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In November of 1924, a mysterious Hollywood death occurred aboard media mogul William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Among the famous guests that weekend were: film star Charlie Chaplin; starlet Marion Davies (who was also Hearst's mistress at the time); silent-film producer Thomas H. Ince (known for creating the first Hollywood-studio facility and for creating an "assembly line" system for filmmaking); and feared gossip columnist, Louella Parsons.Written by
Carol Lewis, Producer
Man in crowd:
Stop pushing! Stop pushing!
[unintelligible yells from crowd]
Man in crowd:
Please, calm down!
In November of 1924, during a weekend yacht party bound for San Diego, a mysterious death occurred within the Hollywood community. However there was no coverage in the press, no police action, and of the fourteen passengers on board only one was ever questioned by authorities. Little evidence exists now or existed at the time to support any version of those weekend events. History has been ...
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The characters, entities, and events depicted and the names used in this motion picture are ficticious. Any similarities to any actual persons living or dead or to any actual entities or events is entirely coincidental and unintentional. See more »
First of all, this film is based on a fascinating real-life tale that's been a part of Hollywood folklore for decades and one that I, amazingly, am hearing of now for the first time.
In November of 1924. media tycoon, movie producer and one of the richest and most powerful men in America at the time William Randolph Hearst organized a lavish private cruise on his yacht with many important Hollywood players invited on board. Among them: movie producer Thomas Ince with his mistress actress Margaret Livingston in tow, Hearst's own mistress - actress Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, gossip columnist Louella Parsons, etc..
Unfortunately, not all guests made it back on terra firma in the same condition they left it as Thomas Ince died two days later from the effects of whatever it is that happened to him on that boat. Because of wealth and social status of the people on board at the time of Ince's end, his death was hushed up without proper investigation leading in the years since to many wild rumours as to what exactly occurred. Fuelling these further was the fact that possible foul play witness Louella Parsons, up to that point a mere Hearst columnist in New York, soon after the events got a lucrative lifetime contract with his corporation.
In "The Cat's Meow" Peter Bogdanovich, himself not a stranger to Hollywood entanglements involving good looking young fame-seeking starlets, jealousy, murder, and desperation induced by lack of money, takes one version of the events ('whispers heard most often' as the movie tagline puts it) and runs with it. His movie will inevitably draw comparisons to Bob Altman's "Gosford Park" - a vastly superior experience, but "The Cat's Meow" is still worth seeing, though largely on the basis of what it covers rather than how it covers it. If these were completely fictitious events I don't think I'd recommend it. Altman's film is much more enthralling, its script is better and as a result actors end up looking more convincing. Joanne Lumley, whose portrayal of Elinor Glyn seems to be an impression of Jackie Collins, was particularly annoying here. Though it has its good moments, "The Cat's Meow" with its overall hokiness too many times feels like watching dramatization sequences on 'E! True Hollywood Story'.
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