When In Cold Blood was first published in 1966, it was a sensation—not just because of the horrific murders and aftermath it chronicled, but because of the style (which many consider the very first in the true crime genre) in which Truman Capote wrote it. The subject, the book, and the author has been of great interest for the last forty years — two movies, Capote and Infamous, came out within a year of each other — but now, courtesy of the L.A. Times book blog, you can watch Truman Capote himself discuss the origins of the book in this 1966 interview.
It’s a fascinating 13-minute clip, during which Capote states that the crime itself was “purely incidental” (he’d read a brief story in The New York Times about the Clutter family murders, which he attributes to being “thrust upon me by fate”), and that he was always more interested in exploring a literary medium that had been previously unexplored. He was determined, he says, to prove that reportage “could be every bit as effective and have every bit of emotional and intellectual impact and hit heart and mind at the same time that fiction does at its absolute best.” As the many fans of In Cold Blood will tell you, we think he succeeded.
Take a look and see what you think. And, now that you have the real thing to compare it to, who does a better Truman, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote or Toby Jones in Infamous