Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Cinema Stills and Photographs

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Truman Capote: A Literary Life at the Movies was born, like Capote himself, in Louisiana but, unlike Capote, in a high school classroom in Baton Rouge. I am indebted to my teacher, Mitch Billings, for his magnanimity of vision in assigning a yearlong series of reports...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xvi

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1. Capote and the Cinema: An Overview

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pp. 1-18

Truman Capote once remarked, “My primary thing is that I’m a prose writer. I don’t think film is the greatest living thing.”1 In privileging his professional and artistic identity as an author of literary fiction, Capote diminishes the role of the cinema in his career, yet...

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2. Capote in the Queer House of Fame: Stars and Celebrity Personas

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pp. 19-42

In Music for Chameleons Capote famously declared: “I’m an alcoholic. I’m a drug addict. I’m homosexual. I’m a genius” (MC 261). This statement from the twilight of his career reflects his determination to live his life openly, as it also reveals his canny understanding

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3. Scriptwriter for the Stars: Capote’s Screen Adaptations of Indiscretion of an American Wife, Beat the Devil, and The Innocents

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pp. 43-86

Long before he penned his first screenplay, Capote rewrote films spontaneously and exuberantly, employing his quick wit and ear for dialogue to amuse his friends when they found themselves bored with a picture playing on the screen. As many dissatisfied filmgoers...

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4. Holly Golightly’s Queer World: Blake Edwards’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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pp. 87-108

Notwithstanding his screenwriting experiences, Capote criticized cinematic adaptations of fiction. He believed that transforming a written work into a visual one invariably degraded the source: “The transposition of one art form into another seems to me a corrupt...

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5. Capote, Crime, and Capital Punishment: Richard Brooks’s In Cold Blood

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pp. 109-141

With In Cold Blood, his account of the slaughter of Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon Clutter at the hands of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, Capote credited himself with inventing the nonfiction novel, one that couples the linearity of a journalistic account with...

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6. Turning a Princess into a Star: Capote, Lee Bouvier Radziwill, and Laura

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pp. 142-153

Before Capote remade Laura for television in 1968, Otto Preminger’s 1944 film was acclaimed as a noir classic for its sexual intrigue, smoky allure, and shocking mystery. Based on Vera Caspary’s novel, the film opens with the mysterious murder of beautiful...

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7. Capote for the Holidays: A Christmas Memory (and Trilogy),The Thanksgiving Visitor, and One Christmas

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pp. 154-177

How does an openly gay writer in the 1960s, whose fame skyrocketed due to his portrayal of a gruesome crime and its aftermath, become simultaneously associated with holiday tales of emotional resonance and southern nostalgia? It is one of the great paradoxes...

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8. Capote’s Southern Childhoods: Other Voices, Other Rooms, The Grass Harp, and Children on Their Birthdays

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pp. 178-199

A dangerous child: such is the image that some readers formed of Capote from the louche dust jacket of Other Voices, Other Rooms. As Cecil Beaton and Kenneth Tynan recall, the author delighted in his decadent persona of defiled youth: “Capote tells a story of how he saw two Philadelphia matrons...

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9. Capote’s Unfinished Business: Abandoned and Unproduced Projects

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pp. 298-218

Despite his prodigious talents as a writer, Capote drafted numerous screenplays and teleplays that were never produced. New York Public Library’s Truman Capote Archive holds much of this fascinating collection of material, including an early teleplay of his...

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10. Playing Capote: Tru, Capote, Infamous, and Other Parodic and Iconic Portrayals

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pp. 219-240

When asked who should play him in a movie of his life, Capote cheekily replied, “Greta Garbo. It’ll be her great comeback part.”1 Although Garbo never abandoned retirement to undertake the challenges of portraying Capote, numerous other talents have...

Notes

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pp. 241-260

Cinema Capoteana

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pp. 261-264

Works Cited

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pp. 265-280

Index

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pp. 281-287