Thursday, September 2, 2010
Excellent Account of the Making of a Classic
Anyone who knows me is aware of how much the work of Blake Edwards means to me. I deviate from my usual genre for a brief review of a newly published account of the making of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.
FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson is a breezy and enjoyable read. It is quite a different book than his first, A SPLURCH IN THE KISSER (an examination of Blake Edwards' films as a director from 1955 to 1993) and, in my view, a superior one. Wasson did phenomenal research (fully cited in his detailed notes) and pulls together much that is familiar and much that I don't believe has ever been printed before about BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. The first half concerns Truman Capote and his sources for the novella (both from his own childhood and his friends' lives) and the second half concerns the film's development, production, and release. While the "Dawn of the Modern Woman" angle is present throughout, it is not over-emphasized as it is in the media promotion of the book. This is a fairly straightforward factual novel with real life characters given dialogue that usually is drawn from their own recollections or others. There is a fair amount of gossip, but it is never salacious. The author's access to Paramount's production files and his conversations with participants or their spouses (particularly Blake Edwards' first wife, Patricia Snell whose comments and insights are never short of illuminating) turns up a few gems that would otherwise have remained obscure. His diligence points to a dedication that was lacking in SPLURCH. I highly recommend it.