The Cat's Meow - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cat's Meow Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 8, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2009
Just okay. Somewhat stilted dialogue but that may just be Kirsten Dunst's modern inflection and forced gaiety.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2012
An interesting account of Thomas Ince's death from the talnted Peter Bogdanovich, a consummate Hollywood insider/historian. It succeeds at being mostly entertaining and offering a decent view of the different motivations/interests involved, and is certainly one of Kirsten Dunst's best roles, she fits Marion Davies perfectly (the best film depiction of her). The one element that didn't quite work for me was Edward Hermann's betrayl of William Randolph Hearst, maybe I'm too skewed by Citizen Kane, but I imagine Heast to be a much more calculating character.

3/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2010
Its an interesting idea for what might have really happened and I love Edward Herrman's performance as Hearst, the problem is that once the murder happens it becomes pretty obvious how the rest of it is going to turn out. Its just a mildly enjoyable piece of gossip.
Super Reviewer
½ June 2, 2008
Frothy, juicy fun. It's refreshing to see a movie that isn't self-important. It's a modest film, which makes it all the easier to enjoy. There's a 15 dry spot after the murder, but up until that point, it'a about an hour and half of gossipy period-piece fun.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2013
Spirited speculation over one of Hollywood's most infamous mysterious deaths, as producer Thomas Ince gets the final cut aboard publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst's yacht populated by era luminaries including Marion Davies and Charlie Chaplin. Director Peter Bogdanovich ranks among the most knowledgeable movie history nerds, and they don't come any nerdier. Kirsten Dunst playfully flaunts her effortless charm as the glamorous Davies, while Eddie Izzard at first seems a strange choice to play Chaplin but grows into the role. The truth will remain hidden, but this offers a plausible simulation in light of the peculiar business deals (payoffs?) that followed. 500 bonus points if you've ever wanted to see Dunst dance the Charleston!
Super Reviewer
½ September 19, 2007
So I finally saw this and....was disappointed. Honestly Eddie Izzard playing the great Chaplin was a little far fetched. Plus the whole plot was boring. I found it hard to stay up and watch it. I don't recommend it.

However on a lighter note...I think Kirsten Dunst is fabulous no matter what! If you wanna see it...then see it for her. Otherwise don't because it's total crap!
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2007
Even though I hate rich people from the Jazz Age (I find them annoying), I did like this movie. Kirsten Dunst, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Tilly were the best.
July 30, 2007
Nothing like a bit of hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Maybe it happened that way, seems likely all things considered. Ah, the 1920s.
June 5, 2012
I've always liked Cary Elwes and Kirsten Dunst, but this is horrible. I watched almost an hour of it and realized I was completely uninterested, and shut it off. I'm really glad I didn't force myself to sit through the entire thing, but the hour I did watch was torture enough.
½ May 17, 2009
Gave this one a re-watch after RKO 281 the other night, it holds up pretty well, though I foudn myself wishing that James Cromwell could somehow have played William Randolph Hearst in this one as well.

An enjoyable little tale about a Hollywood scandal that was swept under the rug in its day. Lots of interesting performances here, though I still can't decide if I actually like Kirsten Dunst as an actress or not.

Definitely worth a look.
½ April 29, 2007
I really enjoyed watching Peter Bogdonovich's "A Cat's Meow" which was certainly far from being any kind of disappointment given he's been away from directing for longer than I would like given his successes back in the 70's like "Paper Moon" and "The Last Picture Show". This inventive story/script that was cleverly based on Hollywood myth/legend of a presumed love affair Charlie Chaplin had with William Randolph Heart's mistress, Marion Davies and had my interest fully. I was happy with the performances - namely Eddie Izzard as the dashing and flamboyant Chaplin - and worthy direction but was hoping there could have been shots other than on the yacht...i.e. at the studio or the castle/ranch; that would have been a real treat. But for the twist they presented, I guess it served it's purpose - hence the title of course. A terrible habit I got into during the film was comparing it similarities to Robert Altman of how uses a numerous characters and intertwining story-lines yet at times can lead to disarray and inconsistencies (i.e. 'Ready to Wear', Shortcuts') while Bogdonovich's surpasses the challenge of an ensemble cast to generate and substantiate both the scene to scene intrigue and well-performed drama as well as focusing of the proposed love triangle. This film would be a delight for Caine/Welles enthusiasts and happy to see Bogdonovich triumph with a truly great film.
October 4, 2010
This movie was a good production. It is excellent craftsmanship. And great performances. But it was missing something. It took me a while to realize it, but it doesn?t really capture you with the relationship between 3 of the key 4 people, Ince, Hearst and Davies. While it shows very well how they all react and interact with Chaplin and others, it never really catches you how the relationships between each other work. There are scenes together, but nothing that catches.

This is a very good movie for those interested in Hollywood history, true, untold or rumor-filled. What this movie does show is that Dunst can act (though I am not a fan), Elwes and Izzard are very underrated and that Tilly deserves more credit. I think she is handicapped with her voice and looks, but she is a great actress.
½ June 28, 2009
Good movie about one of the early Holywood Scandals. The "OJ Simpson" scandal of it's day - and a chance to see Eddie Izzard in a dramatic role.
½ January 3, 2009
i saw this on my death bed today on IFC. great movie showing the 1920's sex and drug of the elite of hollywood. i didnt recognize Eddie Izzard w/o drag as Charlie Chaplin.
½ October 7, 2008
The last 30 minutes were decent, but the first 2/3 of the movie wasn't worth it. I get it, the movie is set in the 20's. There were so many moments that were completely unnecessary and unnatural that only served to tell the audience about the 20's. It was awkward and annoying. Once all that was out of the way though the film got to the point and is was actually good for about 30-40 mins.
½ September 30, 2007
This movie must not have been good because I don't really remember the storyline at all. I remember vaguely something about there being a murder on a yacht during th '20s.

Forgettable, at any rate.
August 4, 2008
Bogdanovich bounces back with a more simplistic style to tell a complex tale of obsession and power. Knock out performances and accurate period details make this a must see!
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