The Cat’s Meow

Rated 3.0

Writer Steven Peros and and director Peter Bogdanovich recite the scandalous rumors that have simmered ever since the mysterious 1924 death of film pioneer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes) after a party on the yacht of William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann), with Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst) and Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard) also aboard. The film blithely drops names that most audiences won’t recognize anymore, and the facts are probably unknowable by now. Still, it’s fun for film buffs who have heard of people like Ince, Elinor Glyn and Louella Parsons; others will find pleasure in the affecting performances of Herrmann (perfectly cast) and Dunst (younger than the 27-year-old Davies but nicely capturing her sweetness, refuting the image of the stupid shrew painted by Citizen Kane).