Film: The Cat's Meow
The Cat's Meow is a 2001 drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, and starring Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard, Edward Herrmann, Cary Elwes, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Tilly. The screenplay by Steven Peros is based on his play of the same title, which was inspired by the mysterious death of film mogul Thomas H. Ince.The film takes place aboard publisher William Randolph Hearst's yacht on a weekend cruise celebrating film mogul's Thomas Ince's 42nd birthday in November 1924. Among those in attendance are Hearst's longtime companion and film actress Marion Davies, fellow actor Charlie Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, columnist Louella Parsons and actress Margaret Livingston; the celebration, however, ends in an unusual death, which would go on to become subject of Hollywood folklore.
The Cat's Meow provides examples of the following tropes:
- Based on a True Story/Dramatization: The movie sticks close to the known facts regarding the death of Thomas Ince but, as no one knows what actually happened on the yacht, those parts are necessarily made up.
- Costume Porn: The film makes good use of popular 1920s fashions.
- The Flapper: Didi and Celia.
- Horrible Hollywood
- Intrepid Reporter: Lolly Parsons.
- Meaningful Funeral: The film opens with a funeral and builds the mystery surrounding such a strange death.
- Murder by Mistake: Ince puts on Chaplain's hat and sits down to chat with Marion. Hearst shoots Ince in the back of the head, mistaking him for Chaplain.
- The Roaring Twenties: The film takes place during the height of the roaring 1920s.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end of the movie, Elinor Glyn narrates what became of the principal characters after the events of the film.