Audrey Hepburn is an icon like no other, yet the image many of us have of Audrey—dainty, immaculate—is anything but true to life. Here, for the first time, Sam Wasson presents the woman behind the little black dress that rocked the nation in 1961. The first complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. reveals little-known facts about the cinema classic: Truman Capote desperately wanted Marilyn Monroe for the leading role; director Blake Edwards filmed multiple endings; Hepburn herself felt very conflicted about balancing the roles of mother and movie star. With a colorful cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, Givenchy, “Moon River” composer Henry Mancini, 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 country, changing fashion, film, and sex for good. Indeed, cultural touchstones like Sex and the City owe a debt of gratitude to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
In this meticulously researched gem of a book, 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. Written with delicious prose and considerable wit, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. shines new light on a beloved film and its incomparable star.
New York Times Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
New York Times Best of 2010
Publishers Weekly Best of 2010
Indie Booksellers Best of 2010
Prix du Syndicat Français de la Critique: 2012 Meilleur livre étranger sur le cinéma
Crammed with irresistible tidbits... as well-tailored as the kind of little black dress that Breakfast at Tiffany’s made famous.
—Janet Maslin, New York Times
So smart and entertaining that it should really come with its own popcorn...
—People Magazine, Four Star Review, People’s Pick
Splendid... Wasson has pulled it off with verve, intelligence, and a consistent ring of truth... Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. is both enjoyable and informative: everything a film book ought to be.
Sam Wasson has written a brilliant chronicle of the creation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s—the supposedly unfilmable short novel by Truman Capote, and the enduringly popular Audrey Hepburn–Blake Edwards movie. There are a slew of fascinating characters and situations, and Wasson has woven the whole so deftly that it reads like a compulsively page-turning novel. I was sorry when it was over and felt it could have been twice as long and still been riveting. This is a memorable achievement.
The flow of Wasson’s words carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn’s impact on fashion (Givenchy’s little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Always stingy with praise, Capote dismissed the finished film as a ‘mawkish valentine to New York City,’ but one feels he would have been entranced by Wasson’s prismatic approach... The result deserves Capote’s ‘nonfiction novel’ label. Recapturing an era, this evocative ‘factual re-creation’ reads like carefully crafted fiction.
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Audrey Hepburn as the startlingly amoral heroine of Breakfast at Tiffany’s dances through the pages of Sam Wasson’s portrait of a movie in a little black dress that were game changers at the dawn of the sixties. Both juicy and informative, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. provides the inside story while giving Hepburn her due as a true modern original.
—Molly Haskell, author of Frankly, My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited
Rich in incident and set among the glitterati of America’s most glamorous era, the book reads like a novel. Hepburn’s ‘discovery’ by the regal French author Colette, searching for an actress to incarnate her character Gigi on the stage, has the fairy-tale resonance of the actress’ star-making turns in Roman Holiday (1953) and Sabrina (1954)... Wasson marshals this rich material in a page-turning delight... he has assembled a sparkling time capsule of old Hollywood magic and mythmaking.