Completed January 9, 2011
Reason for Reading: Whim...
Audrey Hepburn is an icon like no other, yet the image many of us have of Audrey—dainty, immaculate—is anything but true to life. Here, for the first time, Sam Wasson presents the woman behind the little black dress that rocked the nation in 1961. The first complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. reveals little-known facts about the cinema classic: Truman Capote desperately wanted Marilyn Monroe for the leading role; director Blake Edwards filmed multiple endings; Hepburn herself felt very conflicted about balancing the roles of mother and movie star. With a colorful cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, Givenchy, "Moon River" composer Henry Mancini, and, of course, Hepburn herself, Wasson immerses us in the America of the late fifties before Woodstock and birth control, when a not-so-virginal girl by the name of Holly Golightly raised eyebrows across the country, changing fashion, film, and sex for good. Indeed, cultural touchstones like Sex and the City owe a debt of gratitude to Breakfast at Tiffany's.I have no idea why I read this book. I have never seen the movie, read the book, or seen Audrey Hepburn act. I have never heard of the author of this book before. I am not a huge fan of the classic movie franchise or the old-time big stars. Actually, I just saw my first Marilyn Monroe movie last week. I just was flipping through the library eBook selection, which is really sad, and adding what sounded sort of interesting to my wish list. Then, I moved 5 of them to the holds area and this was one of them. So, what are my thoughts after finishing this book? I have now added both the book Breakfast at Tiffany's and the movie version to my library holds. I even added a couple other Audrey Hepburn movies. I am actually going to watch classic movies!
In this meticulously researched gem of a book, Wasson delivers us from the penthouses of the Upper East Side to the pools of Beverly Hills, presenting Breakfast at Tiffany's as we have never seen it before—through the eyes of those who made it. Written with delicious prose and considerable wit, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. shines new light on a beloved film and its incomparable star.
I am surprised by my interest in this book. It really is a subject I knew next to nothing about. I wasn't even entirely sure what Breakfast at Tiffany's was even about. Last night, though, I was trailing the cc around the place reading him some of the things that I learned. This is why I need to read more non-fiction in 2011. It becomes a sharing experience! Now, I need to reiterate that I am not very well-read on this subject, so I have no idea what someone that loves this era and the movies that came from it would think. I just know that I learned a lot and if I want to learn more, the author included pages and pages of sources for all his info. I was just really amazed about the whole process of making this movie. Trying to sneak it through the censors was something that I never thought about before. Well, mainly because up until yesterday I didn't know that Hepburn played a call-girl in the movie. It was things like this that I was discussing with the cc last night. He included some of the scenes that were cut and the reasoning behind it.
I'd like to think that the author captured the players well. I like how he set this book out as a movie script. In the beginning his lists all the characters, the scenes, and includes a map. Then he divides it into sections like a script would. Even the end keeps up this theme. For another book, it wouldn't work at all, but for the idea of this book it worked really well. I just found myself surprising interested in most of what happens in the book. I could careless about Audrey's marriage, but I did appreciate how she was trying to balance being a mother and being an actress. I even enjoyed the pages dedicated to the famous song 'Moon River'. I might not have seen the movie before, but I have heard that song before. I also like how without necessarily going into a lot of detail, we learn about all the people that were related to Hepburn and this movie. I think it made the book more enjoyable.
I am glad I read this book on a whim. I never would have read it otherwise! Now, of course, my question to my readers is what classic movies should I see? I put the following on hold, but I am always up for more recommendations!
Breakfast at Tiffany's
My Fair Lady
The Seven Year Itch
(So, this book didn't get very good ratings on Barnes & Noble... I assume by people that might actually know what they are talking about. I liked it... It was a good introduction, I think, but maybe not for those that know more than me...)