Cullen Curtiss




Thursday, November 03, 2005

in cold blood

You must see the movie 'Capote,' starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Even if you haven't read 'In Cold Blood,' you should see it. The movie really gets into the muck and maw of what a writer will do for a story. Yes, somewhat of a narcissistic writer, but perhaps a writer no different from many others who are convinced that they are on to a juicy story. To ensure that he gets the story, Capote engineers a way for the two convicted (and headed for death) killers to get another lawyer and to appeal their case. He just has to keep them alive long enough to get the details, but he does fall for one of the killers -- the one with the brains and the "heart" -- and tries to convince himself and those around him that he really cares.

It's interesting to watch the literati of the New York scene in the early 60s still adore Capote or perhaps the force of him, despite his obviously rotting soul; Harper Lee is among them, and she, in my opinion, for what it's worth, wrote the better book (published around the same time) -- To Kill a Mockingbird.

Perhaps life is always presenting us with the opportunity to make compromises, but the one Capote makes must be described by a different name. The movie doesn't make entirely clear whether his morally repugnant actions with regard to the murders and his book drove him crazy, or whether the ultimate hanging of his prized subject cut him to the core. The movie does indicate, however, that In Cold Blood was his last book. Harper Lee continually, however gently, reminds her childhood friend, Capote, that he did all he could to keep the killers alive not for their benefit, but for his own. I's unclear whether he really ever hears her.


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