Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 11/17/21 5:57 AM

Book review: Fifth Avenue, 5 am by Sam Wasson

FIFTH AVENUE, 5 AM by Sam Wasson, (Harper Perennial Books) is a delightful peek at everything that went into the making of the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany`s, into the making of its director Blake Edwards as also its much acclaimed  heroine Audrey Hepburn, Henry Mancini who provided the score, and last but certainly not the least, the man who set it all off, the writer Truman Capote,  who paid a twisted homage to his mother and one of his haute monde swans (Babe Paley) by coalescing them into one character, the unforgettable Holly Golightly.

Basically, everything you wanted to know about everything connected with the character Holly Golightly but didn’t know you wanted to know!

Wasson touches on so many fascinating details: Capote`s meeting with legendary French writer Collette; Colette picking Audrey as her choice for the Holly character; how Capote wrote Breakfast with a cold scientific precision and how Hollywood then tweaked it to make it the huge hit it was. How they pitched to Audrey, the star of the big hit Roman Holiday,  and she said, `Oh, you have a wonderful script…… but I can`t play a hooker;` how they needed to recruit twelve cats (thug-faced, as Capote described the cat in the book) to play Holly`s Cat; how Tiffany` s wasn’t exactly thrilled about the scenes to be  film shot inside the store but thawed when a deal was struck to have Audrey modelling the famed Schlumberger diamond neckpiece. How Givenchy found his muse in Audrey; how Audrey`s personal life was bringing her much pain even as the world was falling in love with her; how the much nominated film fared at that year`s Oscars; how some rose to fame like Blake Edwards with his Pink Panther films, Henry Mancini with many memorable musical scores; how some went  into a gradual decline; how some, like Audrey Hepburn, just went on and on, transcending her films, her fame, her aura.

Breakfast at Tiffany came when the US was seeing a forceful wave of Fifties` conservatism, and it was one of the earliest movies that asked the audience to be sympathetic to a slightly immoral young woman, a `wild thing at heart,`  who is all too obviously having heaps of fun. Reading all about it in 2021 is heaps of fun, too.


Audrey HepburnBlake Edwardsbook reviewBreakfast at Tiffany`sFifth Avenue 5 amHenry ManciniHollywoodSam WassonTiffany`sTruman Capote

Sheila Kumar • November 17, 2021

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