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“Feud: Capote vs. The Swans: Rise and Fall of the Ugly Duckling | Television

by Isabella Walker
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During a very elegant dinner, of stratospheric elegance, Louisa Firth (Roya Shanks), a lady of the highest class, tells Truman Capote, the writer at the time, in 1968, very famous and highly esteemed, the success of In cold blood Not only did it fill his bank account with zeros, but it also turned him into a sort of social object of desire among the rich, so much so that he could never trust a writer. Amused, Capote (Tom Hollander in that state of grace that made him the best Capote ever on screen) tells her that he doesn’t either, but she wants to know why she doesn’t trust him. Firth, without hesitation, says this because, in his opinion, narrators always have the last word, and they are not the ones who should have it. Who should have it?, the writer asks. “Anyone who lived through World War II will tell you that. The person who has the most power. The United States, for example. He had the last word. Two bombs and it’s over,” he replies. And he adds, subtly and brutally: “Kabum”.

That scene, located at the beginning of the long-awaited second episode of Feud (the first three episodes now available on HBO Max), the anthology series by the always brilliant and admirable Ryan Murphy —here accompanied by none other than Gus Van Sant and Jennifer Lynch, directing, and Jon Robin Baitz, writing the screenplay—, based on major clashes between celebrity —The first episode recounted the confrontation between Bette Davies and Joan Crawford during the filming of What happened to Baby Jane??, an incredible performance duel between Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, perfectly sums up the kind of party that awaits us as viewers. That is to say, once upon a time there was an ugly – and repellently charming – duckling destined to end up being devoured for its sisters, sumptuous swans, when they discover that he is not one of them, and in reality he never was. They were just pretending, one and the other. The writer, for the social advancement that this entailed; them, for fun, and a purchased comprehension.

Demi Moore as Anna Woodward, one of the ‘friends’ betrayed by the writer in ‘Feud Capote vs the Swans’Photo provided by FX

That They It is directed by Babe Paley (a masterful Naomi Watts on the surface), the wife of Bill Paley, the owner of CBS, whom Capote’s betrayal destroys completely, not so much for what it does to her on a social level – she tells the latest mess skirt of her husband the tycoon, and throws her into the misery of gentle wives horned-, as for what he loses: him. Not to her husband, but to the writer, with whom she had an affair sensationa best friend and at the same time a perfect man: funny, attentive, a little calm Bad, as for gossip, which he had never had with anyone. Babe, and the rest of the enviable ladies of jet setters The New York of the time – the end of the Sixties and the beginning of the Seventies – which had welcomed the writer as one would welcome a court jester – is the transmitter of stories, and the stories are gossip, and from them, they live–, believing it to be mere entertainment, they do not hesitate to beat him up when they discover that he believed he had the right to have what Louisa Firth called “the last word”.

Capote, remember, had become a successful author after publication In cold bloodthe first non-fiction novel of history, a work halfway between journalism and literature that reconstructs the virulent murder of a family, the Clutters, in their home in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. His publisher, Joseph M. Fox, trying to retain him, wrote him a check for $300,000 so that he could comfortably write his next novel. Capote claimed to have his own version of In search of lost time. One in which the gossip of the high society to which he had access would prevail. It would have been a real bomb, she said. But did she write? No, she said she wrote and asked for more money. The publisher even advanced him a million dollars. Faced with pressure from him, in 1975 he published a couple of chapters in the magazine squire. One of them, the so-called The Basque coast in honor of the restaurant where he met Babe and the rest, his swanshe actually blew everything up.

Chloë Sevigny as CZ Guest, muse of Warhol and Dalí.Image courtesy of FX

Anna Woodward, a former showgirl married to another of those tycoons – in the series played extraordinarily, in just one scene, by Demi Moore – she committed suicide with cyanide after reading it – in the chapter it was said that she had killed her husband, which she had done, with a shot —, and the disdain with which he spoke of what was happening for that matter—a very broad rest, and in the hands of authentic, even, divas of interpretation: CZ Guest (Chloë Sevigny), the muse of Warhol and Dalí; Slim Keith (Diane Lane), Jackie Kennedy’s little sister, Lee Radziwill (Calista Flockhart), forced her so-called friends-were they ever friends? -to ostracize him, because he had played with fire and burned himself alive. a point that ruined his life and led him definitively to ruin. He died dethroned and drunk in 1984, the victim of an unbearable ostracism for those who lived by telling stories. lives.

Murphy has transformed such a gruesome and poisonous battle into an interpretive feast that can be enjoyed as dreamily as the camera – always attentive to the texture of satin, to an inciting and hypnotic penumbra – allows you, and which, moreover, reflects on what has been lost, or never had, at the top, authentic lifeOR fidelity and honesty and, more interestingly, the ultimate reason for Capote’s attack: the poor boy whose gift for telling stories brought him to the top for the chance to avenge to his mother (a providential Jessica Lange), who this type of woman has always despised. A revenge that gives a twist to the tale of the ugly duckling – whose rise and fall are told here – who, no, was never accepted, but returned to say the last word, and, in any case, ended up crushed by power. of the swans. Serve the unfinished Prayers answered – the barely three chapters written – as battered evidence.

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