Truman Capote's In Cold Blood: Novel Vs Movie

1710 words - 7 pages

The book, “In Cold Blood”, is a nonfiction story by Truman Capote. This book presents one of the worst murders in history. It was a best seller worldwide, and turned into a successful movie. As usual the movie does not stand up to the book. If you want more knowledge of the townspeople, victims and more insight into the trial, more background details of the murders, you should read the book. If you are interested in history and a good murder mystery all in the confines of a book cover, read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

While reading the book “In Cold Blood” you are introduced to the Clutter family one by one. You learn that Herb Clutter is the head of the house. He is well liked and respected by the townspeople. Mr. Clutter was a prosperous farmer. As the reader, you learn that Bonnie Clutter, Herb Clutter’s, wife is a recluse due to fainting spells. This caused her to stay close to home, inside a lot. Nancy is the daughter of Herb and Bonnie, and she is popular with her peers and liked throughout the town. The last of the Clutter family to be introduced to us is Kenyon, the son of Herb and Bonnie and Nancy’s brother. These are the victims of the awful murders. You get to know them all. In the movie they are humanized, but in the book you get to know them better.
The movie shows us a very disturbed Perry Smith and a cunning, want to get rich quick, Dick Hickock. While the book details Perry’s life in the juvenile detention center, his life in the convent, and the closeness he shared with his sister Barbara. The movie closely mirrored this, and you see great detail of Perry Smith’s childhood.

Mr. Capote sets the stage and the fill of the town nicely, by describing in detail the drive into town. He sets the mood of the town and you soon feel like you are right at home. The viewer does not get this same effect watching the movie, as the reader does in the first few pages of the novel. The tone is set quickly and effectively. With the book and the movie you “are not being invited into fictional believe and deaths, into the imagination, but into the absorbing reality of flesh and blood”. (McCabe 561).

The good people of Holcomb do not like strangers, but are faithful to their neighbors. Truman Capote traveled to Kansas in the fall of 1959, “with a footlocker of comestibles sufficient to support a few weeks of life in the forbidden land”.(Literary Classics 2). The population of Holcomb was untrusting and suspicious of anyone alien to it. In due time Mr. Capote became as much a fixture of Finney County, Kansas as the roadside signs welcoming you to their fair city.
During the investigation the reader gets totally involved with Alvin Dewey, the main detective in the Clutter investigation. “When they find Smith and Hickock, Capote makes the reader wants to cheer aloud for the investigators.” (Manaly 1). The movie is not as involved, you do not get as caught up in the investigation while watching the events of their...

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