Man on a Ledge
Elizabeth Banks shows some pokies
and Genesis Rodriguez is down to her underwear.
Kaminska and Magdalena Muzyka in Angel Of Death
(2017) in 1080hd
I don't know who is who, but Muzyka must have a smaller, less significant part because she is a model, not an actress. No samples for this one, but I can tell you that the nudity is prolific and explicit. Quite a surprise from a conservative country like Poland.
LaLiberte in Smartass (2017) in 1080hd
Schmidt Schaller in Eine Gute Mutter (2017) in
Paltrow and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Mrs Parker and
the Vicious Circle (1994) in 1080hd
To cut on my tombstone:
Wherever she went, including here, it was against her
What was the Algonquin Round Table? It was basically an informal society of funny New York literary types who met for lunch and drinks at the Algonquin Hotel every working day throughout the early 1920s. In the period between the great wars, there was a flourishing of such intellectual drinking societies in Paris and New York. Paris had the greater literary giants like Hemingway, Joyce, and Fitzgerald, but New York had the sass and wit of people who polished funny sentences for a living. The Algonquin group included the playwrights from a time when New York's theater scene was the center of showbiz existence, and it included the newspaper columnists from the heyday of New York journalism when many newspapers competed vigorously for the most sophisticated audiences. The boisterous luncheon group at the Algonquin became so large and so famous that the hotel eventually wheeled in a large round table to accommodate their numbers and placed it in the center of the dining area to accommodate their ever-increasing value as a tourist attraction. Because so many in the Algonquin society were journalists with daily or weekly columns to fill, the Round Table's daily bon mots were dutifully recorded and became not only famous but also the acknowledged standard for witty badinage in their era.
One fact tells you about all you need to know about the film: although its characters were said to be the wittiest people in the world, Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated for the Golden Globe as the best actress in a drama. Given the group's reputation as an association of the funniest people then alive, one would expect this film to glitter with non-stop wit and fun. There is some of that of course. Some of the film's best scenes are re-created highlights of the group's famed luncheons, and were actually filmed at the Algonquin, which still stands on West 44th Street, largely unchanged to this day, but the author seems to subscribe to the cliché that all clowns hide broken hearts, and at its core the film is a "laugh in the face of tragedy" drama about the inability of Dorothy Parker, the group's ringleader and sharpest tongue, to find happiness. As the film's official blurb notes, "Her barbed wit was fueled by alcohol and flirted with despair."
The film even provides its own mature and too, too serious self-analysis in the form of a psychiatrist character who latches on to the famous group, and reminds them how dysfunctional it is to feel a constant need to amuse one another like children at recess. The shrink nags Dorothy about finding some deeper connections with people. He might have added that Dorothy may have come to a happier old age if she had done anything in her youth besides making nasty comments about people. Her acerbic wit and almost unfailingly negative judgments of others, coupled with her alcoholism, had long-term repercussions on her personal life. In defense of her integrity, one might note that Parker was just as harsh in judging herself as she was in judging others. The shrink character was right to have so many misgivings about the hollow pseudo-happiness of the Round Table, but one would expect him to be right considering that he actually represents the omniscient voice of a screenwriter who knew with perfect hindsight what would eventually happen to all of the neo-Arthurians. Dorothy herself would eventually shoulder her way through various bad relationships, endless affairs, failed romances, infidelities, repeated suicide attempts, and alcoholism before turning into a pathetic drunken has-been in her final days.
(For reasons presumably related to a desire for focus and compression, the script ignored the contribution made by Parker's radical leftist politics to her declining status in Hollywood during the McCarthy Era.)
Jennifer Jason Leigh offered an odd voice characterization as Dorothy Parker, using a clipped Northeastern delivery which was long on bitter mumbling under her breath, and short on vulnerability. It sounded like the result of Katharine Hepburn getting drunk and deciding to impersonate W.C. Fields. Some critics praised Leigh's ability to capture the real Parker. I don't know whether that quirky interpretation did in fact render a facsimile of Dorothy Parker since I have never heard the voice of the real Parker, a fact for which I am grateful if she sounded like this. Given the mumbled lines from Leigh and others and the Altmanesque overlapping dialogue, I decided to watch the film with English subtitles, a process which I recommend, since by doing so I picked up some good lines from the captions which I would otherwise have missed. (Note: I viewed an earlier DVD release which is now out of print. The newer DVD does not offer English sub-titles. I don't know about the Blu-Ray.)
The scriptwriters try to shoehorn in just about everyone who was in the entertainment field in any capacity in the twenties, with most of them showing up at the table to say, "Hello, my name is _____," as if living nametags. Many, if not most, of these cameos are pointless. The brilliant humorist Will Rogers introduces himself to the group, for example, but the interaction of America's greatest down-home comedian with America's funniest group of uptown intellectuals produces neither amusement nor anything which furthers the storyline, so the audience is left wondering why the screenwriter felt Rogers's appearance to be worthwhile. Rogers's appearance was symptomatic of the film's greatest weakness. There are simply too many characters, and few of them are developed in any way. The script seems like an exercise to test one's cultural literacy. Even if you already know quite a bit about the group and admire their achievements, you will be struggling to tell the players in this game without a scorecard. If you are not already conversant with their exploits, you should not look to this film for enlightenment. It is a film which preaches to the choir, and was made for people already in on the jokes - not those people who will laugh at the famous witticisms, but people who will nod in recognition of them.
One wonders what the real point of the film is supposed to be. The main take-away from the film seems to be that Dorothy Parker would have been a nicer and happier person if the great romantic love of her life, supposedly playwright Charles MacArthur, had loved her back. Is that accurate? More important, even if it is accurate, is this hackneyed romantic angle the best reason to make a movie about this group? I think most of you could probably think of a better one, like simply capturing the legendary wit of the Round Table on film. The strength of the premise is the fact that a good percentage of the dialogue could be taken from Bartlett's quotations, since the group's persiflage represented some of the best puns, wordplay, and wisecracks of some of the 20th century's most famous wits. I wish there had been more laughter and cameraderie. Frankly, I would have preferred if the script had stayed with the "clowns as funny guys" angle rather than slipping into "clowns are really heartbroken guys" mode.
I found this comment at IMDb to be insightful and useful:
There was another side to the story -- a healthier, less appalling, less depressing side. To discover "the rest of the story", I highly recommend Harpo Marx' autobiography "Harpo Speaks". Although Harpo also recalls the scathing insults and practical jokes that were a central part of the story of this Round Table group, his book relates a number of hugely funny and sometimes heart-warming scenes that indicate that at least some of these people truly cared for each other and expressed strong positive feelings in many different settings. In short, Harpo's stories (e.g. several "croquet fanatic" episodes) offer a telling comedic counterpoint to Mrs. Parker's almost continually cynical and self-pitying pathos. Read Harpo's book to balance out the negative. You'll be glad you did.
I agree completely. Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle is a respectably good movie, but given the potential of the subject matter, one can't help but view it as a missed opportunity. Dorothy's life, or perhaps Harpo's book, would make a great subject for a multi-part series in a format like Masterpiece Theater.