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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.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Marion Davies
... W.R. Hearst
... Charlie Chaplin
... Thomas Ince
... Elinor Glyn
... Louella Parsons
... Margaret Livingston
... George Thomas
... Dr. Daniel Goodman
... Joseph Willicombe
... Celia
... Didi
Ingrid Lacey ... Jessica Barham
... Frank Barham
... 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

3 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Everybody Charleston  »

Filming Locations:

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The costuming and sets were designed with as little color as possible to give the illusion of a black and white film. This was to make up for the fact that the film wasn't allowed to be filmed in black and white as originally planned. 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 ...
[...]
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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

April Showers
(1921)
Performed by Ian Whitcomb & His Bungalow Boys
Written by Buddy G. DeSylva (as B.G. DeSylva) and Louis Silvers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing
14 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

"The Cat's Meow" contains a few scenes that boast intelligent dialogue, and some fine performances, a few of which surprised me. Eddie Izzard is more effective than I expected as Chaplin (partly thanks to an excellent hair and makeup job by some talented designer); Joanna Lumley is compelling as novelist Elinor Glyn; and Kirsten Dunst is winning as Marion Davies (though why movies never use her real-life stutter is difficult to explain). But these elements don't add up to a successful whole. The screenwriter seems to have worked very hard on certain scenes--the meetings between Davies and Chaplin are particularly well crafted--but not so hard on the big picture. Several minor characters don't need to be there, and don't behave consistently. The basic plot is full of illogic (e.g., why does Thomas Ince think it's a good idea to tell Hearst something he really doesn't want to hear?), and the party scenes are repetitive and tiresome. I'd like to think a trip on Hearst's yacht was more fun than the movie indicates. Davies is characterized as a standard bubbly Flapper type, which isn't really accurate, and the screenwriter's ideas about Chaplin and love are implausible.

Strangely, Bogdanovich, who seemed so connected to the Thirties in "Paper Moon", lacks a similar affinity for the Twenties. He insisted the excellent costume designer use only black and cream, which gives the party guests a very artificial look, and plays only the most stereotypical songs of the period (e.g., "Yes, We Have No Bananas"). When Hearst insists everybody "Charleston, Charleston!" it looks as if the actors had a ten-minute dance lesson just before the scene was shot.

The lives of silent film stars can make fascinating movies, I'm sure, but not this time.


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