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Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Womanby Sam Wasson
Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Part of James Atlas’s Icons series, a revealing look at the life and work of David Lynch, one of the most enigmatic and influential filmmakers of our time
At once a pop culture icon, cult figure, and film industry outsider, master filmmaker David Lynch and his work defy easy definition. Dredged from his subconscious mind, Lynch’s work is primed to act on our own subconscious, combining heightened, contradictory emotions into something familiar but inscrutable. No less than his art, Lynch’s life also evades simple categorization, encompassing pursuits as a musician, painter, photographer, carpenter, entrepreneur, and vocal proponent of Transcendental Meditation.
David Lynch: The Man from Another Place, Dennis Lim’s remarkably smart and concise book, proposes several lenses through which to view Lynch and his work: through the age-old mysteries of the uncanny and the sublime, through the creative energies of surrealism and postmodernism, through ideas of America and theories of good and evil. Lynch himself often warns against overinterpretation. And accordingly, this is not a book that seeks to decode his art or annotate his life—to dispel the strangeness of the Lynchian—so much as one that offers complementary ways of seeing and understanding one of the most distinctive bodies of work in modern cinema. Its spirit is true to its subject, in remaining suggestive rather than definitive, in allowing what Lynch likes to call “room to dream,” and in honoring the allure of the unknown and the unknowable.
A revealing look at the life and work of David Lynch, one of the most enigmatic and influential filmmakers of our time
Every frame of David Lynch's work, from the '70s midnight movie Eraserhead to the groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks, to the digital-video DIY feat Inland Empire, bears his unmistakable imprint. But the paradox of the Lynchian is that it's easy to recognize and hard to define. Lynch is a master of the inscrutable gesture, the opaque symbol. His career evades the usual categories: pop culture icon and subject of academic study, cult figure and industry outsider. He's a Renaissance man—musician, painter, photographer, carpenter, entrepreneur—and a vocal proponent or transcendental meditation.
Dennis Lim, the newly minted director of Cinematheque programming at Lincoln Center, is a skilled cinephile wary of over-interpretation. David Lynch preserves the strangeness of the Lynch's universe and offers a personal meditation on the most distinctive filmmaker in modern American culture. It leaves what Lynch likes to call "room to dream," honoring the allure of the unknown and the unknowable.
About the Author
Sam Wasson studied film at Wesleyan University and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is the author of A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards, and the forthcoming Paul on Mazursky. He lives in Los Angeles.
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