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In Cold Blood: 07/06/07

In Cold Blood

I saw the 1967 Richard Brooks film in a violence in film class at UCLA. In Cold Blood and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are the only two films that have stuck with me for these ten years. So when I was given a copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote through BookCrossing, I felt compelled to read it for two reasons: I've enjoyed other books by Capote and I still remember the film. Were it not for those two reasons, I would have skipped the book as I'm not normally a fan of the true-crime genre.

The violent murders of Herbert and Bonnie Clutter and their two youngest children: Nancy and Kenyon in 1959 became a media sensation as these violent crimes are wont to do. Inspired by a 300 word summary of the crime in the New York Times, Capote and long time friend Harper Lee headed west to interview everyone associated with the crime. The result of six year's work was In Cold Blood.

Reading the book clarified in my mind just how well I still remember the film and confirmed that I still am not a fan of true-crime (or the nonfiction novel as Capote called his book). The work is well researched and well written but it wasn't a page-turner for me.

The book suffers from an information overload and a lack of organization. Capote seems lost under all these witness testimonies, not sure what to keep, what to cut and where to put things. Things stumble along in a more or less chronological order but without the benefit of logical segues between interviews.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Saturday, July, 7, 2007 at 07:54:56


I agree with you, here. Capote's true-crime work wasn't as good as his other works. I felt I was being bombared with facts and testimonies.....

I did, however, enjoy the movie. Phillip Seymour Hoffman won an Academy Award for his portrayl, you know.

Excellent movie. I enjoyed Catharine Kennar as well. Frances"

Comment #2: Saturday, July, 7, 2007 at 08:47:15


I haven't seen Capote, although it is on my list of things to rent one of these days. "

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