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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:

"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:

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 first script written by Steven Peros was originally entitled Everybody Charleston. See more »

Goofs

The flag flying at the back of the yacht is the current US flag, which didn't come into use until 1959. In 1924, there were 48 stars in neat rows and columns 8 x 6. 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

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

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Breeze
(1919)
Performed by Ian Whitcomb & His Bungalow Boys
Written by Ballard MacDonald, Joe Goodwin, and James F. Hanley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A little from column A, a little from column B
21 June 2003 | by Decko_koji_obecavaSee all my reviews

First of all, this film is based on a fascinating real-life tale that's been a part of Hollywood folklore for decades and one that I, amazingly, am hearing of now for the first time.

In November of 1924. media tycoon, movie producer and one of the richest and most powerful men in America at the time William Randolph Hearst organized a lavish private cruise on his yacht with many important Hollywood players invited on board. Among them: movie producer Thomas Ince with his mistress actress Margaret Livingston in tow, Hearst's own mistress - actress Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, gossip columnist Louella Parsons, etc..

Unfortunately, not all guests made it back on terra firma in the same condition they left it as Thomas Ince died two days later from the effects of whatever it is that happened to him on that boat. Because of wealth and social status of the people on board at the time of Ince's end, his death was hushed up without proper investigation leading in the years since to many wild rumours as to what exactly occurred. Fuelling these further was the fact that possible foul play witness Louella Parsons, up to that point a mere Hearst columnist in New York, soon after the events got a lucrative lifetime contract with his corporation.

In "The Cat's Meow" Peter Bogdanovich, himself not a stranger to Hollywood entanglements involving good looking young fame-seeking starlets, jealousy, murder, and desperation induced by lack of money, takes one version of the events ('whispers heard most often' as the movie tagline puts it) and runs with it. His movie will inevitably draw comparisons to Bob Altman's "Gosford Park" - a vastly superior experience, but "The Cat's Meow" is still worth seeing, though largely on the basis of what it covers rather than how it covers it. If these were completely fictitious events I don't think I'd recommend it. Altman's film is much more enthralling, its script is better and as a result actors end up looking more convincing. Joanne Lumley, whose portrayal of Elinor Glyn seems to be an impression of Jackie Collins, was particularly annoying here. Though it has its good moments, "The Cat's Meow" with its overall hokiness too many times feels like watching dramatization sequences on 'E! True Hollywood Story'.


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