Friday, December 26, 2008

In Cold Blood


Can you believe it ..... instead of going out on Christmas night for celebration, I had decided to stay at home and watched "Capote" on cable TV. Not bad though.

To be honest, I was not that familiar with Truman Capote prior to watching the other film titled "Infamous", with the same subject as "Capote", 2 years ago. Of course, I do know his earlier novel Breakfast at Tiffany's, thru the film starring Audrey Hepburn. That's about all.

The film tells the story of how Capote wrote In Cold Blood, a "non-fiction novel" about two men who killed a family of four in a small town of Holcomb, Western Kansas.

On 14 Nov 1959, Capote read an article about the crime in New York Times, fascinated by the crime, he decided that the effect of that brutal murder would serve as the basis for his new book. He traveled to Kansas with his childhood friend, Nelle Harper Lee, the writer of To Kill A Mockingbird, who helped him conduct and document his research. Over the course of several months, they managed to ingratiate themselves into the community of Hotcomb. At some point, Lee went back to NY, and left him to continue his exhaustive research alone.

Capote spent 4 years working on this book, extensively interviewing the killers and in the process, formed a particularly close bond with one of them, Perry Smith. If Capote had ever fallen in love with Perry .... there was no real answer in "Capote", but seemingly yes in "Infamous".

When Perry finally opened himself up to Capote and told him everything about the ghastly murder, that was it. Though not without tremendous internal struggles, by and by, Capote became distant to Perry, avoiding to visit him until the very day. Capote was nevertheless devastated by Perry's execution, which he witnessed in person, and blaming himself that "he could have done more", but deep down, he did not want to. His long-awaited book was then able to be finalized when the proper ending came : the execution of the killers.....

In Cold Blood was the last full-length book Capote ever produced. He died in 1984 from the effects of alcoholism.

I would recommend those interested to watch both films. Yes, they might have many scenes that are almost identical, but they differ in the way they portray Capote and the way they frame the facts.

As for me, I'm going to buy the book and read it someday.

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