6.4/10
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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

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 »

Goofs

In the opening, Chaplin's hair is wind-blown in wide shots and neat in the close-ups. 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

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Loves Me
(1924)
Performed by Paul Whiteman
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva (as B.G. DeSylva) and Ballard MacDonald
Courtesy of The RCA Music Group
A Unit of BMG Entertainment
Published by New World Music Corp./Anne-Rachel Music Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Peter Bogdanovich is back, folks
15 May 2005 | by deadclowncollegeSee all my reviews

I have to say, I thought the Cat's Meow was the cat's pajamas. Peter Bogdanovich has made a story out of an event whose outcome is still unexplained. What's more, it feels like it actually could've happened. The interactions between the characters leading up to the act are given much more screen time than the actual act itself. So when it happens, it doesn't seem preposterous at all.

The story concerns newspaper honcho William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) and company celebrating the birthday of Hollywood producer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes) on Hearst's yacht. That company includes Hearst's lover/actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), author Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), gossip columnist for Hearst's newspaper Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilley), and Tom's lover. Tom hopes to negotiate a contract with W.R. Hearst for Marion to star in his next few films, but Hearst is more concerned about the attraction between Marion and Chaplin. Elinor is nearby to dispense advice, while Louella unsuccessfully attempts to mingle. There's also a pair of party girls on board attempting to have a raucous time as possible.

The Cat's Meow has an eclectic ensemble with a Robert Altman-esquire taste to it. Edward Herrmann's role may be the most challenging, because he has to juggle eccentric, warmth, and jealousy as W.R. Hearst. Joanna Lumley is wonderfully dry. And for those like me who only remember Eddie Izzard for his droll stand-up work, he's surprising in this film. He's quite good as Charlie Chaplin. Kirsten Dunst is the biggest name on the cast. She's very fetching in the Cat's Meow, and this represents a change of pace from her dearth of Hollywood-oriented films.

As good as the cast is, this is really just as much Peter Bogdanovich's film. After the excellent Last Picture Show, he sort of faded away and made smaller films (The Thing Called Love, for example). Although The Cat's Meow will not make him a household name, hopefully maybe his work will garner more attention again. His direction is very good here.

Oh, I should also mention the costume design and music here. The production values in general are excellent in imitating the feel of that era. I was reminded a little of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (and not just the Jennifer Tilly connection). Anyways, The Cat's Meow is a good movie with interesting characters and thoughtful direction.


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