Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman, by Sam Wasson ($12.25)

See here for a NY Times Review:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/books/14book.html

Amazon: 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)
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Review

“Sam Wasson’s exquisite portrait of Audrey Hepburn peels backs her sweet facade to reveal a much more complicated and interesting woman. He also captures a fascinating turning point in American history— when women started to loosen their pearls, and their inhibitions. I devoured this book.” (Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City )

“Audrey Hepburn dances through the pages of Sammy Wasson’s portrait of a movie and a little black dress that were game changers at the dawn of the sixties. Both juicy and informative, Fifth Avenue, 5 AM provides the inside story while giving Hepburn her due as a true modern original.” (Molly Haskell, author of Frankly, My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited )

“Wasson’s story is part encyclopedia, part valentine, and worth reading just to find out what exactly went into making the amazing party scene.” (The Huffington Post )

“A breezy tale of dresses and breakfast pastries, this is not…the subtexts of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — materialism, sexual freedom — were decidedly more complicated.” (Women’s Wear Daily )

“The anecdotes are numerous and deftly told. This well-researched, entertaining page-turner should appeal to a broad audience, particularly those who enjoy film history that focuses on the human factors involved in the creative process while also drawing on larger social and cultural contexts.” (Library Journal )

“Rich in incident and set among the glitterati of America’s most glamorous era, the book reads like a novel…[Wasson] has assembled a sparkling time capsule of old Hollywood magic and mythmaking.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“A brilliant chronicle of the creation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Wasson has woven the whole so deftly that it reads like a compulsively page-turning novel. This is a memorable achievement.” (Peter Bogdanovich )

“Reads like carefully crafted fiction…[Wasson] 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. Capote would have been entranced.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )

“Anyone even slightly interested in Capote/Hepburn/Breakfast at Tiffany’s will delight in [Wasson’s] account.” (USA Today )

“So smart and entertaining it should come with its own popcorn.” (People )

“Reading a book about a movie is seldom as entertaining as watching the film, but Wasson’s is the rare exception.” (Christian Science Monitor )

“Wasson offers enough drama to occupy anyone for days…The whole thing reads like a cool sip of water.” (Daily News )

“A bonbon of a book…as well tailored as the little black dress the movie made famous.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times )

“Crammed with irresistible tidbits…[Wasson’s] book winds up as well-tailored as the kind of little black dress that Breakfast at Tiffany’s made famous.” (New York Times )

“Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. offers lots of savory tidbits [from the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s]. Mr. Wasson brings a lively and impudent approach to his subject.” (Wall Street Journal )

“Sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian…[Fifth Avenue, 5 AM] is as melancholy and glittering as Capote’s story of Holly Golightly.” (The New Yorker )

“[We] couldn’t put down Sam Wasson’s new book, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M…Along with juicy film gossip, the book offers behind-the-scenes insight on how Hepburn and designer Hubert de Givenchy created Holly Golightly’s iconic style.” (AOL Stylelist )

“A fascination with fascination is one way of describing Wasson’s interest in a film that not only captures the sedate elegance of a New York long gone, but that continues to entrance as a love story, a style manifesto, and a way to live.” (New York magazine )

“This splendid new book is more than a mere ‘making-of’ chronicle. Wasson has pulled it off with verve, intelligence, and a consistent ring of truth…compulsively readable. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. is both enjoyable and informative: everything a film book ought to be.” (Leonard Maltin, author of Leonard Maltin’s 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen )

“Sam Wasson unfolds the dramatic story of the film’s creation. He also offers a fascinating slice of social history.” (Arrive Magazine )

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