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Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I recently saw the movie, In Cold Blood, starring Robert Blake as Perry Smith.

It intrigued me to read Capote's book. After I started, I couldn't put it down. And Robert Blake played Perry Smith superbly. That was good casting! I could easily see Blake as Smith.

The well-to-do Clutter family lived on a lonely farm in Holcombe, Kansas, not far from Olathe, Kansas. By 1959, Herbert Clutter had built his life and his farm with careful thought and had made a good living at it. He and his wife had 4 children, 3 girls and 1 son. The two older daughters had left home to start their lives leaving Nancy and Kenyon at home. The two teenagers were very popular in their community and the family was well respected. Mr. Clutter had hired men to help him and had always treated them well according to those he employed. But one man made the mistake of mentioning the wealthy family and the remote location of their farm to some fellow convicts when he was incarcerated. Perry Smith and Dick Hickock made plans to rob this family.

So goes the sad story that is In Cold Blood. Capote and his friend, Harper Lee, went to Holcomb, KS after the crime was committed. They took thousands of notes after interviewing all involved. It took Truman Capote 6 years to write the book. This book was evidently one of the first of it's type although, today, we are used to nonfiction true crime novels. I would also say it's one of the best. He explores the psychology of the criminals and details the life of the family and community and how it was effected. He easily moves between the criminals and the family and the community members.

The only thing I missed were photographs so I will provide them here:
The family

The home

Dick Hickock on left, Perry Smith on right


Dawn said...

You are a very good researcher. Great photos once again! My son is reading "In Cold Blood" for English right now. I'm going to show him your very well done blog-entry. It should really help to bring this tragic story to life for him.


Anonymous said...

Olathe,KS is nowhere near Holcomb. Holcomb is less than an hour from the Colorado border. Olathe is a suburb of Kansas City on the border of Missouri.

Chris said...

i just watched capote this week for the second time, which led me to the book "in cold blood"...at a stopping point halfway through the book, i began doing some searching on the internet for more information on perry smith...after seeing his actual mug shot, i commented to my wife, "you know who'd make a perfect perry smith?...robert blake in his 'baretta' days."...then lo and behold i see the picture on your blog! neither of us could believe it...guess i missed my calling as a casting agent, huh?

Linda Piper said...

My Father worked for Mr.Clutter during the late 40's, when he left he suggested a cousin, Floyd Wells take his place, the rest is history. I have noticed the scarcity of Floyd photos, I wonder if mine are worth keeping.

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