Fifth Avenue, 5 Am: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman

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Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 101 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 102 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2010

    Interesting, but a distracting writing style

    I bought this book as part of a "self-study" of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that included Capote's original book, this book, and a viewing of the movie. I found that although this book was obviously well-researched, the author's insertion of his own opinions, often presented sarcastically, took away some of the enjoyment I might have found in the information itself. The very short sections with subheads that often failed to be as witty as they were intended were a serious distraction. The book could have been improved with more illustrations, including photos of more of the players, stills from the movie, and perhaps the movie oyster, which was discussed in some detail.

    Overall, I WOULD recommend this book to someone interested in movie history, but probably not to someone with just a passing interest in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Capote, or Hepburn.

    One more thing: I read the ebook version of this book and was extremely disappointed in the lack of text formatting. For example, book and movie titles, which should have appeared in italic text, appeared in plain text, making them difficult to distinguish from the narrative. As a writer, I found this very distracting. Formatting is possible with the epub format, so there is no excuse for this. When I'm paying almost as much for a paperless copy of a book as I would for a printed copy, I expect a more satisfactory reading experience. Instead, I'm penalized not only for buying a book that I can't share with friends but one I have to struggle a bit to read.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

    Good Read, lots of behind the scenes stories

    I completely enjoyed this book. It was a quick read (one afternoon) and the time flew. I have always liked Breakfast at Tiffany's, but it is not my favorite film or anything. The author really did his homework and included interesting perspectives of all the major players in the making of the movie. I was born 10 years after the film came out, and it is easy to forget just how different the role of women was in the late 50's-early 60's. Wasson really shows you just how difficult it was for the screenwriter and director to get a character like Holly onto the screen.
    This book would be great for anyone who is in need of a break from heavy reading or complicated story lines. Who wouldn't want to spend an afternoon with Audrey?

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    Interesting Chick History Read

    Worth checking out if you like a behind the scenes view of a movie. The research is less than thorough and the writing style is a bit choppy, but it is easy to follow and fun to read. Good book club pick.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Read's like a valentine for the fans of Breakfast at Tiffany's

    10/30/11
    Breakfast at Tiffany's has been my favorite film since I first saw it at age 10. After seeing it a dozen times, I adored reading the chronicle of its making. As a young woman, I was entranced by the evolution of the "modern woman." Before reading this book, I never understood how Audrey Hepburn came into the limelight and became a style icon. I always saw her as beautiful, but Wasson does an excellent job of portraying exactly what made Audrey's face and body usual for an actress of that time. This book is very funny and somewhat sarcastic, and I often found myself chuckling out loud at Wasson's sex jokes. Wasson draws the reader closer through imagery that makes a young woman or a film director drool over the epic story of how Breakfast at Tiffany's came to be. It does an excellent job of conveying the boldness of casting Audrey, the pure and innocent little Audrey, as the scandalous Holly Golightly. In addition to explaining Audrey's career, this book depicts Capote's journey as he searched for that fantastic woman that his mother never was. For film majors, this book reveals all the bitter fights behind the scenes about what could and could not be shown on screen. We all know that the screenwriters fought for autonomy from the Production Code, but Wasson shows the true turmoil that directors felt as an artist when they had to cut out sex scenes or raunchy behavior. Overall, this book is a good read because it tells how Breakfast at Tiffany's and Audrey Hepburn, as an icon, came to be in an entertaining, comical, and fluid way.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    The Cover Picture is the Best Thing about this Book

    If you are looking for a book with the inside scoop of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" as the cover might suggest...look elsewhere. The book is predominately about HOW the book finally made it to film and HOW it changed the way we view morality-really?! Very few tidbits of info on the stars. Disappointing read.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Behind the Scenes Look at the Making of Audrey Hepburn!

    Audrey Hepburn is an icon like no other, yet the image many of us have of Hepburn - 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.

    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 early sixties 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. (excerpt back cover)

    In the novel, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., by Sam Wasson, the reader gets to see behind the scenes of perhaps one of the most well-known actresses of all, Audrey Hepburn whose movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's would change how the movies would forever change what was acceptable at that time.

    The reader journeys back in Hepburns past and gets the rare opportunity to be an early witness to what became the rise to fame for Audrey. Not being much to look at by the definition of Wasson, she wasn't one of the most beautiful woman, but she had a rare look about her, wide eyes, too long of legs, too skinny of arms and the most unappealing crooked smile. Hardly things one would consider when looking at the history of the movies Hepburn starred in.

    During the early 50's the censors, still controlled what we seen and what would be removed before anything made it to movies or television and for woman to be seen having affair or even the idea of having sex was only allowed in the minds of the writers. We see how much in the novel, that Hepburn wanted a married life complete with children and that she valued it so much, not even her movies or rise to stardom would be allowed to interfere.

    I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and LOVED how Audrey Hepburn was written about, what she cared about and how she eventually became the lady who captivated us all with sophistication and elegance and a bit of class. We get an opportunity to look at some rare moments in Old Hollywood and how movies made it from books to the big screen! I award this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars and gave me a better appreciation for what really goes on behind the scenes in the life of Audrey Hepburn and other celebrities.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    Great Book!!

    Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. is about Audrey Hepburn (Holly Golightly) the woman behind the little black dress. In the book it talks about Hepburns life before the making of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and her personal life. It also goes into depth about the making of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and Truman Capote's life. one of the main themes that comes out in the book is the role of women in the 1950's and 60's. Women were supposed to get married, have kids, keep their husbands happy, and portey a perfect life and while Audrey Hepburn did so her character Holly Golightly did exactly the opposite. Holly was a high-class call girl and did not want to settle down and have the normal American life. The context of the the Book/ movie was frowned upon by many American. when Capote was trying to publish the book Harper's Bazaar refused to publish it because of its "crude context". Holly changed Americas out look on Fashion, sex, and movies forever. IF you like 'Breakfast at Tiffany's This is the perfect book to read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    An easy read for those who enjoy Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's!

    Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of the most iconic movies in the history of cinema. From Audrey Hepburn's little black dress to her singing Moon River people refer back to it as one of the most society altering movies. Sam Wasson did a great job of un-rooting the controversial aspects of making this movie back in 1950's and 60's. In this book, he covered what American women were like before the release of the movie, the way the production company had an extremely difficult time transferring the book into the movie in order to satisfy certain limits put on them, behind the scene stories and secrets, and the way the modern woman evolved after the release. A major theme in this book is the evolution of the household woman in the 50's and 60's. In the 50's, the life goals of most woman was to learn how to cook, clean, and be the perfect wife and mother for the men in their lives. They were very conservative and traditional. Sex before marriage was one of the most frowned upon things. The thought of a single woman living alone in the city who earns $50 for "the powder room" from wealthy men would send these housewives into cardiac arrest. In the early 60's, after Breakfast at Tiffany's was released, woman began to change their ways. Their main focus wasn't on finding a husband to care for, but to go out, get an education, and find a career. There were many things I liked about this book. The way Wasson describes Audrey's good girl persona was dead on, and how he explained the way Hollywood had to specifically tell people that she was not like her character Holly in any way, shape, or form. Even though this book is non-fiction, the way Wasson wrote it reads like a novel. One of the very few things I disliked about this book was how there was only one short chapter about actually filming the movie. People who enjoyed the movie and/or enjoy Audrey Hepburn should read this book. The details of the hard times Audrey had with starring in this movie aren't in any biographies of her. Also, this is an easy to read novel-like nonfiction book. Those who don't support women's rights or feminism wouldn't respond well to this book because its main focus is on how Breakfast at Tiffany's changed society's idea of the modern woman. Those of you who don't know much about Audrey Hepburn should check out other books about her. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. would be enjoyed easier if you knew more about her and how she was the epitome of a modern woman playing a role that was quite the opposite of that.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    Loved it

    Amazing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    Good; Not Great

    This was a really good book, but it wasn't a front to back page turner. The story doesn't flow so it is extremely easy to get lost. I am a college student and it took me over a month to get through this book. There is alot of information about the 50s movie culture which I found really interesting. I did enjoy this book, but it is for a specific taste.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    Disappointing

    I+first+saw+the+film+as+a+teen+in+the+90s+%26+fell+in+love+with+not+only+with+Audrey%2C+but+the+style+that+surrounded+the+film+%26+the+early+60s+era+I+had+just+%22discovered%22.+Time+%26+finally+reading+the+novel+modified+my+views+of+certain+elements+of+the+film+eventually%2C+but+it+never+took+away+from+the+glamor.+It+was+with+this+enthusiasm+that+I+started+this+book%2C+to+gain+additional+insight+into+the+events++%26+characters+that+were+involved+in+bringing+the+story+to+the+screen.+But+it+didn%27t+shed+much+light+onto+either+those+facts+or+those+people+in+an+intriguing+way.+As+a+magazine+article+it+would%27ve+been+better.+There+were+certain+details+provided+that+just+didn%27t+excite+enough+to+be+a+whole+read+%26+left+me+wanting.+

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    What We Need Now

    Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., by Sam Wasson, is a little book with a lot to say.

    The title tells you where and when shooting began on a silly-yet-pivital romantic comedy - the movie version of Breakfast at Tiffany's - and the book proceeds to put the whole production into the context of its time.

    Think late-fifties, early sixties. The world was different then. I had forgotten how different.

    What really interested me, though, was seeing how a story can be reimagined, and why this one had to be.

    First of all, if you've never read Breakfast at Tiffany's, do it now. Go ahead. Go. The rest of this can wait and I don't want to spoil anything for you ...

    It's stunning, don't you think, just how good Capote's comic tragedy really is. I just read it again and was astonished once more by how much feeling he was able to pack in so few pages.

    But the novella - even though it provides most of the dialogue in the film and shows more than it tells - was not well suited for the screen. Not at the time.

    In Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., we learn that screenwriter George Axelrod struggled with the adaptation and nearly dispaired. This wasn't the typical Hollywood romance where Rock Hudson tries to bed Doris Day and she holds him off until they're married.

    The central character, Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn in the movie) is a Manhatten partygirl living off the largess of rich old men. Virginity isn't an issue.

    That was good because, we're told, Axelrod had been itching to do a truly adult comedy. It was bad because he had the Motion Picture Production Code to worry about.

    I watched the movie again last night and, while far from perfect, it is fascinating in its own right. Holly comes across as innocent compared to Paul, the male lead, who Axelrod reimagined as not just a struggling writer (as in the book) but one who prostitutes himself to a rich, older, married woman who leaves cash on the dresser when she leaves in the morning.

    That was OK with Holly and with the censors and it all ends happily.

    What I'd really like to see is a remake by the Coen Brothers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved Every Word Of It...

    Fifth Avenue 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson is the back story about the writing of and eventual production of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Wasson also delves into how Breakfast at Tiffany's helped shaped the modern woman and usher in the sexual revolution of the 60's.

    Beginning with Capote writing the short story Breakfast at Tiffany's and ending with the reception of the film version, the book chronicles the long arduous journey from short story to produced film. Fifth Avenue discusses all the ways that Breakfast at Tiffany's helped usher in the ideals that shaped a modern woman. The ideas that a woman could be in control of her own sex life, work, and be independent.

    Sam Wasson articulates his thoughts and points beautifully. He takes all of these fantastic bits and pieces of knowledge about the story writing, screenplay writing, costume design, lighting, character casting, just everything and molds it into a narrative that flows from beginning to end. The reader can definitely feel his love and appreciation for Tiffany's through this work.

    One of my favorite things about the novel are the sections about how it influenced pop culture and society. As a HUGE film fan I absolutely love reading about the power that films have to impact our lives. To read about how the film influenced modern culture and also how it's choice of leading lady helped lead a feminist revolution was awesome.

    I find it really interesting that a lot of modern cultural references to the empowerment of women, such as Sex and the City and 9 to 5, can trace their roots to the image of a strong and confident Holly Golightly. The way the book analyzes what made Holly Golightly such a new female is very interesting.

    I cannot recommend this book enough. You will not be disappointed!

    Kimberly (Reflections of a Book Addict)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Good books

    I like this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    L

    Bfz. N








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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    Dislike Theme

    Not good.

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  • Posted March 24, 2013

    This is an exceptional novel for any Audrey Hepburn fan. The res

    This is an exceptional novel for any Audrey Hepburn fan. The research and facts are amazing and you will not see Breakfast at Tiffany's the same, but only admire it more. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S

    Audrey Hepburn is my icon all of my fav actresses put together.I have almost all of her movies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    I loved this moive!!!:)

    Yeyy i love breakfest at tiffanys

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Great book

    Will recommend

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