Film Review: The Capote Tapes

Truman Capote is one of those authors whose exuberant personality and celebrity antics overshadowed his body of work. The American writer and playwright first came to prominence for his short stories, notably Miriam, but its his ‘non-fiction’ In Cold Blood and the delicious prose of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which made him famous. The latter introduced the world to Holly Golightly, who was brought to life so memorably by Audrey Hepburn.

Whilst he had an unhappy and unsettled childhood, Capote began writing at an early age. He was prolific in those early days but as his star began to ascend, he became distracted by high society. Openly gay and notoriously flamboyant, he became a mainstay on talk shows and in gossip columns. However, this commitment to a jet-set lifestyle was put to good use in Unanswered Prayers, his unfinished ‘masterpiece’ with which he committed social suicide. His life is chronicled in Ebs Burnough’s documentary, The Capote Tapes.

Using previously unheard audio archive and interviews with friends, enemies and mere acquaintances, The Capote Tapes charts the rise and fall of an artist who ended up sabotaging his own career. Capote is clearly a difficult character to pin down, but the use of multiple forms of media and a range of witness testimony builds-up a rounded and intimate portrait of a complicated and complex man. The Capote Tapes does a great job of getting under the skin of the outlandish bon vivant.

The Capote Tapes is released on VOD by Altitude Films on 29 January.

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