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The Cat's Meow (2001)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 124
Fresh: 93 | Rotten: 31

The Cat's Meow is a deliciously evoked period piece and whodunit.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 6

The Cat's Meow is a deliciously evoked period piece and whodunit.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 7,802

My Rating

Movie Info

Peter Bogdanovich turns his sights on the 1920s for a fictitious look at the possible reasons for the death of silent movie producer Thomas Ince (played here by Cary Elwes) after spending a holiday with media tycoon William Randolph Hearst (played by Edward Herrmann). The film begins and ends on Ince's funeral, attended by best-selling novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), who was present when the young producer finally died and who leads the audience through the unsure details of what may have


Drama, Comedy

Steven Peros

Aug 20, 2002


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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (93) | Rotten (31) | DVD (23)

The strongest achievement of The Cat's Meow may be the performances, especially those of Kirsten Dunst (Davies), Edward Herrmann (Hearst), and even Eddie Izzard (Chaplin).

October 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The '20s-set pic is given considerable bounce by a splendid cast, led by Kirsten Dunst in an eye-opening perf as Marion Davies.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Featherweight but fun.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As the story progresses, the tension dissipates, probably because once Bogdanovich has set his wheels in motion, he just lets them spin.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite all the closed-door hanky-panky, the film is essentially juiceless.

June 1, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is good gossip, entertainingly delivered, yet with a distinctly musty odour, its expiry date long gone.

May 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a missed opportunity that's rarely as engrossing or intriguing as its premise might have indicated.

May 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It's good to see Peter Bogdanovich working again, but his Hollywood tale feels like a minor, trashy TV melodrama

May 3, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

This story about a possible murder isn't for kids.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Though The Cat's Meow just sorta comes to a so-what ending and stops short, the getting there is delicious.

November 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

I thought this was an incredible cast and I thought they were all fantastic at bringing their characters to life.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

It''s still a tasty footnote in the chequered histories of both Chaplin -- rumoured to be Davies' secret lover -- and Hearst.

August 3, 2004 Full Review Source:

Dunst gives us a bright, bubbly woman with comedic talent.

July 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

Notable mostly for Kirsten Dunst's superb portrayal of Marion Davies.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The potential of this pure Hollywood Babylon story remains unrealised, instead playing out as half-baked Agatha Christie.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The chemistry between the three leads is a cruel and perfect satire on celebrity love.

June 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Of particular interest if you're a fan of the seminal 1941 Orson Welles pic, Citizen Kane . . .

September 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Gurus

it never seems to gel, nor does it allow for any other interpretations, which takes all the fun out of the mystery.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source:

Seems thin and superficial, like a TV movie of the week.

January 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A wonderfully speculative character study that made up for its rather slow beginning by drawing me into the picture.

January 17, 2003
Matt's Movie Reviews

Lo llamativo en The Cat's Meow es el regreso, después de 8 años de ausencia, del director Peter Bogdanovich,sin embargo el resultado, pese a ser elegante e incisivo, no alcanza los niveles esperados.

January 13, 2003

While certainly an entertaining and intriguing film, one simply can't get past the notion that we're watching semi-famous actors pretending to be their more famous characters.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It spends too much time in the art department and not enough time in the script headquarters.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Audience Reviews for The Cat's Meow

Went for it just because it's based on true events. Turns out it's based on rumors. No problem. Was surprised to learn that Chaplin was so scandalous. The story was not so so-so, but the performances and casting were. Historically, if the given version is correct, it's quite significant in depicting the height of corruption. As to me, I really don't know. If he's shot, why didn't anyone come forward even after Hearst's death? If he wasn't, why the characters involved got a promotion soon after it. It surely was given a touch of a cover up. The movie doesn't tend to explain it, it simply presents (modification of) one of the versions of this mysterious event. Could have been way better.
November 8, 2013

Super Reviewer

Just okay. Somewhat stilted dialogue but that may just be Kirsten Dunst's modern inflection and forced gaiety.
June 13, 2009

Super Reviewer

Quirky and entertaining, The Cat's Meow is a captivating period film about a fascinating piece of Hollywood lore. Inspired by true events and based on a play, the story attempts to unravel a notorious Hollywood murder that supposedly occurred aboard the yacht of wealthy media tycoon William Randolph Hearst in 1924. Kirsten Dunst, Edward Herrmann, Eddie Izzard, and Cary Elwes form a solid cast and give good performances. Additionally, the makeup and costumes are especially well-done, and give an authentic look and feel to the film. However, the storytelling is poor and gets a little lost in itself. The Cat's Meow is an intriguing murder mystery, but there are some problems with the execution.
March 17, 2013
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Gawd this is a boring film. Hearst and Chaplin were probably rolling over in their graves at their portrayals in this film. Neither of them were particularly interesting to hang out with. Kirsten Dunst portrays annoying as no one else can.
June 4, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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