The Cat's Meow (2001)

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



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


In November of 1924, a mysterious Hollywood death occurred aboard media mogul William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Included among the famous guests that weekend were, Charlie Chaplin, Hearst's mistress, starlet Marion Davies, the studio system creator, producer Thomas Ince, and feared gossip columnist, Louella Parsons. Written by Carol Lewis, Producer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

3 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Everybody Charleston  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Despite the fact that Charles Chaplin actually had bright blue eyes, Eddie Izzard wore dark contact lenses to keep with the public perception of Chaplin as dark featured. Most have only seen or remember him in black and white films, and assume he had dark eyes. See more »


The trailer announces "Edward Herrmann as William Randolf Hearst". The correct spelling is William Randolph Hearst. See more »


[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 ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923) See more »


How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm? (After They've Seen Paree)
Performed by Ian Whitcomb & His Bungalow Boys
Written by Sam Lewis (as Sam M. Lewis), Joe Young and Walter Donaldson
See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting semi-fictional tale of Hollywood folklore
5 June 2003 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

The Cat's Meow is a semi-true story of a murder that occurred on William Randolph Hearst's yacht one evening in 1924. While much of the screenplay is presumably speculation, it is interesting to see the effects the murder on some of his other guests, like Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress, Charlie Chaplin and Luella Parsons, among others.

This film couldn't fail for me – its subject matter involves William Randolph Hearst, a foe of my main obsession Orson Welles, and it contained one of my favorite entertainers in the cast, Eddie Izzard as Charlie Chaplin. However, while watching the film I had to consider whether the movie was a well-written drama or simply too slow in its development, making the climax more of a let-down than anything. If the film wasn't book-ended by compelling writing that made you both look deeply into the subject matter from the beginning, then reflect on the past events at the conclusion, I would have said the latter was true. And while Eddie Izzard was fantastic as Chaplin, and Kirsten Dunst wasn't her usual irritating self as Davies, it was Joanna Lumley who I thought was the breakout star of the film. Her role was small, but integral to the progression of the film – acting as narrator, analyst and the film's conscience.

While not a fast paced, action filled film, The Cat's Meow is pleasant to experience based on its dramatic merits. Bogdanovich is more of an actor as of late than a director, but this film's character-driven dramatic elements harkens back to his best known classic, The Last Picture Show. If you are a fan of film history as I am, you will find this film interesting and thought-provoking.


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