because
I'm too famous.

All right?

Here we are.

You lean down here.

I want to check
your temperature.

You need some rest,
Mrs. Parker.

Mr. Benchley...

Yes, Mrs. Parker.

Oh! Ha ha!




Goddamn it, Thurber.

Is Ross in?

Yes, but he's engaged right now.

You'll have to take a seat.

Excuse me, miss!

Reject them!
Do it over again!

Thurber's crazy.
You talk to him.

Finally! I've been
wondering what happened to you.

Do you have the article?

Yeah, this was due on the third.

Somebody was using the pencil.

You look terrible, Dottie.

Have you not been sleeping?

Woodrow Wilson died.

Yes. I heard.

About a year ago.

Last week.

You have me there.

This is not a charitable
donation, Ross.

I'm fighting them off
at the hotel,

and my bank account
is so overdrawn,

it's positively photographic.

You'll be paid eventually.
I promise.

Don't believe him, Dottie.
He owes me for years.

Jane, for Christ's sake, please.

Dottie, really,
this is just wonderful.

Herbert Spencer once said,
"a genius can do readily

what nobody else can do at all,"

and that's what I'm doing.

Look Dottie, I can't read this right now,
I've got an art meeting in 5 minutes.

That's not a thing to
be doing at my age,

sitting around making up stories

about broken-hearted sissies.

Dottie, where are you going?

Mrs. Parker.

I just wanted to see
if you still answered to that.

We are still married,
aren't we, Eddie?

I guess so.

I guess we ought to talk about
getting a divorce, then.

Not today.

I'm feeling too good.

Oh, is it catching?

Sure. Why not?

You look swell, Eddie.

Do I, really?



You look beautiful.

Oh, where the hell
are you looking?

At you.

No. I'm...

Lower than worms.

I miss feeling safe, Eddie.

I do miss that.

Is that what we were?

You could have fooled me.

You're not going
to cry, are you?

Woodrow died.

Did he?
I'm sorry.

I'm all alone again and broke.


I'm flush.

Let me buy you a present.

Now you can buy me lunch.

If you promise
not to be very dull.

I'd love to, dear, but I can't.

I'm meeting someone,
and I'm late.

Another time, though.
I insist.

I'm meeting someone, too.

It's really been
lovely seeing you.



I do not like my state of mind.

I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.

I hate my legs, I hate my hands,

I do not yearn
for lovelier lands.

I dread the
dawn's recurrent light.

I hate to go to bed at night.

I snoot at earnest, simple folk.

I cannot take the gentlest joke.

I find no peace
in paint or type.

My world is but a lot of tripe.

I'm disillusioned,

For what I think,
I'd be arrested.

I am not sick,

I am not well.

My quondam dreams
are shot to hell.

My soul is crushed,

my spirit sore.

I do not like me anymore.

I cavil, quarrel,
grumble, grouse.

I ponder on the narrow house.

I shudder
at the thought of men...

I'm due to fall in love again.

Well, I'll mention it
to her again, Mr. Case,

but there really isn't
that much I can do.

It's a very difficult situation.


I'd like to talk to you.

Cheese it, the fuzz.

Mrs. Parker.

I don't know how
he's going to feel

about an untrained puppy
piddling on his rugs.

He didn't like it much
when the trained one did.

Plus, I have to write him
another I.O.U. for the rent.

Well, they wouldn't
throw you out.

You're good for
too much publicity.

How was lunch?

Did they talk about me?

Of course they talked about you.


Learn to read, darling.

It's time to think
about serious work.

Thinking is working, isn't it?

Well, of course it is.

It's the kind that I do best.

Why don't you write
a novel, dear?

You could probably knock one off

in, say, 20 or 30 years.

Oh, yes.
Why not a novel?

I put as much work
into writing nonsense.

As I do the things that matter,

and it's the nonsense
everybody notices.

And you know what?

By the time I'm paid
for what I do,

the money's already gone.

But you can dream
on a book, can't you?


Have we ever touched?

Mrs. Parker.


What do you think we should
drink this one, too, hmm?

How about to us?

Yes, it's too bad
we don't look prettier.

We were pretty once,
though, weren't we?


You might not think it matters,

but I do.

I'll tell you why.

Because, my dear,
it all turns on that.

All those little sags and...

What is going on here?

Yes, it's London zoo.

I've had enough.

I really have.

Is that this woman's dog?

We've had these
interruptions on this set...

I did it.

Nicotine, nicotine pip-squeak.

Listen, Sergei.

This is not
the steppes of Russia.

This is the
United States of America.

So Zanuck says give him
a death scene.

That'll win an Oscar.

I'm telling you, this guy couldn't
play dead if you cremated him.

Move over.

What's wrong, Dottie?

I never worked
on a picture that I liked,

and I never worked on
a picture that liked me.

Dottie, I need a line.

There's a guy
standing on a ledge,

and his wife's
got to say something.

No. Let her push
the son of a bitch

without speaking.


Hey, Dottie. Saw Alan
on the lot this morning.

Standing right beside wardrobe.

Wearing a dress, no doubt.

Hi, Harry.


- You guys hear about Bob Benchley?
- No.

Hi, Dottie.

Hey, listen, Harry.
I need a line.

Forget about that.

Harry, what about Benchley?

He, uh, he died.

You're kidding.


Cirrhosis of the liver,

They say Marc Connelly
ran around the Stork club

looking for blood donors.

God, Benchley.

I talked to him just
before I left town.


Oh, that's just dandy.

Well, if it isn't
Mr. Dorothy Parker.

Hello, Dottie.

Thought I might as well get
my things

- out of your way.
- What's in here?

- If that's what you want.
- This is mine, you shit!

You queer!

You can't use that anymore,
and you know it.

Oh, surely not because of your
wartime adventures in London.

Everybody knows
it's a lie, Dottie,

and so do you.

Just because you fucked another
woman doesn't make it all better.

Goodbye, darling.

Oh, that's right.

Take your toys and gallop away,

And don't forget to bore a
hole in the hobby-horse,

you fucking idiot!

Oh, Fred.

Dear Fred.

You lovely, wonderful shit.

Department of Mass Hysteria
and Indecision.

The new year you
ordered is due shortly

and may be picked up
at the will-call desk.

Where have you been all evening?

Hello, Charlie!

Anyone seen my noisemakers?

Alan, you are a noisemaker!

Where are my damn noisemakers?

I think she likes you better.

Yes. Meow, too.

James, my stomach hurts.

I like champagne,
but it doesn't like me.

Oh, you're just being
modest, Mary.

Ha ha ha!

Are you nauseous, dear?

My stomach.

Your stomach.

Well, pardon my pussy.

Everywhere I draw breath
is a social hall!

Then go breathe somewhere else!

Aleck, I'm sure Jane means...


If you were a true
gentleman, Aleck,

you'd pinch my ass!

Aleck, what the hell?

Calm down, please.

Will you please
calm down, Aleck?

Didn't I give you a dollar
when I got the Giant Tuesday?

You know, Charlie,

I actually made-believe
we'd be married someday.

I even decided what to wear.

Ah, Jesus Christ, Dot.

A rather pinkish gray
with butterfly orchids.

Your passion for unhappiness

is goddamn endless.

But you're fine, aren't you?

You're all well.

Just wish you
wouldn't sentimentalize

all the time.

And I wish I never learned
to take off my clothes.

Happy new year, Charlie.


Happy new year, John Peter.

Harpo, you'll appreciate this.

The wisdom tooth...
A comedy in three acts.

Act one...

Ha ha ha!

Scene one.

It gets better.

"A men's washroom.

Four washbasins are against
the wall, running diagonally."

- Why would I ruin the night? It would be...
- Are you talking about quitting your job?

Oh, here.

Here. One of
your friends.

Why don't you tell her
about the fact

that you want to leave.

Too late, Mary.



Did he swallow a nut?

- Have you been drinking, Ross?
- Heavily.

Don't, for a minute,
think I'm not incoherent.

I would never not think that.

There you two are.

I've been toothing this
comb with a fine...

Put us back together,
Dr. Benchley.

We're broken into little bits.

What seems to be the problem?

Oh God! You, sir,
appear pained enough

to have appeared in my column.

I suppose I should say something
amusing about leaving life,

but I'm afraid I don't find
any of this amusing anymore.

What is everybody staring at?

That's rude of me.

Mr. Benchley.

Mr. Sherwood.

Mrs. Parker.

Where are you going, Robert?

Couldn't have stood another
moment of him looking at me,

thinking of what a public
clown I turned out to be.

Oh, Fred.

That's not what
he was thinking at all.



Mademoiselle Gerard!

- How did it go?
- Great.

Isn't he just the bee's knees,

Did you miss me?

Does the sun miss the stars?

Did Jackson miss-issippi?

- Cain miss Abel?
- What do you say we go wild tonight?

If you insist.

Little Miss Muffet?

Christmas cheer?

I try to worry,
Mrs. Parker,

but I can't.

Isn't anybody happy?

I feel sick to my stomach.

Tolstoy? I always found
Tolstoy rather dreary!

Poor Alvan.

You're right.
Tolstoy isn't very cheerful.

And sentimental!

Nor sentimental,
for that matter.

What's he written?

He's a doctor,
a psychotherapist.

A good one, too, actually.

Because of his understanding
of how pure sorrow

is no more possible
than pure joy.

That's hardly reasonable!

Your friends don't care
for the Russians, I'm afraid.

Come on, doctor.

Let's talk about
my sorrow and joy.

You don't mind, do you, Paula?

Why, no.

Well, at least I asked.

I'm a-Freud of that man.

Someone pay attention to me!

My great fear is being a bitter
old woman alone in her room,

who, despite
all requests for rain,

will meet her maker
on a bright, sunny day.

I don't know if this is
a terrible tragedy

or a big fucking joke.

Would you like a nut?

Could you just close the door

on your way out, please?

Oh, sit here.


Happy new year, Harp.

Well... what are you
waiting for?


Analysis is a serious business.

Would it help if I cried?

One needs an office, for
a certain amount of formality.

What if I put on a more
expensive dress and then cried?

Well, it's safe to suggest
that you... examine the need

you and your colleagues feel

to spend so much time together.

They're shits, really,
except for Mr. Benchley.

That's quite a thing to say
about your best friends.

Please be sweet.

Don't know why
I can't work anymore,

why life is
so goddamned painful.

If we identify your inability to
work as the primary problem...

It's a tossup, really,
between that

and my inability to get laid.

Then we ought to examine how
your energy is being spent instead.

What else?

Your drinking.

Oh, it doesn't do me
much good anymore,

but that's about
the extent of it.

I have to disagree.

Well, maybe it's the bad
whiskey I've been getting.

May I say, the real stuff
never made me suffer.

It's not what you're suffering,
Mrs. Parker.

It's what you're missing.

In my opinion, you and your
friends are missing a great deal.

It's a sign of insecurity,

this compulsion to be
constantly with each other,

to be constantly entertaining,

but never discussing one
subject for long, never in-depth.

The serious side of
your nature is lost...

Your purpose.

And then you can't write.

I think life is something more
than being able to breathe.

Do I have to believe
that to feel better?

Tell me about your mother.

She died when you were 5.

Actually, it was a month
before my 5th birthday.


Sometimes I...

I think I catch a
bit of her voice,

her scent,

something she once said,

and then it...
It slips away.

Oh, I suppose she loved
me and kept me warm.

And made sure I ate roughage,

but the, uh...

the truth is, I... barely
remember a thing about her.

That's no reason to be afraid.

It's good to remember.

But I'm not remembering.

I'm just guessing.

I'm guessing everything.

It would be
different, if only...


If only this.
If only that.

Where are you going, Dorothy?

I'm returning to my room.

My anxieties are waiting.
They miss me.

You think that's a good idea?

I like my room.

Everything I need is there.

Don't you think
you should stay here

until you face this
pain more directly?

Face it more directly?

Um, I face it every day.

I fall in love with married men,

but I do it on purpose.

I drink too much, and
that's because I'm thirsty.

And I write doodads because
it's a doodad kind of town.

It's, um, nothing...
personal, doctor,

but I think my version of pain

is more fun than yours.

You're up.

Mr. Kaufman.

I'm surprised to see you here.

You, me, all of Manhattan, and
parts of Schenectady, I'm sure.

Did she say anything about me?

Just a little one...
while we're up.

My dear, do let me
congratulate you.

You must be terribly proud
and happy...


Dorothy Parker.

Dorothy Parker, yeah,
the writer.

I worked with
her and her husband

in Hollywood a long time ago.

They had just remarried.

Didn't she commit suicide?

Shh. No, no, no.

- What? I'm just asking a question.
- She was very famous.

For writing movies or for
marrying the same guy twice?

For having lunch, mostly.

Ha ha ha!

Is that a double?

You didn't ask
for a double, lady.

I didn't?

I meant to.
I promise you.

I'll get you another one.

How about a little tummy rub?

Part of the romance
of digestion.

I want you to meet her.
Just for a second.

It's all right.
Go ahead. Sit.

Mrs. Parker, I hope
we're not disturbing you.


Do you remember me?

Honey, I don't
remember this morning.

Ha ha ha!

I'm Fred Hunter.

I acted in a picture that you

and your husband, Alan Campbell,

wrote several years ago...

Flight to Nowhere.

Well, I got cut out, but...

Honey, if I wrote it,

they cut me out, too.

These are two friends
of mine... Marcy and June.

This is Mrs. Parker,
Dorothy Parker.

Can we buy you a drink?

Well, sure.
Ha ha ha!

Can we get another drink
here for Mrs. Parker?

I was just telling them
about the old Hollywood days

and about your husband.

He was so, so nice to me
when we worked together.

I don't doubt it.

Unhappily... oh,
I beg your pardon.

Happily, I'm away
from Hollywood now,

and I don't have to
hear about that crap.

Whatever happened
to that director?

What was his name?
I can't remember.

He went to jail,

for being an American
in the U.S. of A.

Oh, really. Jail?

Oh, you mean
because of the... right.

Thank you.

Did you, uh, I mean...

Oh, no, no, dear.

But I bought a new hat,
just in case.

Well, there's plenty
of money in Hollywood

to buy things with.

Oh, Hollywood.

Money isn't real.

It's like...

Well, I don't know
what the money is like.

It's like small ice
in your hand.

We got to go.

Oh, okay. Great.

Mrs. Parker, we're on
our way to a movie.

Would you like to join us?

Why were you just asking
me about Hollywood?

The thing has come down
on me like a curtain,

and I don't want to
remember those things.

Why are you trying to
split these curtains to me...

Just a nice woman
trying to talk to you?

- Fred, we're going to be late.
- Just trying to...

Okay, alright great.
Well, anyway...


Always late.

Someone said they'd have to keep
heaven open after hours for him.


Well, Mrs. Parker,
it's a pleasure to see you.

You look...
It's nice to see you.


A dependable
fact-of-life cliche...

Everything's always worse
than you thought it would be.

We are here to honor
Dorothy Parker

because the clean wit
of her verse

and the sharp perceptions
in her stories.

Have produced a brilliant
record of our times.

Because of Mrs. Parker's
true talent,

her early work gives us
as much pleasure today

as it did 30 years ago.

And so...

What horse shit,

with apologies to the horses.

...happily names Dorothy Parker

as this year's recipient of the
Marjorie Peabody Waite award

for achievement and integrity.

I never thought I'd make it.

Do you miss the glamour
of the jazz age?

Glamour? They ought to
call it the dingy decade.

What disturbs you most about
American culture, Mrs. Parker?

Stupidity, intolerance, and
segregation... particularly segregation.

Is it true that you
were involved in

the Spanish Civil War?

Why do we have to go into that?
Yes, I was!

Indeed, I should like to say

it was the proudest thing
I've ever been of.

I was, for a time,

with the proudest people
I've ever been of.

And that doesn't
hurt you, you know.

What do you think of Kerouac and
the beat generation writers?

Well, you'll...
You'll take him.

I think this thing of
the beat generation...

Do you mind?

I think it's really nonsense,

and I think
in a couple of years,

they'll be forgotten.

But us, messy as we were
and all that,

we're not going to be forgotten,

because some of us
came out of it.

There came out Benchley.
There came out Fitzgerald.

There came out Hemingway.

There came out Broun.

There came out Sherwood.

Well, for heaven's sweet sake,

who's coming out
of the beatniks?

All right. Kerouac.
All right. All right.

Ha ha ha!

Have you thought about

what you'd like to have written

on your tombstone,
Mrs. Parker?

What a morbid thing
to ask a person.

You've just stolen my heart.

Actually, I have
composed something

for my epitaph.

Something memorable, I hope.

Well, I'm not a bit surprised.

Are you going to let
me know what it is?

Come here, dear.

Off we go.

Excuse me.

What did she say?