The Cat's Meow review

In November 1924, magnate William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrman) - - the inspiration for Citizen Kane - - threw a party on board his yacht. The guests included his lover Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), silent star Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly) and producer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes). Three days later one of them was dead, the victim of one of Tinseltown's most hushed-up scandals.

Half Agatha Christie, half Hollywood Babylon, Peter Bogdanovich's dramatisation of this still-unsolved mystery is too mannered to prise open such a can of worms. It also features one calamitous piece of miscasting, Izzard's podgy performance being closer to Fatty Arbuckle than The Little Tramp. Yet The Cat's Meow remains an engrossing delve into movie lore, with Dunst's poignant performance doing much to rehabilitate Davies' reputation. Edward Herrmann, meanwhile, brings unexpected pathos to the insanely jealous Hearst.

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