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.