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The Cat's Meow (2001)

Kirsten Dunst , Cary Elwes , Peter Bogdanovich  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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The Cat's Meow + The Times We Had : Life with William Randolph Hearst
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Cary Elwes, Edward Herrmann, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley
  • Directors: Peter Bogdanovich
  • Writers: Steven Peros
  • Producers: Carol Lewis, Dieter Meyer, Ernie Barbarash, Fenia Cossovitsa, Iraklis Mavroidis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 20, 2002
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000694ZI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,608 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cat's Meow" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A Hollywood scandal springs to life in Peter Bogdanovich's lively Cat's Meow. In 1924 the immensely powerful publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst held a yacht party that ended with a gunshot. Between Hearst's influence and that of his glitterati guests (including Louella Parsons and Charlie Chaplin), no satisfying account of what happened ever made it to the public. The Cat's Meow reconstructs one of the more whispered-about possible scenarios and has quite a bit of fun doing so. Cast and crew alike skewer 1920s Hollywood decadence and, by extension, today's. Eddie Izzard is a boldly odd casting choice as Chaplin, but he succeeds, refusing to fall back on Little Tramp mannerisms. There are several other good performances, but best of all is the cool-as-sherbet Joanna Lumley as the deliciously jaded Elinor Glyn. The script is a strong one, never stooping to the excesses of its characters--Bogdanovich's take is far from the most lurid allegations of what happened that weekend. --Ali Davis

Product Description

Cary Elwes, Eddie Izzard, Edward Herrmann, Jennifer Tilly, Joanna Lumley, Kirsten Dunst - Director: Peter Bogdanovich In November of 1924, a mysterious Hollywood death occurred aboard media mogul William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Included among the famous

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Cat's Meow" is the cat's pajamas November 23, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Whodunnit?" This movie tries to answer that -- in 1924, a star-studded boat trip went wrong when someone got shot, and the truth of it was never investigated. This is one thing that might have happened. The actors appear to be enjoying themselves romping through Roaring 20s decadence, but rise to the occasion when genuine acting is called for. It's like an Agatha Christie murder mystery, except no Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot.
A bunch of Hollywood glitterati arrive at a boat belonging to William Randolph Hearst, a rather obnoxious Hollywood mogul. Also on the boat is Marion Davies, Hearst's actress mistress, who is being actively pursued by Charlie Chaplin (who recently got his sixteen-year-old costar pregnant), a cool-and-calm eccentric novelist Elinor Glyn, irritating columnist Louella Parsons, fading superproducer Thomas Ince and his frustrated girlfriend, and a slew of others. Rumors fly about Marion and Charlie's suspected affair, and though Hearst doesn't want to believe it, the clues pile up -- with the assistance of Ince, who wants Hearst to be his business partner. A single gunshot threatens all of them...
This is one of the movies that probably won't appeal to the average viewer, simply because a lot of the people in it, with a few exceptions like Chaplin and Davies, are not now remembered clearly. But if viewers can shut off their "hey, I don't know who that was" signals, then they will find a sort of whodunnit without the detective, a juicy soap wrapped up in a mystery wrapped up in a "Hollywood what-if" tale. Perhaps the biggest problem is that the last part is a bit anticlimactic and the buildup is rather insubstantial -- the biggest buildup is Hearst tearing through the boat in search of Chaplin.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scandalous Story with Death as Destination... September 23, 2004
Format:DVD
Cat's Meow is based on events that took place one November weekend in 1924 when the financial mogul William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) invited a group of celebrities to his yacht. The occasion was to celebrate the birthday of the film producer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes). Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard) was also among the invitees. There were also some rumors prior to the trip that Chaplin fancied the actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst) who was Hearst's beloved girlfriend. The birthday cruise became an envious love triangle which has death as its destination.

Peter Bogdanovich tells this particular Hollywood scandal in a convincing manner as the story is focused on the love triangle between Hearst, Davies, and Chaplin. The other characters add a lot of intrigue and color to the film as they all have their own motives for being on the yacht. The cast performances are solid and the mise-en-scene elevates the cinematic experience. However, the film never reaches it full potential as similar stories have done in the past where a murder is committed in a remote location. This hurt the integrity of the overall cinematic experience, but the film still offers the audience a good cinematic experience.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OF WHISPERED LORES AND LOVES September 30, 2004
Format:DVD
What really happened during this 'scandal' on a yatch where a film producer met his abrupt end amid a wild weekend of booze, charleston swinging, and dope?

We'll never truly know, but the film is a peppy cavalcade of big name stars playing big name stars. It's a character-heavy motion picture so let's discuss the impersonations.

Dunst is the flavour of the month, she makes Davies look like an attractively complex figure. While reflecting the verve of a young privileged woman at an exciting time, she maintains a moral core without really being certain of precisely what she wants, which rings true.

The flamboyant Eddie Izzard was a surprise in the cast but made an atypically understated Chaplin. You see the intelligence and yearning in his eyes, the sly wit dripping from his casual tilts of the head.

Personally, I felt these two were the only admirable actors in the film. The rest of the crew members acted as though they were in a much dopier movie. Herrmann for instance plays Hearst, the big tycoon, as a buffoon channeled through Bill Murray, huffing and puffing when he feels betrayed, grinning goofily and almost cross-eyed when he appears giddy.

The film overall is a very watchable one though, particularly if you can overlook a needlessly sepia tone across the board giving a pseudo-noir look. The idea clearly was less to weave a murder mystery yarn and more to splice together the interactions among people at the scene of a high-society and thus hush-hush crime.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent film November 20, 2005
By R Smith
Format:DVD
At the very minimum, at least you know you will get a minimally interesting film from Peter Bogdanovich. Paper Moon and The Last Picture Show are classics of modern movie making. While a departure from those two movies in style, this film is comparable in that it tells an interesting story, weaves a compelling narrative through the character interactions, and when the movie ends, the viewer gets the feeling the story is far from over.

A lot of criticisms have been levied at the casting, which I did not have a problem with. Are reviewers so jaded they only find beautiful, charming characters believable? In real life, there are many pretty young women who fall in love with older, physically unappealing men. In that sense, the attraction between the two is very believable; so believable, most viewers probably will not even give it a second thought (except for those who believe physical attraction is the only basis for why people fall in love).

Bottom line: a decent film worth seeing. It won't change your life like Bogdanovich's other two classics, but is worth seeing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Movie well done with the right cast.
Published 15 days ago by Mary E. Jensen
4.0 out of 5 stars Hearst
Great movie, likely based on true murder story. Hollywood intrigue about William Randolph Hearst. Probably suppressed by media mogel empire.
Published 4 months ago by pph
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked this movie
Movie was interesting and clean. Acting was good. The only complaint I might have was sometimes the music was louder than actors voices.
Published 5 months ago by Patty Stegman
4.0 out of 5 stars Cat's Meow
Interesting portrayal of Hollywood"s mysterious death of Ince. Did it happen as portrayed? W.R.Hearst was too powerful a man to go against if it did not happen as he stated. Read more
Published 5 months ago by reader and movie watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fantastic Cat's Meow
My cat "Mya" is 11 years old. She has never played with a toy like she plays with the Cat's Meow. She sits by it, meows and looks at us when she wants to play with it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Karen Barr
4.0 out of 5 stars History???
Rewritten history.....but good acting. Patty Hearst must just love this picture. I did cherish the old cars, yacht, and attire of the players. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lewshirley
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse of Old Hollywood
Great script, unbelievable cast and refreshing trip back in time to catch a glimpse of old, old Hollywood. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Taryn Reif
4.0 out of 5 stars Cats meow
I'm all about Elvis. I'm 24 and my room is covered in his pictures. I LOVE this movie. I think personally that it's one of his best. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bob pen
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cat's Meow
I did like this Movie it was my kind of Movie relating to the old time stars of yesterday, i.e. Charlie Chaplin, the screen sirens of the day etc. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Phyllis McIlvenie
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cat's Meow
Fairly clever story supposedly based on a true event in the 1930's. Excellent costumes and not too bad a story line.
Published 10 months ago by Charlene
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