Oct. 19-21, 2001

American Cinematheque Presents...

The Great Hollywood Murder Mystery of 1924?

Egyptian Theatre Historic Tours!

Hollywood Historic Preservation vs. Development Free Panel!

Special Thanks: David Shepard/FILM PRESERVATION ASSOC.; Laura Sosin/LIONS GATE FILMS; Peter Bogdanovich; Jessica Rosner/KINO; Elaina Archer; Anne Goodman/CRITERION PICTURES.

Our enormous thanks to THE CAT’S MEOW screenwriter Steven Peros for his help in organizing this series!

Tickets available 30 days in advance.



SCHEDULE (by series)

SCHEDULE (by date)








In November, 1924, pioneering movie producer Thomas Ince (one of the men who helped "invent" Hollywood) went for a weekend cruise on tycoon William Randolph Hearst’s yacht; on board were some of the best-known figures in Tinseltown, including Charlie Chaplin, actress Marion Davies, gossip columnist Louella Parsons and writer Elinor Glyn. When the yacht returned, one of the famous passengers was dying, and one of the most enduring mysteries in Hollywood was born – as well as the subject of the upcoming Peter Bogdanovich film THE CAT’S MEOW, starring Kirsten Dunst as Marion Davies, Eddie Izzard as Chaplin, Edward Herrmann as Hearst, Cary Elwes as Ince, Jennifer Tilly as Louella Parsons and Joanna Lumley as Elinor Glyn.

The Cinematheque’s "Great Hollywood Murder Mystery of 1924" weekend will feature a Benefit Sneak Preview Screening of THE CAT’S MEOW (with Cast and Crew in attendance), along with films by the "cast of characters" involved in the mystery, including Chaplin’s 1925 classic THE GOLD RUSH, a double-bill of two rarely-seen Marion Davies features (both produced by Hearst), Ince’s groundbreaking 1916 epic CIVILIZATION, along with an ultra-rare documentary tour of the Ince Studios; Clara Bow’s breakthrough comedy IT (1927), written by Elinor Glyn – all at the historic 1922 Egyptian Theatre, which figured prominently in the aftermath of the mystery (if you come we’ll tell you how ...!) (Lions Gate Films will be releasing THE CAT’S MEOW in December nationwide.)


Friday, October 19 – 7:00 PM

Benefit Sneak Preview! Cast & Crew In-Person!!

THE CAT’S MEOW, 2001, Lions Gate Films, 112 min. Dir. Peter Bogdanovich. From the play by award-winning writer Steven Peros comes a delectable, behind the scenes look at a fateful excursion of "fun and frolic" aboard William Randolph Hearst’s private yacht in November of 1924, that brought some of Hollywood’s best known personalities of the day together and resulted in a still-unsolved, hushed-up killing. As Hearst (Edward Herrmann) and his lover, actress Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst) set sail from San Pedro Harbor early one Saturday morning, hosting a small group that includes the brilliant but self-absorbed Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), film pioneer Thomas Ince (Cary Elwes) preoccupied with his recent financial setbacks, ambitious gossip columnist Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly) and the eccentric British novelist Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), it becomes clear that although witty repartee and double entendre are the order of the day, deceit, deception and finally murder are also on the menu ...

There will be a beverage reception BEFORE the screening begining at 6:30 PM.

Discussion following with screenwriter Steven Peros, actors Edward Herrmann, Cary Elwes and Eddie Izzard, producers Kim Bieber and Carol Lewis and other cast & crew (schedules permitting.) [Special Ticket Price of $15.00; $14 Student/Sr. General, $12.00 Cinematheque Members.]

*director Peter Bogdanovich will not be able to attend as was previously announced.


Friday, October 19 – 9:45 PM

Ultra-Rare Thomas Ince Silents!

CIVILIZATION, 1916, Film Preservation Assoc., 86 min. A Thomas H. Ince Prod. Dir. by Raymond West and others (uncredited). Writer: C. Gardner Sullivan. Set in the mythical kingdom of Nurma, CIVILIZATION is an impassioned plea for neutrality just prior to America’s entry into World War I. Delirious, bold and gloriously melodramatic, the film follows a suicidal naval officer banished to a vivid Hell while Nurma’s King is given a tour of a gruesome battlefield by Jesus Himself! (Note: In the 1930’s Ince’s original version was purchased by a religious group and cut down in length. This is the only version currently available.) "Ranks with the world’s greatest cinema productions" -- Variety.

Plus, "A Tour of the Thomas Ince Studios", 1922, Film Preservation Assoc., 25 min. approx. A fantastic rarity, this newsreel documentary is a one-of-kind glimpse into the workings of an early Hollywood studio. With movie star looks, the one-time actor Ince intensely studies a script, emphatically directs a scene, and mercilessly pummels his boxing partner!

Both films silent with live musical accompaniment by Robert Israel. THE CAT'S MEOW actor Cary Elwes ("Thomas Ince") to introduce the screening.


Saturday, October 20 - 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

In honor of the Egyptian's 79th birthday, we are presenting a special look back at the restoration and renovation of the theatre, with Peyton Hall, the preservation architect who oversaw the project. Then join us for a panel discussion with some of the people who have been working to revitalize Hollywood Boulevard. This discussion couldn't be more timely, considering that the the $615 million Hollywood & Highland mixed use, hotel/restaurant/retail/entertainment center is due to open Nov. 8th and is considered the catalyst for $1 billion worth of development in the area. Each talk/panel will last approximately 45 minutes.

The Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre Lecture

Preservation Architect Peyton Hall oversaw the restoration and renovation of the Egyptian Theatre. He will speak about this process aided by a slide presentation.

Hollywood Preservation & Development

Confirmed panelists include David Gadja, Kerry Morrison, Christy Van Cleve & Barbara Smith. Others TBA as they are confirmed.

Admission is free to this program only..


Saturday, October 20 – 5:00 PM

IT, 1927, Kino, 72 min. Dir: Clarence Bedger. Writer: Hope Loring and Louis D. Lighton. Adaptation: Elinor Glyn from her novel. British born Elinor Glyn was a sexually scandalous writer (and Marion Davies friend) whose racy novel defined women with that special "it"; the film, in turn, defined actress Clara Bow as an icon for the entire flapper generation. Bow stars as a gold-digging salesgirl with designs on her boss. Look for Glyn herself in a cameo role, as well as Gary Cooper in a walk-on as a reporter. (Silent with pre-recorded music.)


Saturday, October 20 – 7:00 PM

Marion Davies/William Randolph Hearst Double-Feature!!

THE PATSY (a.k.a. THE POLITIC FLAPPER), 1928, Warner Classics, 64 minutes. Dir: King Vidor; Writer: Agnes Christine Johnston from a play by Barry Conners; titles: Ralph Spence. Although SHOW PEOPLE is more frequently screened, many consider this first of three King Vidor/Marion Davies comedies their best film together. With unflappable flapper morality, downtrodden Marion studies a book on personality in order to win her sister’s beau. Along the way, Marion displays her comic gifts beautifully – she’s charming, funny, and hilariously mimics Lillian Gish, Pola Negri and Mae Murray! Marie Dressler co-stars as Marion’s domineering mother. Produced by William Randolph Hearst. (Silent with live musical accompaniment by Rick Friend.)


PEG O’ MY HEART, 1933, Warner Classics, 86 mins. Dir: Robert Z. Leonard. Writer: Frank R. Adams; adaptation: Francis Marion. This should put to rest any notions that Marion’s stammer killed her career in sound films. Marion impeccably holds the screen as a spunky Irish lass who’s separated from her father and brought to a ritzy English manner to fulfill an inheritance. Produced by Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Pictures, this was Hearst’s personal favorite of all her films. (Sound.)

Discussion following with THE CAT’S MEOW screenwriter Steven Peros and Marion Davies historian Elaina Archer and historian Cari Beauchamp.



Sunday, October 21 – 12:00 Noon

Kids’ Matinee!

THE GOLD RUSH, 1925, Kino, 72 min. Dir./writer Charlie Chaplin. Coming off his first major financial failure, A WOMAN OF PARIS, Chaplin responded with what many consider his finest feature length film. The Little Tramp travels to the Far Yukon in search of gold, but ends up falling in love with dance-hall girl Georgia Hale. The classic "dance of the dinner rolls" and "boiled shoe leather" scenes show Chaplin’s gift for poignant comedy at its very best. (We will be screening Chaplin’s re-edited 1942 version of the film, with pre-recorded soundtrack and commentary by Chaplin himself.) THE CAT'S MEOW actor Eddie Izzard ("Charlie Chaplin") to introduce the screening.


Sunday, October 21 – 5:00 PM

More Ultra-Rare Ince Silents!

THE RETURN OF DRAW EGAN, 1916, Film Preservation Assoc., 60 min. approx. A Thomas H. Ince Prod. In 1914, Ince put stage actor William S. Hart under contract ("My greatest find", Ince said) and helped create one of Hollywood's first western stars. The lean, tense RETURN OF DRAW EGAN is often cited as one of the best Ince/Hart westerns. (Sadly, their successful six year collaboration would end in a bitter legal battle over profits.)


THE COWARD, 1915, Film Preservation Assoc., 60 min. approx. A Thomas H. Ince Prod. Continuing his reputation as a "maker of stars", Ince carefully groomed Charles Ray for six years until he finally starred in this Civil War drama, acclaimed as one of Ince's finest productions. "It was not until THE COWARD that Ray approached the dimensions of stardom. His work in that picture stamped him as a splendid performer." -- Thomas Ince. Both films silent with live musical accompaniment by Robert Israel.


Sunday, October 21 – 7:30 PM

SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS. 1927; Criterion, 95 min. Dir: F.W. Murnau. Writer: Carl Mayer; story: Hermann Suderman. Murnau’s first American film stars George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor as a farmer and his loving wife, whose marriage is rocked by the appearance of an alluring "Woman from the City" (Margaret Livingston, who was Thomas Ince’s mistress, and often listed as one of those on board Hearst’s yacht that fateful weekend in 1924.) An Academy Award winner for lead actress Gaynor, cinematography, and for "artistic quality of production". (Film silent with pre-recorded music.)