The Cat's Meow

( 3 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Director commentary; Behind-the-scenes footage; Restored 1916 Chaplin short "Behind the Screen"; "Seein' Stars" newsreel from 1919; "Anatomy of a Scene" courtesy of Sundance Channel; 16X9 widescreen; English and Spanish subtitles; 5.1 Dolby Digital
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Stuart Gazzo
After a nine-year hiatus from directing feature films, Peter Bogdanovich The Last Picture Show revisits Hollywood Babylon in The Cat's Meow. The story retells a favorite Tinseltown legend: the mysterious death of silent-film pioneer Thomas Ince after a birthday cruise on William Randolph Hearst's yacht. It is familiar territory for Orson Welles biographer Bogdanovich, as Hearst was the inspiration for the central character in Welles's landmark Citizen Kane. The film begins with a swell party aboard Hearst's fabulous ship that turns sour when the paranoid host Edward Herrmann suspects that notorious womanizer Charlie Chaplin Eddie Izzard has eyes for his mistress, actress Marion Davies Kirsten Dunst. All aboard for the floating fete are Elinor Glyn Joanna Lumley, Hearst columnist Louella Parsons Jennifer Tilly, and Ince Cary Elwes -- who has been attempting to revitalize his career with Hearst's help. At once a Hollywood history book and an Agatha Christie-style mystery, The Cat's Meow's main attraction is its ensemble of actors, a fine crew distinguished by the tender relationship between Herrmann's surprisingly human Hearst and Dunst's inexorably engaging Davies, an unflappable flapper who Charlestons through every scene.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The Cat's Meow is that increasingly rare American film, a classically composed movie narrative that uses an intriguing "what if" scenario to delve into complex matters of character and the heart. Captivated by the Hollywood Babylon legend regarding Thomas Ince's untimely demise ever since friend/idol/mentor Orson Welles mentioned it to him, film history buff Peter Bogdanovich frames the action aboard the Hearst yacht in assured, unobtrusive long takes that let moods of bright public hysteria and private conflicted anguish tellingly coexist. Though the idea of Hollywood venality is nothing new, Bogdanovich's sensitivity for the Hearst-Davies relationship and the consequences of hubris, unsurprisingly, enable Edward Herrmann's W.R. and Kirsten Dunst's incandescent Marion to be complicated, sympathetic figures rather than period caricatures. Eddie Izzard's lascivious Chaplin, Cary Elwes' scheming Ince, and Joanna Lumley's humorously tart Elinor Glyn also inject the tale with broad, energetic life. Jennifer Tilly's grating Louella Parsons is not so fortunate. Though The Cat's Meow is a well-crafted amusement, whether anyone outside of devout cineastes will care enough about a collection of deceased jazz age icons to return Bogdanovich to Hollywood's good graces after nearly a decade remains questionable.
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers
Elegant, funny and unexpectedly touching, this whodunit...represents a bracing comeback for Peter Bogdanovich.
Washington Post - Michael O'Sullivan
An elegant drama about power and its frightening uses, The Cat's Meow is the bee's knees.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

The film is darkly atmospheric, with Herrmann quietly suggesting the sadness and obsession beneath Hearst's forced avuncular chortles. Dunst is as good, in her way, as Dorothy Comingore in Citizen Kane in showing a woman who is more loyal and affectionate than her lover deserves.
Chicago Reader - Jonathan Rosenbaum
If it speaks with a quieter voice than many of Bogdanovich's early pictures, what it has to say seems substantially more personal and thoughtful.

Elegant, funny and unexpectedly touching, this whodunit...represents a bracing comeback for Peter Bogdanovich.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/9/2003
  • UPC: 031398849520
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:52:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 56,925

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kirsten Dunst Marion Davies
Eddie Izzard Charlie Chaplin
Edward Herrmann William Randolph Hearst
Cary Elwes Thomas Ince
Joanna Lumley Elinor Glyn
Jennifer Tilly Louella Parsons
James Laurenson
Chiara Schoras
Claudie Blakley
Ronan Vibert Joseph
Technical Credits
Peter Bogdanovich Director
Julie Baines Producer
Ernie Barbarash Co-producer
Sarah Beardsall Casting
Kim Bieber Producer
Caroline de Vivaise Costumes/Costume Designer
Bruno Delbonnel Cinematographer
Carol Lewis Producer
Dieter Meyer Producer
Edward Norris Editor
Michael Paseornek Executive Producer
Steven Peros Screenwriter
Jean-Vincent Puzos Production Designer
Wieland Schulz-Keil Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. How It All Began [4:38]
2. San Pedro Harbor [6:18]
3. Gossip and the Tramp [4:50]
4. The Guests Assemble [4:39]
5. The Plot Thickens [4:09]
6. Ain't We Got Fun [5:48]
7. Business and Pleasure [4:19]
8. Private Party [5:34]
9. The Liberal Minded [4:39]
10. Lighting the Flame [4:57]
11. Snooping Around [5:24]
12. Confessions [5:58]
13. Happy Birthday [6:18]
14. Trust and Sharing [2:52]
15. Shattered Faith [2:29]
16. The Mystery Unfolds [3:21]
17. Cover Up [4:54]
18. Arousing Suspicions [4:23]
19. Eliminating Evidence [3:34]
20. Lasting Ties [3:41]
21. Setting the Record [4:03]
22. They Part Ways [6:19]
23. A Dark Reunion [5:44]
24. End Credits [4:46]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Index
   Special Features
      Anatomy of a Scene
      Chaplin Short Film
      Commentary
         Commentary with Director Peter Bogdanovich: On
         Commentary with Director Peter Bogdanovich: Off
      Featurette
      Interviews
         Getting Started
         The Characters
         Greece
         Time Spent Together
      Newsreel
      Trailer
   Subtitles
      English Subtitles: Off
      Spanish Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

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3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    Why would ANYONE give this 3 or 2 stars?  One of my favorite fil

    Why would ANYONE give this 3 or 2 stars?  One of my favorite films that I watch over and over. Can't wait for the Blu-Ray.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews