The Cat’s Meow

There are innumerable accounts surrounding the power-driven misadventures of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, and The Cat's Meow is an astutely-etched episodic view. For fans of Hollywood Babylon scandals this is prime material. So too for director Peter Bogdanovich, whose interest as a film historian in the 1920s decade is evidenced by his books o­n movies and their directors (Who the Devil Made It, and others a propos director luminaries John Ford, Allen Dwan, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang and Orson Welles). He is also fascinated by period pieces that freeze a moment in time (epitomised by The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon). For The Cat's Meow the year is 1924. o­n board Hearst's luxury yacht, The o­neida, for a weekend excursion off the California coast (peopled by the heart of tinseltown royalty: Hearst (Edward Herrmann), his mistress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilley), film producer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes), the legendary Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), and glamourous British novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), someone is mysteriously shot dead. The "unfortunate incident" was deftly hushed up by the media of the times (pre-TV) and has since remained "unsolved", without anyone ever accused or convicted of the crime. Such was the thunderous clout of press baron of press baron William Randolph Hearst, whose publishing empire could make or break anything, or anyone. How the mighty have fallen… or maybe just changed names.

 

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