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The Cat's Meow (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 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.

Director:

Peter Bogdanovich

Writers:

Steven Peros (screenplay), Steven Peros (play)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirsten Dunst ... Marion Davies
Edward Herrmann ... W.R. Hearst
Eddie Izzard ... Charlie Chaplin
Cary Elwes ... Thomas Ince
Joanna Lumley ... Elinor Glyn
Jennifer Tilly ... Louella Parsons
Claudia Harrison ... Margaret Livingston
Victor Slezak ... George Thomas
James Laurenson ... Dr. Daniel Goodman
Ronan Vibert ... Joseph Willicombe
Chiara Schoras ... Celia
Claudie Blakley ... Didi
Ingrid Lacey Ingrid Lacey ... Jessica Barham
John C. Vennema ... Frank Barham
Steven Peros ... 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:

A Triangle... A Murder... A Secret... Don't Tell. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Everybody Charleston See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$111,037, 14 April 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,209,481, 20 June 2002

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,646,994
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title of the film was a popular slang phrase in the 1920s that meant the equivalent of "really cool", "great", "the best". See more »

Goofs

As the Charleston dancers file out of the dining room, led by the saxophonist and banjo player, the sax and banjo sounds fade out, but so do the sounds of a piano and drum kit (which remain in the room). 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 ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The characters, entities, and events depicted and the names used in this motion picture are ficticious. Any similarities to any actual persons living or dead or to any actual entities or events is entirely coincidental and unintentional. See more »

Connections

Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: The Cat's Meow See more »

Soundtracks

Say It With Music
(1921)
Performed by Paul Whiteman
Written by Irving Berlin
Courtesy of The RCA Music Group
A Unit of BMG Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting semi-fictional tale of Hollywood folklore
5 June 2003 | by FilmOtakuSee 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.

--Shelly


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