The Cat's Meow (2001)
Marion Davies: Nothing can happen this weekend.
Charlie Chaplin: So what are you doing next weekend?
Charlie Chaplin: Did you really believe I would stay away?
Marion Davies: No, but you should really believe I didn't want you here.
Thomas Ince: Can I be frank with you?
W. R. Hearst: You can be whoever you like.
[laughs at his own joke]
Thomas Ince: Anyhow, failure is a character builder, right Charlie?
Charlie Chaplin: I don't know, Tom. You tell me.
Charlie Chaplin: If you were starving and you had no food, would you eat your shoe?
Marion Davies: What?
Charlie Chaplin: Your shoe. Would you eat it?
Marion Davies: Um, of course I would.
Charlie Chaplin: You would?
Marion Davies: I'd have to boil it first.
Charlie Chaplin: *That's* funny.
Thomas Ince: You're a civilized man.
W. R. Hearst: Oh, and why does that surprise you, Tom?
Thomas Ince: Because you have the power to act uncivilized.
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 written in whispers. This is the whisper told most often. The yacht, you see, belonged to William Randolph Hearst.
Elinor Glyn: Only in a place like this do reporters and autograph hounds have absolutely no scruples about stampeding mourners at a funeral. Welcome to Hollywood, a land just off the coast of planet Earth.
[pause, Hawaiian guitars play "Aloha Oe"]
Elinor Glyn: After we all leave, the man in the box will disappear. Just his ashes will remain. After all, it's fire that can hurt you, not ashes.
Elinor Glyn: [in the car leaving the dock in San Diego] I am not here.
Elinor Glyn: Like others with tiny bullets hidden in their skulls, Thomas Ince held on unconscious for 2 days before dying in his own bed. There was plenty of misinformation in the days following his death, much of it coming from the Hearst press machine. Which inexplicably reported that Ince was stricken unconscious while visiting Hearst at his upstate ranch. Three weeks later the San Diego district attorney conducted an obligatory investigation, and was quote: "Satisfied that the death of Thomas H. Ince was caused by heart failure as a result of acute indigestion." He did not examine the body because Ince had been cremated immediately, and except for Dr. Goodman, no member of the boating party was ever questioned, including Hearst. The San Diego D.A. decided that the Los Angeles office continue the investigation, they politely declined.
[Charlie goes to Marion]
Elinor Glyn: [voiceover] To this day no two accounts of that weekend cruise are the same, including who, in fact, who was on the boat. There are no logs, you see, no records or photographs of any kind. And not a single person who was there wrote or spoke about that weekend, that is until significantly after the old man's death, and even then, only in riddles. Soon after Tom's death, Margaret Livingston's salary inexplicably jumped from three hundred to one thousand dollars a week. Eventually she retired to manage her husband, Paul Whiteman, the band leader who popularized the Charleston. Lolly got her lifetime contract, and for the next thirty years became the most powerful and feared gossip columnist in America. Three days after Tom's funeral Charlie married Lita Grey in Mexico. It lasted two years. He did however re-cast her role in "The Gold Rush" and re-shoot all of her scenes. Despite costing a small fortune the picture was a smashing success. It took three more years for W.R. let Marion do a full-fledged comedy. As Charlie predicted, she triumphed. She retired in 1937, but stayed by Hearst's side until his death at the age of 88.
Elinor Glyn: I've had a recurring dream recently. I am back on the Oneida, having a glorious time.
[pans to everyone dancing on the deck of the Oneida to the Charleston]
Elinor Glyn: But I'm watching how ridiculous everyone else looks, and I wonder why they don't realize it. Then I see that in fact, I too look like a fool. Yet it's so much fun that none of us can stop. If we stopped, we'd have nothing.
[out of voiceover, as Elinor on the deck]
Elinor Glyn: Come on everybody!
W. R. Hearst: You ever eaten a seagull, Tom?
Thomas Ince: No...
W. R. Hearst: God, they taste awful. Just like eating a crow.