Entry for February 12, 2006

Last night,  since I couldn’t go contra dancing, I accepted Misty’s invitation to go see Capote, the depiction of Truman Capote‘s development of his novel, In Cold Blood .  Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s depiction of a montrous Capote raises all the ethical dilemnas that the man did in real life,  especially  concerning the ill-use of people to create art.  Catherine Keener‘s  Harper Lee (Capote’s childhood friend),  rather than kowtowing, shows great character in calling him out.  Bruce Greenwood was touching (Craig Phillips’ s description–I agree) as Jack Dunphy, Capote’s long time lover. The omnipresent  Chris Cooper was stalwalt as Alvin Dewey, the officer in charge of the investigation.

 Clifton Collins Jr. is powerful as Perry Ellis, one of the murderers.  He’s been acting since he was twenty in 1991 and for the first seven years, appeared mostly as  Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez,; he’s the grandson of the bit player in the westerns, Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales.  Under that name he mostly played Hispanics.  His newest project is a starring role as Kenneth Bianchi in Chris Fisher‘s Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders.  He also had a lead in as a gang member turned corrrupt LAPD cop in Dirty, another genre movie by Fisher.  It’s hard to believe this seems to be his part in a major movie.  I hope lots more are in store, and that he goes on to play something other than criminals.  

Capote is sure getting a lot of Oscar  recognition.  The seemingly always-wonderful  Hoffman  deserves his  nomination for the title role, as  does Keener for best supporting actress.    I couldn’t place her as I watched, but she also was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Being John Malkovich

 Bennett Miller  has been nominated for his direction and the film is  nominated for best picture.  This is only Miller’s second movie, the first being the 1998 documentary, The Cruise , a portrait of Tim “Speed” Levitch, a tour guide for Manhattan’s Gray Line double-decker buses.  Actor  Dan Futterman, (“Vincent” on Judging Amy) is the director’s childhood friend and received an Oscar nod for his first time out as a screenwriter.  Futterman’s only other non-acting credit is as the unit driver  on The Cruise.  (That’s the guy who drives folks to and from the set.

The movie raised some questions for a game of trivial pursuit. 

*Who was Capote’s  lover, Jack?  Jack Dunphy, borning in 1915 in  a working class neighborhood in Philly, by 1943,  was a dancer on the Broadway opening night of Oklahoma.   Dunphy was married at one time to Joan McCracken, who played “Silvie” in the same cast of  Oklahoma. She went on to marry Bob Fosse.  and also played in the Prodigal Son,  a ballet performed on Broadway in conjunction with the Pirates of Penzance in the prior year. 

According to Google’s  cache   of Sony’s  presskit (warning–this latter link may be broken; I’ve reported it) , when Dunphy met Capote in 1948, he had written a well-received novel, ”John Fury”, and was just getting over a painful divorce from McCracken. In 1950 they settled in Taormina, Sicily, in a house where the author D.H. Lawrence had once lived.  Ten years older than Capote, Dunphy was in many ways Capote’sopposite, as solitary as Truman was exuberantly social. Though they drifted more andmore apart in the later years, the couple stayed together until the end.


Dunphy’s novels include the already mentioned ”John Fury”, and ”Friends and Vague Loves” and ”Nightmovers”, ”An Honest Woman”, ”First Wine”([[Louisiana State University]] Press, [[1982]]),   and its sequel, ”The Murderous McLaughlins”, ([[McGraw-Hill]], [[1988]]).  In this book, set again in Philadephia, c. [[1917]], the same narrator, at age eight tries to get his errant father Jim to return home to his family.

Dunphy also wrote ”Dear Genius: A Memoir of My Life with Truman Capote”, published by [[McGraw-Hill]] in [[1987]].  According to the review at Amazon.com, the book is actually a novel, with the subtitle provided by the publisher; Dunphy had subtitled the manuscript more accurately ”A Tribute To Truman Capote”.[http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0070183171/qid=1139808735/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-3520160-8167104?s=books&v=glance&n=283155]


His plays include ”Light a Penny Candle”, ”Café Moon”, ”Squirrel”, and ”Too Close for Comfort”.

[[Category:American novelists|Dunphy, Jack]]
[[Category:American dramatists and playwrights|Dunphy, Jack]]




*Is Hoffman really that much shorter than Keener?  No, he’s 5′ 9 1/2 to Keener’s 5’9, according to IMDB.com.   That he appeared so short, like the real Capote was an optical illusion.  Misty and I both remembered a story about Valentino being so short that his leading women had to stand in a ditch.  According to IMDB that’s apocryphal, as Valentino’s  listed as 5’10.  Couldn’t find anything in a cursory search, including this page on Valentino myths.  But speaking of Valentino, this 2005  Guardian story by David Robinson, “Enduring Love” , is an interesting account of the re-release of Beyond the Rocks, his film co-starring Gloria Swanson, once thought to be lost, which was screen at Cannes.



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