The Cat's Meow

Peter Bogdanovich's first theatrical feature in almost a decade imagines what might have happened the weekend of November 19, 1924, when newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) hosted a yachting party that included Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly), producer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes), and Hearst's mistress, actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst). In some ways Dunst gives the most impressive performance, uncannily embodying the flighty if mainly loyal Davies, though Herrmann's portrayal of Hearst is equally sympathetic and multilayered. Shot in 31 days in Germany and Greece for $6 million, the film looks more polished than Hollywood features costing ten times as much, and 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. Steven Peros wrote the script, adapting his own play; with Joanna Lumley, Victor Slezak, James Laurenson, and Claudia Harrison. 112 min.

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