Monday, May 08, 2006



Well, one thing is clear from the 30-second clip of the real guy that's on one of the DVD special features: Oscar(R)-winner P.S. Hoffman definitely did not overdue it with the fey eccentricity. What a wack job. Hoffman also says, in one of the clips, that before taking the role he didn't know anything about Capote except the caricature of him from his many talk show appearances in the 1970s. Same here. Well, the other thing I know about him is that in Annie Hall, in the small scene where they're sitting in the park making fun of people, when Alvy says, "There's the winner of the Truman Capote lookalike contest," it's really Truman Capote. And he wrote Beat The Devil, which I watched recently, and which he refers to briefly in this movie.

The movie was OK. It started off like a fairly standard bio pic, with a few cringe-worthy moments, but it got better after it settled into Capote's visits to Perry Smith on death row. The whole idea that "In Cold Blood" changed the way people write mostly has to be taken on faith -- that was 40+ years ago, and, if it did change the way people write, that change has been well-integrated into the larger culture by now.


Evil Mother said...

Madeleine Blais teaches Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" in journalism classes because it is compelling and beautiful, she said, a masterpiece.

She uses the book to show her students at the University of Massachusetts what journalism can be, how it can reach past the ordinary. How it can blend the reportage of fact with the writing style of fiction.

" ‘In Cold Blood' is something miraculous," Blais said, "an alchemy that should not have been possible. (Capote) had indeed turned reality into a kind of fiction."

This is half of the legacy of Capote's great book. Published in 1965, it helped show journalists the possibility of using creative writing techniques while holding to the guidelines of journalism; something now commonly seen not only in books but also in magazines and newspapers -- where many view the style as crucial to keeping readers.

Michael Plank said...

See, I never knew this. Of course, I rely on the Patriot-News to show what journalism can be.