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The Cat's Meow
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The Cat's Meow (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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The Cat's Meow -- From acclaimed director Peter Bogdanovich comes an extraordinary look at a fateful excursion aboard William Randolph Hearst's private yacht in November 1924 that brought together some of the country's best known personalities and resulted in a still-unsolved, hushed-up killing.
The Cat's Meow -- 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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Down 32% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Steven Peros (screenplay)
Steven Peros (play)
View company contact information for The Cat's Meow on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 May 2002 (USA) See more »
"The Whisper Told Most Often..." See more »
Semi-true story of the Hollywood murder that occurred at a star-studded gathering aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht in 1924. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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(29 articles)
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R.I.P. Edward Herrmann
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User Reviews:
A Triumph for Bogdanovich See more (121 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Peter Bogdanovich 
Writing credits
Steven Peros (screenplay)

Steven Peros (play)

Produced by
Julie Baines .... producer
Ernie Barbarash .... co-producer
Kim Bieber .... producer
Fenia Cossovitsa .... line producer: Greece
Martin Hagemann .... line producer
Carol Lewis .... producer
Iraklis Mavroidis .... line producer: Greece
Dieter Meyer .... producer
Jason Newmark .... associate producer
Michael Paseornek .... executive producer
Wieland Schulz-Keil .... executive producer
Original Music by
Ian Whitcomb 
Cinematography by
Bruno Delbonnel (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Edward G. Norris  (as Edward Norris)
Production Design by
Jean-Vincent Puzos 
Art Direction by
Christian Eisele (supervising art director)
Susanne Hopf 
Loukas Oikonomopoulos (uncredited)
Set Decoration by
Daniele Drobny (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Caroline de Vivaise  (as Caroline De Vivaise)
Makeup Department
Mark English .... hair stylist supervisor
Jacqueline Fowler .... makeup artist (as Jacqui Fowler)
Kathleen Leersen .... assistant makeup artist
Trefor Proud .... hair designer
Trefor Proud .... makeup designer
Production Management
Nestoras Katsimichas .... production manager: Greece
Hartwig König .... production manager: Greece (as Hartwig Konig)
Sevi Morou .... assistant production manager: Greece
Martin Schlüter .... unit production manager
Tom Sternitzke .... production manager: Greece
Philip Stilman .... post-production supervisor (as Phil Stilman)
Zoi Tsochla .... assistant production manager: Greece
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tatjana Bonnet .... second assistant director (as Tatjana Jakovleski)
Gesche Carstens .... first assistant director
Art Department
Ana Montarana Alba .... assistant production designer
Marie-Jo Arnautin .... artistic painter
Friederike Beckert .... prop runner
Hubert Bock .... swing gang
Danny Burke .... prop master: Greece
Angela Dorsch .... drawer
Daniele Drobny .... set designer
Carlo Ferrante .... architect
Benjamin Forster-Baldenius .... drawer
Jens Gaube .... carpenter
Stefan Grebe .... prop buyer
Marita Götz .... constructions props
Ingeborg Heinemann .... art department coordinator
Philipp Hübner .... stand-by construction (as Paul Philipp Hübner)
Gerassimos Karvounis .... props: Greece (as Gerasimos Karvounis)
Robert Kellner .... prop runner
Claudia Kiefer .... stand-by props
Thomas Krause .... set construction
Thomas Krause .... set construction: Greece
Grit Kronacher .... set dresser
Padraic Mac Donnacha .... set construction: Greece
Natalja Meier .... construction drawing assistant (as Natalia Meier)
Christoph Merg .... prop master
Christoph Merg .... set dresser
Anne Metzen .... constructions props
Constanza Niemack .... graphics
Anja Niesler .... financial/controller: construction
Henrik Niesler .... construction manager
Jan Niesler .... construction art director
Jan Niesler .... construction supervisor: Greece
Andrea Oberlechner .... stand-by props assistant
Simon Pasiut .... set construction: Greece
Santiago Isidro Pin .... artistic painter (as Santiago Isidropin)
Christian Pralle .... set construction
Shirley Robinson .... prop buyer: London
Peter Rose .... swing gang
Ronald Rudolph .... construction runner
Markus Schroeder .... set construction: Greece (as Markus Schroder)
Marius Schroger .... architect
Roland Schwarthoff .... carpenter
John Seddal .... greens: Greece
Constanze Siedenburg .... prop designer
Holger Stark .... construction foreman
Ben Stephens .... greens: Greece
Sascha Strutz .... swing gang
Peter Stückenschneider .... set construction: Greece
Ekaterini Thomaidou .... prop buyer: Greece
Claudia Tietjen .... art department office
Christian Tircher .... set construction: Greece
Babis Triantis .... props: Greece
Günter Unterburger .... set painter foreman
Anastasis Venetis .... set construction: Greece
Tom Weber .... stand-by construction
Pete Wendler .... head of construction
Lucinda Whittle .... greens: Greece
Darius Wientzek .... architect
Philipp Hübner .... carpenter (uncredited)
Philipp Hübner .... on-set swing gang (uncredited)
Sound Department
Louis Bertini .... adr editor
Matthew C. Beville .... adr mixer: Los Angeles (as Matt Beville)
Sahin Dagdelen .... assistant sound mixer
Pam DeMetruis-Thomas .... dialogue editor (as Pam Demetruis)
Bobby Johanson .... adr mixer: New York
Robert Jäger .... sound mixer
Erik Mischijew .... sound designer
Matz Müller .... sound designer
Thomas Neumann .... foley editor
Paul Oberle .... sound mixer
Alex Raspa .... adr recordist: New York
Frank 'Talky' Regente .... boom operator
Chris Roberts .... adr: London
Günther Röhn .... foley artist
Peter Sandmann .... foley artist
Martin Schloemer .... adr recordist: Los Angeles
Simone Schulz .... foley recordist
Herbert Wüst .... boom operator
Matz Müller .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Martin Gaskell .... special effects supervisor
Camera and Electrical Department
Tobias Bauermeister .... video operator
Isabelle Casez .... first assistant camera
Birgit Dierken .... assistant camera
Nicole Dierken .... clapper loader
Gerd Domde .... studio electrician
Richard Foreman Jr. .... still photographer (as Richard Foreman)
Paul Freuer .... key grip
Harald Mellwig .... second assistant camera
Andre Poser .... electrician
Johannes Precht .... electrician
Ron Rakowski .... gaffer
Mark Ramsey .... technical supervisor: camera/grip (as Marc Ramsey)
Jorg Santjer .... electrician
Thomas Schenk .... studio electrician
Marc Spicer .... Steadicam operator
Marc Spicer .... camera operator
Danny Steinbrecher .... assistant dolly grip
Mario Suter .... studio electrician
Alexander Fischerkoesen .... director of photography: Greece, second unit (uncredited)
Jens Winkler .... assistant camera: Greece, second unit (uncredited)
Casting Department
Sarah Beardsall .... casting
Annette Borgmann .... casting: Germany
Beth Bowling .... casting: USA
Makis Gazis .... casting: Greece
Iris Müller .... extras casting
Alexandros Romanos Lizardos .... assistant casting: Greece (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Robert Isaac .... assistant costume designer
Sarah Meyer .... wardrobe
Katja Pothmann .... costume coordinator
Patricia Saalburg .... assistant costume designer
Martina Strauss .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Jason Brodkey .... first assistant editor: New York
Nina Caspers .... first assistant editor: Berlin
Chris Houghton .... assistant editor: New York
Traudl Nicholson .... color timer
Laura Weinberg .... assistant editor: New York
Music Department
Tim Boatman .... musician: drums
Bobby Bruce .... musician: violin
Tim Emmons .... musician: double bass
James Flatto .... music editor
Joel C. High .... music supervisor
Dan Levinson .... musician: clarinet and saxophone
Tom Marion .... musician: guitar and mandolin
Geoff Nudell .... musician: clarinet and saxophone
Fred Sokolow .... musician: banjo, guitar, mandolin and Hawaiian steel guitar
Chris Tedesco .... musician: trumpet
Stephanie Lynn Urcheck .... music coordinator
Ian Whitcomb .... conductor: The KFI Radio Band
Ian Whitcomb .... musician: piano, musette, accordion, ukelele and vocals
Randy Woltz .... musician: drums, xylophone, vibraphone, bells and piano
Transportation Department
Ludger Diekämper .... transportation manager
Edgar Hainke .... production driver
Michael Kraft .... production driver
Jan Kramer .... production driver
Hubert Malouschek .... production driver
Mark Naujock .... picture vehicles: historical vehicles, F.J. Kroger
Michael Schütze .... production driver
Arndt Stepper .... driver: props
Wolfgang Werner .... production driver
Patrick Wiethoff .... driver: props
Other crew
Matthias Althaus .... tag advisor
Thodoris Athanasopoulos .... caterer: Greece
Volker Beyer .... project controller
Kim Bieber .... stage producer
Heenan Blaikie .... legal
Richard Böhringer .... assistant: Mr. Bogdanovich, Berlin
Paul Cable .... insurance
Dimitris Chalilopoulos .... production assistant: Greece
Iris Chester .... executive assistant: Mr. Bogdanovich
Emily Dische-Becker .... hospitality
Annette Drees .... continuity
Geraldine East .... legal
Christian Ebner .... assistant accountant
Renate Farber .... production coordinator
Pari Garvanos .... production assistant
Luke Golden .... assistant: Mr. Bogdanovich, New York
Peter Grossman .... legal: Lichter, Grossman, Nichols & Adler
Ralf Hartmann .... business affairs: CP Medien
Arlette Heyn .... production accountant
Sarah Hunt .... assistant accountant: UK
Claudia Kalindjian .... publicist
Sandra Lohr .... production assistant
Michael Marker .... banker: Deutsche Bank Berlin
Nickoletta Marouli .... caterer: Greece
Laurie May .... business and legal affairs: Lions Gate
Felix Neunzerling .... publicist
Yiannis Nickolopoulis .... production assistant: Greece
Olga Papada .... production secretary: Greece
Simon Pasiut .... production assistant: Greece
Georgia Passali .... hospitality: Greece
Andreas Pfitzmann .... floor manager
Viola Retzmann .... production secretary
Janine Rieger .... publicity assistant
Jean-Louis Rodrigue .... movement consultant
Marie Schwarz .... runner: assistant director
Frieder Sievert .... assistant floor manager
Natascha Skara .... production assistant
David Steinberg .... legal
Jim Sternberg .... completion bond
Dominique Thibaud .... banker: National Bank of Canada
Vana Evanthia Tsantila .... assistant production coordinator
Giorgos Tzanakis .... production assistant: Greece
Jasmin Wagner .... production assistant
Frank Weidemann .... banker: Deutsche Bank Berlin
Eric Ayzenberg .... thanks
Maureen Baker .... thanks
Dennis Bartok .... thanks
Darcy Bieber .... thanks
Arpad Bondy .... thanks
Sarah Botstein .... thanks: musician
Paul Brooks .... thanks: musician
Diana Brown .... thanks: Department of Culture
Randall Burg .... thanks
Ken Burns .... special thanks
Julio D'Angelo .... thanks: musician
Marc Elsner .... thanks
William K. Everson .... thanks: in memoriam
Jeff Freilich .... special thanks
Mrs. Georgiadis .... thanks: Radio Korasidi
Stuart Goodman .... thanks
Colin Green .... thanks: Department of Culture
Hristina Hatzaridou .... thanks
Mark Hill .... thanks: musician
Wicky Kalaitzi .... thanks (as Vicky Kalatzi)
Carvin Knowles .... thanks: musician
Myrsini Kontou .... thanks
Ann Kroeber .... thanks
Gogo Lewis .... thanks
William Lewis .... thanks
Tomasz Lipinski .... thanks: musician (as Tom Lopinski)
Rose Markisello .... thanks
Mary McDonwell .... thanks: musician
Loukas Oikonomopoulos .... thanks (as Loukas Iconomopoulos)
Marty Olinick .... thanks: musician
John Peros .... thanks
Bill Rosenfield .... thanks: musician
Dimitrios Rovatsos .... thanks
Philipas Rovatsos .... thanks
Christina Russell .... thanks: musician
Larry Spier .... thanks: musician
Jenny Sullivan .... thanks
Quentin Tarantino .... special thanks
Dimitris Theocharis .... thanks
Doctor Theodosiou .... thanks
Leuteris Vourthis .... thanks
Vasilis Vourthis .... thanks
Kevin Wang .... thanks: musician

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of violence and brief drug use
114 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The first script written by Steven Peros was originally entitled Everybody Charleston.See more »
Continuity: In the opening of the film, Chaplin's hair is wind-blown in wide shots and neat in the close-ups.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...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Rewind This! (2013)See more »
La Boheme (Che Gelida Manina)See more »


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51 out of 58 people found the following review useful.
A Triumph for Bogdanovich, 28 April 2002
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon

Obsession, combined with jealousy, was the impetus for an incident that occurred in November of 1924, aboard the yacht of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, and which in the years since has become the stuff of Hollywood legend and lore. The story has many versions, but the `whisper told most often,' is the one recounted in `The Cat's Meow,' directed by Peter Bogdanovich, a dramatization of what may or may not have happened during that extended weekend birthday-party cruise in honor of pioneer film director, Thomas Ince, which included an eclectic guest list of the rich, famous and powerful. What is known, is that the party ended with the death of one of the guests, and that foul play and an ensuing cover-up have long been suspected, but never proved. And one thing is certain: Not a single person aboard the yacht at the time has ever spoken of what happened, at least not publicly; but there are those who believe to this day, that someone just may have gotten away with murder.

Once a powerful force in a young Hollywood, Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes)-- who had formed Triangle Films with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett, and later founded Paramount Studios with Adolph Zukor-- has fallen on hard times. Once responsible for forty pictures a year, he now struggles to get a single film made. And, his birthday aside, he has decided to mix business with pleasure during this cruise, pitching an idea to Hearst (Edward Herrmann), to combine their resources and make movies together. Hearst, however, has other things on his mind; rumor has it that his mistress, Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), is being courted by Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), and he has brought them together, here, to observe and decide for himself if anything untoward is going on between them. Hearst is not only in love with Davies, but is obsessed with her, as well as the course of her career, and he's not about to let this baggy-pants comic actor interfere. And Hearst, a powerful and controlling man, always gets what he wants-- and what he wants right now is for this business with Chaplin to disappear. So it is, that in the midst of celebration, paranoia overtakes the host of the party, and it's about to cast a pall over the proceedings and ultimately involve everyone aboard in one of the greatest unsolved mysteries ever to come out of Tinsel Town. It's a story that Hearst keeps out of the papers, making sure in his own way that dead men, indeed, tell no tales.

Bogdanovich successfully captures the era, as well as the mendacity of this rich assortment of characters, who are all the more intriguing for the fact that they are real people rather than the product of imagination; and it proves that fact is often more bizarre than fiction. The excesses and overindulgences of many within the Hollywood community during this period rivals anything happening today, and one of the most telling scenes in the film is when novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley) offers her take on what Hollywood really is and what it does to those who dwell within. Glyn is also the narrator of the film; a wise choice, as it adds a balanced perspective to the events as they unfold, and are summarily grounded by her often wry and incisive observations. The final words of the film are hers, in fact; a final observation that encompasses so much in so few words, that it provides an impact that makes it the perfect ending. And it makes you realize what a terrific job Bogdanovich did with this film, and how well he brought this material (screenplay by Steven Paros, which he adapted from his own play) to life.

The film is highlighted by a number of excellent and memorable performances, beginning with Herrmann as Hearst. This is possibly the best work he's ever done in his career, perfectly capturing the many facets of this extremely complex man. There's a depth to his performance that conveys not only the bravura of a powerful individual-- and one who delights in using it-- but the vulnerability, as well. He also makes you cognizant of the fact that Hearst is a man capable of almost anything, including creating his own reality, and maintaining it with his limitless resources. It's one of the subtle, underlying nuances that Herrmann brings to his portrayal, which is altogether convincing and believable.

Kirsten Dunst also rises to the occasion, turning in a remarkable performance as Marion Davies. It's a concise reflection of a young actress caught up in a situation that is at once enviable and undesirable, who manages to tactfully negotiate the sensitive issues with which she is faced with a sensibility and maturity beyond her years. And through Dunst, we see the many layers of Davies' personality; the fun-loving girl, as well as the responsible woman, who finds herself in a perpetually tentative environment and selflessly refrains from playing the prima donna or attempting to act as if she is the center of the universe-- something to which too many others who have been swallowed up by the Hollywood lifestyle over the years are prone. It's a comprehensive and convincing performance that proves that Dunst has the stuff to fulfill the promise made by her work in previous films.

The performance that surpasses them all, however, is turned in by Eddie Izzard, as Chaplin. Izzard captures the very essence of Chaplin, physically and emotionally, with a detailed portrayal of the man, created through expression and astute introspection. This is not the on-screen persona, the `Little Tramp,' but Chaplin the complex individual and artist who is presented here. Izzard brings him to life with singular nuance and depth, and it's a performance that should, by all rights, earn him an Oscar nomination. Skillfully acted and presented, `The Cat's Meow' is a memorable film that offers some insights into a town and lifestyle that few have ever experienced. 9/10.

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