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'A multifaceted dissection of the infamous noir film ... good reading for any American cinema buff' Kirkus
Chinatown is the Holy Grail of 1970s cinema. Its ending is the most notorious in American film and its closing line of dialogue the most haunting. Here for the first time is the incredible true story of its making. In Sam Wasson's telling, it becomes the defining story of its most colorful characters. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage murder of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered deal-making of "The Kid" Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here too is Robert Towne's fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written. Wasson for the first time peels off layers of myth to provide the true account of its creation. Looming over the story of this classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the '70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“So smart and entertaining it should come with its own popcorn” – People
“A bonbon of a book… As well tailored as the little black dress the movie made famous.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times
Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson is the first ever complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With a cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, director Blake Edwards, and, of course, Hepburn herself, Wasson immerses us in the America of the late fifties, before Woodstock and birth control, when a not-so-virginal girl by the name of Holly Golightly raised eyebrows across the nation, changing fashion, film, and sex, for good.
With delicious prose and considerable wit, Wasson delivers us from the penthouses of the Upper East Side to the pools of Beverly Hills presenting Breakfast at Tiffany’s as we have never seen it before—through the eyes of those who made it.
Paul Mazursky's nearly twenty films as writer/director represent Hollywood's most sustained comic expression of the 1970s and 1980s. But they have not been given their due, perhaps because Mazursky's films—both sincere and ridiculous, realistic and romantic—are pure emotion. This makes films like Bob Carol Ted Alice, An Unmarried Woman, and Enemies, A Love Story difficult to classify, but that's what makes a human comedy human. In the first ever book-length examination of one of America's most important and least appreciated filmmakers, Sam Wasson sits down with Mazursky himself to talk about his movies and how he makes them. Going over Mazursky's oeuvre one film at a time, interviewer and interviewee delve into the director's life in and out of Hollywood, laughing, talking, and above all else, feeling—like Mazursky's people always do. The book includes a filmography and never-before-seen photos.
With one of the longest and most controversial careers in Hollywood history, Blake Edwards is a phoenix of movie directors, full of hubris, ambition, and raving comic chutzpah. His rambunctious filmography remains an artistic force on par with Hollywood's greatest comic directors: Lubitsch, Sturges, Wilder. Like Wilder, Edwards's propensity for hilarity is double-helixed with pain, and in films like Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses, and even The Pink Panther, we can hear him off-screen, laughing in the dark. And yet, despite those enormous successes, he was at one time considered a Hollywood villain. After his marriage to Julie Andrews, Edwards's Darling Lili nearly sunk the both of them and brought Paramount Studios to its knees. Almost overnight, Blake became an industry pariah, which ironically fortified his sense of satire, as he simultaneously fought the Hollywood tide and rode it. Employing keen visual analysis, meticulous research, and troves of interviews and production files, Sam Wasson delivers the first complete account of one of the maddest figures Hollywood has ever known.