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51. The Capote Tapes; movie review

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Title : 51. The Capote Tapes; movie review
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Cert 15
91 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong sex references

In recent weeks I have become immersed in recordings of the Dick Cavett chat show from the 1970s.
There were his fascinating and frank conversations with the likes of Muhammad Ali and confrontations with writers such as Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.
Yep, prime time television had some pretty robust and rather intellectual debates in those days.
And then there was Truman Capote.
He was a strange little man, with effeminate actions and the voice which sounded like a cross between a ten-year-old and nonagenarian.
Capote dined out on three books; Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast At Tiffany's and In Cold Blood.
He appeared at infinitely more society parties and television chat shows that his literary output deserved.
Indeed, as Ebs Burnough's The Capote Tapes reveals, his fourth book, the fabled Answered Prayers, was on the stocks for years but was never completed.
Or was it?
Burnough's documentary is made up of taped contemporaneous and current interviews with those who knew Capote best and they are at odds over the fate of his final script.
Some are convinced that it will turn up but some believe that the negativity stirred up over the release of the early chapters meant he didn't have the desire to finish it.
Capote's life and brittle friendships are examined in the movie as are the reasons for his often erratic behaviour.
It brings two questions to the fore - why didn't Capote publish more and why was society so taken in by him?
There are some juicy contributions from tapes which have previously not been broadcast but all they and the other interviews offer are hypotheses rather than answers.
The truth most likely is that Capote was simply a figure of his time.
Nowadays, society doesn't demand that its celebrities have intellect. In the 60s and 70s, the brightest people were applauded for having ego and acid tongues to match their Jupiter-sized brains.
It was a moment in history which allowed someone as unique as Capote to flourish. I doubt whether he would have been as much attention today.

Reasons to watch: Enlightening to a degree
Reasons to avoid: Comes to no clear conclusion

Laughs: A couple of chuckles
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Did you know? His famous character
 in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was originally named “Connie Gustafson” which was then changed to “Holiday Golightly” before being edited down to “Holly Golightly.”

The final word. Ebs Burnough: "There was some interesting insight into not only who Truman was, but who the people of that era were, in that group, in that friend set. There was a mix, certainly, of humour mixed with bitchiness mixed with intellect. It's wonderful colour and background to an era and a group of people that are really, really fascinating." Hamptons.com

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