Fifth Avenue, 5 AM Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the dawn of the modern woman

Sam Wasson

Book - 2010

A closeup examination of Blake Edwards' classic film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, winner of two Oscars.

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Subjects
Published
New York : HarperStudio 2010.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
xx, 231 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780061774157
0061774154
Main Author
Sam Wasson (-)
  • Thinking it, 1951-1953
  • Wanting it, 1953-1955
  • Seeing it, 1955-1958
  • Touching it, 1958-1960
  • Liking it, 1960
  • Doing it, October 2, 1960
  • November 11, 1960
  • Loving It, 1961
  • Wanting more, the 1960s.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Wasson (A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards) traces Audrey Hepburn's life and career leading up to Breakfast at Tiffany's and describes how her role inspired women as they emerged from restrictive 1950s cultural, social, and sexual stereotypes. At the same time, he weaves in the story of Truman Capote, author of the book that was the basis for the film, and examines the complex sources for his famous character Holly Golightly. By the time Wasson arrives at the shooting of the film, readers will have a solid understanding of Hepburn and Capote as well as many others in their spheres and involved with the film—from director Blake Edwards and composer Henry Mancini to costumer Edith Head and screenwriter George Axelrod. The anecdotes are numerous and deftly told, and Wasson does not shy away from relevant interpersonal challenges. VERDICT This well-researched, entertaining page-turner should appeal to a broad audience, particularly those who enjoy film history that focuses on the human factors involved in the creative process while also drawing on larger social and cultural contexts.—Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ [Page 76]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Wasson, who wrote on the career of writer-director Blake Edwards in A Splurch in the Kisser, tightens his focus for a closeup of Edwards's memorable Breakfast at Tiffany's, which received five Oscar nominations (with two wins). Interviewing Edwards and others, he skillfully interweaves key events during the making of this cinema classic. He begins (and ends) with Truman Capote, whose novel was initially regarded as unadaptable by the producers, since they "hadn't the faintest idea how the hell they were going to take a novel with no second act, a nameless gay protagonist, a motiveless drama, and an unhappy ending and turn it into a Hollywood movie." The flow of Wasson's words carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn's impact on fashion (Givenchy's little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Always stingy with praise, Capote dismissed the finished film as a "mawkish valentine to New York City," but one feels he would have been entranced by Wasson's prismatic approach as he walks "a perilous path between the analytic interpretation and the imaginative one." The result deserves Capote's "nonfiction novel" label. Recapturing an era, this evocative "factual re-creation" reads like carefully crafted fiction. (June) [Page 46]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Depicts the making of the iconic film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in the late 1950s, drawing on interviews with those involved in the film's production, including the actors, producer Richard Shepherd, and Truman Capote's biographer.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Depicts the making of the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany's in the late 1950s, drawing on interviews with those involved in the film's production, including the actors, producer Richard Shepherd and late author Truman Capote's biographer, Gerald Clarke. 30,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2010'so smart and entertaining it should come with its own popcorn.' ' PeopleFifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson is the first ever complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's. With a cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, director Blake Edwards, 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 nation, changing fashion, film, and sex, for good. With delicious prose and considerable wit, 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.More praise for Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.:"A bonbon of a book' As well tailored as the little black dress the movie made famous.' ' Janet Maslin, New York Times'sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian.' ' The New Yorker'reads like carefully crafted fiction'[Wasson] carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn's impact on fashion (Givenchy's little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Capote would have been entranced.' ' Publishers Weekly (starred review)'sam Wasson's exquisite portrait of Audrey Hepburn peels backs her sweet facade to reveal a much more complicated and interesting woman. He also captures a fascinating turning point in American history' when women started to loosen their pearls, and their inhibitions. I devoured this book.' ' Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City