6.4/10
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122 user 103 critic

The Cat's Meow (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 3 May 2002 (USA)
Semi-true story of the Hollywood murder that occurred at a star-studded gathering aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht in 1924.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (play)

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ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Claudia Harrison ...
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Ingrid Lacey ...
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Elinor's Driver
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Storyline

In November of 1924, a mysterious Hollywood death occurred aboard media mogul William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Among the famous guests that weekend were: film star Charlie Chaplin; starlet Marion Davies (who was also Hearst's mistress at the time); silent-film producer Thomas H. Ince (known for creating the first Hollywood-studio facility and for creating an "assembly line" system for filmmaking); and feared gossip columnist, Louella Parsons. Written by Carol Lewis, Producer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"The Whisper Told Most Often..." See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of violence and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

3 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Everybody Charleston  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$111,037 (USA) (12 April 2002)

Gross:

$3,176,936 (USA) (14 June 2002)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The characters of Didi and Celia appear to be composites of several popular film actresses of the day who were on board William Randolph Hearst's yacht during the real incident, in addition to Marion Davies and Margaret Livingston. They were Seena Owen, Jacqueline Logan, Aileen Pringle and Julanne Johnston. See more »

Goofs

The movie is set in 1924. One of the characters mentions The Lady of the Harem which wasn't released until 1926. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Man in crowd: Stop pushing! Stop pushing!
[unintelligible yells from crowd]
Man in crowd: Please, calm down!
Elinor Glyn: [voiceover] In November of 1924, during a weekend yacht party bound for San Diego, a mysterious death occurred within the Hollywood community. However there was no coverage in the press, no police action, and of the fourteen passengers on board only one was ever questioned by authorities. Little evidence exists now or existed at the time to support any version of those weekend events. History has been ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to the people of Kyparissi; Captain Kostas and the crew of the yacht "Marala" See more »

Connections

Referenced in By Bogdanovich (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

California Here I Come
(1924)
Performed by Al Jolson
Written by Al Jolson, Buddy G. DeSylva (as B.G. DeSylva) and Joseph Meyer
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
Published by Joro Music, A Division of Larry Spier, Inc., Stephen Ballentine Music, and M. Witmark & Sons (Warner Chappell),
Warner Bros. Inc. (ASCAP), Carlin Music Publishing Canada Inc. o/b/o Redwood Music Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Peter Bogdanovich is back, folks
15 May 2005 | by (Niceville, Flordia) – See all my reviews

I have to say, I thought the Cat's Meow was the cat's pajamas. Peter Bogdanovich has made a story out of an event whose outcome is still unexplained. What's more, it feels like it actually could've happened. The interactions between the characters leading up to the act are given much more screen time than the actual act itself. So when it happens, it doesn't seem preposterous at all.

The story concerns newspaper honcho William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) and company celebrating the birthday of Hollywood producer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes) on Hearst's yacht. That company includes Hearst's lover/actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), author Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), gossip columnist for Hearst's newspaper Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilley), and Tom's lover. Tom hopes to negotiate a contract with W.R. Hearst for Marion to star in his next few films, but Hearst is more concerned about the attraction between Marion and Chaplin. Elinor is nearby to dispense advice, while Louella unsuccessfully attempts to mingle. There's also a pair of party girls on board attempting to have a raucous time as possible.

The Cat's Meow has an eclectic ensemble with a Robert Altman-esquire taste to it. Edward Herrmann's role may be the most challenging, because he has to juggle eccentric, warmth, and jealousy as W.R. Hearst. Joanna Lumley is wonderfully dry. And for those like me who only remember Eddie Izzard for his droll stand-up work, he's surprising in this film. He's quite good as Charlie Chaplin. Kirsten Dunst is the biggest name on the cast. She's very fetching in the Cat's Meow, and this represents a change of pace from her dearth of Hollywood-oriented films.

As good as the cast is, this is really just as much Peter Bogdanovich's film. After the excellent Last Picture Show, he sort of faded away and made smaller films (The Thing Called Love, for example). Although The Cat's Meow will not make him a household name, hopefully maybe his work will garner more attention again. His direction is very good here.

Oh, I should also mention the costume design and music here. The production values in general are excellent in imitating the feel of that era. I was reminded a little of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (and not just the Jennifer Tilly connection). Anyways, The Cat's Meow is a good movie with interesting characters and thoughtful direction.


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