The Cat's Meow - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cat's Meow Reviews

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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.
May 16, 2012
Contains the same kind of intelligent class observation that was featured in Gosford Park.
April 25, 2012
This picture is very well done. Charlie Chaplin wanted for murder? Almost! Loved it! Must see!
April 19, 2012
kirsten dunst..interesting.
½ April 11, 2012
Bogdanovich and a decent cast brings this fun Hollywood mystery to life. I've always been intrigued by the story so this was fun to see.
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
½ February 2, 2012
Based on a rumor, "The Cat's Meow" focuses on the mysterious death of Thomas Ince (Elwes) on a weekend trip on the Mediterranean hosted by William Randolph Hearst (Herrmann) and his mistress Marion Davies (Dunst). The death, which was reported in 1924 as blossoming from an ulcer/heart attack, has taken different shapes over the years, and today, three theories come to mind: 1) Hearst thought Davies and Charlie Chaplin were having an affair and shot Ince by mistake, 2) Hearst was going to shoot Chaplin but Ince, hearing the noise, took the bullet for him, and 3) There was a struggle over a gun, and it accidentally went off, killing Ince. Well, Peter Bogdanovich decided to use the first one. Filmed in one of Bogdanovich's favorite styles (a black-and-white movie filmed in color), "The Cat's Meow" is a very absorbing thriller that kept me interested. Because there has been so many different rumors about Ince's mysterious death, it's fun to see just what could have happened, and definitely, definitely the film succeeds in doing so. Not only does "The Cat's Meow" recreate the fun of the '20's perfectly, but it has a perfect cast to boot. Not one actor doesn't portray their character to the full effect, and that's honestly the thing that carries the film the most. If it weren't for some of the top-notch performances, "The Cat's Meow" would really be just as good as a TV movie, and thanks to all of Bogdanovich's efforts as well as the casts, it does anything but climb into familiar territory. "The Cat's Meow" is a good, but forgettable movie that really makes you take sides.
January 18, 2012
I liked it a lot more than I expected. Love the pseudo history of people I had to look up
½ January 11, 2012
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 December 10, 2011
just a hint of catnip here, nothing like the the title implies.
½ November 25, 2011
As William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) and his lover, actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst) set sail from San Pedro harbor early one Saturday morning, they host a small group that includes the brilliant but self absorbed Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), film pioneer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes), gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly) and eccentric novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley).

The abounding witty repartee appears the order of the day...but deceit and deception are also on the menu.

also stars James Laurenson, Ronan Vibert and Claudie Blakley.

directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
½ September 22, 2011
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.
½ July 27, 2011
A cruise ship/birthday party gone horribly wrong, and no one today knows exactly what happened. The Cat's Meow is the story of the true story of the 1924 conspiracy that would give Hollywood a bad name.

In celebration of sucessful Hollywood multi-talent, Thomas H. Ince's birthday, wealthy newspaper owner and former politician William Randolph Hearst takes takes Ince, his friends, his mistress, newpaper journalists and Charlie Chaplin on a cruise in his yacht. But when the playboy Charlie puts the moves on Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies, an unfortunate event will arise. It's kinda wrong to say this movie is based on a true story because, mysteriously, no one talked about the details to the press. It was a murder where no one was arrested and no one was inspected by the police. This event gave Hollywood its fantasy scar of having power over the law. As strange of an event this movie portrays, it could have gone into a more significant angle and raised some intellectual themes and questions. But what this movie does provide are some great performances, especially from Kirsten Dunst who at an early age shifts from teenage star to highlight performance of the movie. Dunst adds a lot of depth to an unkindly portrayed character. We also see some great acting from Eddie Izzard as Chaplin, Edward Herrmann as Hearst, Cary Elwes as Ince and Jennifer Tilly as a silly but fierce news reporter.

Director Peter Bogdanovich does a well enough job as director in this complicated murder mystery. It begins with a narroration of one of the reporters and guests on the cruise and sets the mood quite well. But the mood kind of breaks after a while, and frankly nothing really significant happens in the middle of the movie. As a matter of fact it just looks like the actors playing dress-up. But rest assure, the suspence builds up quite well as we prepare ourselves to witness the eventual murder that plays out like a horrible fate. But I don't want to insult the costume designers, by all means. This movie looks quite authentic, though we're only restricted to seeing the world of the '20s only in a yacht. But what we see in the yacht is quite impressive, and everyone's costumes look fashionable and stunning. The cinematography in this movie plays extremely well off its claustrophobic and retro enviroment which adds a colourful feel of the '20s and a eerie feel as well.

It's not a great recreation of the real life events, and it may have been a little sillier than needed. But if you don't know this story than it will sure keep your attention, even after the deed is done. Kirsten Dunst gives one of her best performances and plays very well with the rest of her cast. The Cat's Meow is a little interesting piece of history that is is definitely worth a look.
June 12, 2011
Good acting and directing. It's intriguing story, because it's sad and based on true (Hollywood) events. However, it's a very dull movie. The first 60 minutes it's very boring and not interesting at all. I didn't like the way it was made.
½ June 10, 2011
Loved the Story, some of the Characters are interesting, but not really good Acting here
May 28, 2011
This is a cute little movie
½ January 2, 2011
Orson's revenge (and better viewed in B&W).
December 16, 2010
It wasn't so much of a whodunit movie more than it was a whogetsit movie. This is an OK at best telling of the greatest true Hollywood mystery you've never heard of. The one time Hollywood actually keeps a secret and I just want to know more.

What could have been a great movie wasn't because though it was set in the 1920's there was nothing roaring about it. 20 minutes of fluff, unnecessary non-omissions from the true event, and sadly a poor casting and no development of Hearst.

No-one who saw this movie knows who Hearst was and since he was a HUGE part of the story they should have told us more. Why is he so crazy, why is he so powerful, what is his affection to Marion Davies.

Chaplin is Chaplin, we all know him. Davies was explained as the up and comer and a serious blond bombshell. Hearst needed to be explained more. Otherwise why should we care.
October 19, 2010
Brilliant Romp About The Real-Life Murder Of Thomas Ince, A Big Icon Of Cinema In The 1920's
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.
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