In 1924, there
was a mysterious death on media mogul William Randolph Hearst’s yacht. Though the death
was never really investigated—and no one really knows what happened (or if they
do, they’re not tellin’)—The Cat’s Meow shows one of the more popular
On that fateful weekend, Hearst (played by Edward Herrmann)
and his not-so-secret mistress, actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), hosted a party to
celebrate the birthday of director/producer Tom Ince (Cary Elwes). Among the other
guests were fledgling gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly), controversial
novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), and Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), who was
allegedly having an affair with Davies—much to the dismay of an obsessively jealous
The Cat’s Meow isn’t a particularly electrifying movie.
You won’t find yourself on the edge of your seat. In fact, very little happens through
most of it. The partiers gather, they talk a lot, they drink a lot (when Hearst’s back
is turned—it is, after all, the time of prohibition), they dance a lot, we get to know a
little bit about them through their conversations, and then—at the very end—someone dies.
The story, however, is still an interesting one. I’d never heard about this particular
Hollywood mystery before, and I was especially intrigued—not only by the story but also
by its characters.
There’s much more to this movie than just the story
of a weekend cruise on a yacht. It takes a look at the lives of the movie stars of days
gone by—as well as at the infancy of Hollywood and life in the Roaring Twenties. So if
you’re a sucker for a good mystery and a little bit of Hollywood gossip (like I am),
you’ll enjoy The Cat’s Meow just as much as I did. Just be sure you’re in the
right mood to watch it. If you’re in an action/adventure mood, watch something else.
But if you’re having one of those nights when you could easily spend hours and hours
watching documentaries on E!, this movie is the perfect substitute.