The Cat's Meow (2001)
Critic Consensus: The Cat's Meow is a deliciously evoked period piece and whodunit.
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 occurred to cause the tragedy. Then, through flashback, we see Elinor arriving on the dock to Hearst's party, which is attended by a number of Hollywood players. Among those in attendance are Ince, his business manager (Victor Slezak), and his irritating mistress (Claudia Harrison. Charlie Chaplin (played by British comic Eddie Izzard) is recovering from a box-office bomb and fearing his 16-year-old mistress is pregnant, not to mention that he is seeing Hearst's lady on the side, the vampish actress Marion Davies (played here by Kirsten Dunst). Also seen are Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly), a clumsy movie critic who works for Hearst, and Joseph (Ronan Vibert), Hearst's private secretary. The film was funded in Europe and also includes in its large cast James Laurenson, Chiara Schoras, and Claudie Blakley. … More
Watch it now
as Marion Davies
as William Randolph Hea...
as Charlie Chaplin
as Thomas Ince
as Elinor Glyn
as Louella Parsons
as Margaret Livingston
as Joseph Willcombe
as George Thomas
as Mrs. Barham
as Mr. Barham
as Dr. Daniel Carson Go...
as Mr. Cannonball
News & Interviews for The Cat's Meow
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for The Cat's Meow
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).
The '20s-set pic is given considerable bounce by a splendid cast, led by Kirsten Dunst in an eye-opening perf as Marion Davies.
...a missed opportunity that's rarely as engrossing or intriguing as its premise might have indicated.
It's good to see Peter Bogdanovich working again, but his Hollywood tale feels like a minor, trashy TV melodrama
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.
Just okay. Somewhat stilted dialogue but that may just be Kirsten Dunst's modern inflection and forced gaiety.
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.
Discuss The Cat's Meow on our Movie forum!