sábado, 6 de julho de 2013
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
September 21, 1987
TRUMAN CAPOTE, who was always a crafty manipulator of the media, is impaled on the media sword tonight at 10 on Channel 13's ''American Masters'' series. Produced by Andy Harries for RM Arts and London Weekend TV, in association with the American station, ''Unanswered Prayers: The Life and Times of Truman Capote'' fashions a biography largely out of comments from friends and from television clips in which the writer performed for a long succession of interviewers, including Johnny Carson, Barbara Walters and Stanley Siegal.
Beginning with his chaise-longue pose, which Cecil Beaton photographed for the jacket of Capote's first major work of fiction, ''Other Voices, Other Rooms,'' Capote fully understood the publicity value of being outrageous. The biography begins with this statement printed on the screen: ''I'm an alcoholic. I'm a drug addict. I'm a homosexual. I'm a genius.'' He was certainly a genius at self-promotion.
The basic facts are laid out here. He was born in New Orleans in 1924. He had a lonely childhood, relieved only by the attentions of an older cousin whom he later wrote about in ''A Christmas Memory.'' A spirited aunt, Marie Rudisill, recalls how the cousin would ''dress up'' young Truman. ''She made him too dainty,'' says the aunt. He was taken to New York by his mother, who wound up a suicide.
It didn't take long for the young man to build a reputation, both as a promising writer and a social butterfly. He won an O. Henry award at 24. He fell in love and began a long-lasting affair with Jack Dunphy, introduced on this program as ''a reclusive fellow writer.'' Gradually, the would-be poet discovered that he was moving more toward prose, away from fiction and on to ''something else,'' as Capote put it. ''The Muses Are Heard'' was an account of a ''Porgy and Bess'' troupe touring the Soviet Union.
Then the writer began looking for a murder that might lend itself to book treatment. He found the perfect case in Kansas of 1959. ''In Cold Blood'' would give Capote the enormous celebrity he had long sought. Published in 1965, it would represent the peak of his professional career.
The rest was posing. Becoming society's favorite court jester, he presided over what many considered the ''party of the decade,'' a masked ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966 to celebrate the success of ''In Cold Blood.'' Then he began talking about a monumental project called ''Answered Prayers,'' his attempt to play Proust with a dissection of manners and morals in this century. But the publication of some chapters, with their thinly disguised depictions of his supposed friends, infuriated the social set. Capote was unceremoniously dumped. He began hanging around with what is referred to in the program as the ''Warhol set.'' New lovers, drugs and drink became the urgent order of the day.
Few moments in the Capote life could have been more distressing than his sorry state while being interviewed by Stanley Siegal for a show in New York City. Clearly heavily drugged or drunken, a bloated Capote wears his hat at a jaunty angle and tries desperately to be smart and witty. He succeeds only in slurring his words, just barely able to keep from nodding off. The normally brash Mr. Siegal is moved to ask if he wouldn't prefer to leave and come back another time.
Meanwhile, there is the matter of the ''missing chapters'' that Capote supposedly wrote for ''Answered Prayers.'' It is possible that they are in a safe-deposit box somewhere, but they have never been found, although he often insisted that they were written. His Random House editor, Joseph M. Fox, concedes that ''Truman may have been conning everybody.'' Mr. Dunphy, tears welling in his eyes, concludes that there was no book, adding that ''he couldn't, it was over.'' The television biography ends on this sad note - appropriate, surely, for the life that it recounts.
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 19:26