Aaron DiManna
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“Capote” and its Bel Air Blunders

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A turquoise 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, much like one of the two seen in the film "Capote"
Photo: Sicnag via CC

In 2005’s “Capote,” Phillip Seymour Hoffman delivered the performance of a lifetime as Truman Capote, the novelist who penned classic works like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood.” The biopic centers on everything he went through while writing the latter title and took home numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor. But, like many great movies, it’s not without issues. The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, in particular, played a part in some interesting gaffes.


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Anachronisms

What would a period piece be without a few good temporal snafus? The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air appears in numerous scenes, as Truman Capote and his friend Harper Lee — yes, the same Harper Lee who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” — rented it in order to traverse Kansas and investigate the murder case upon which “In Cold Blood” is built. Its inclusion in “Capote” is interesting for several reasons.

To start, IMDB states that since the film took place in 1959; a 1955 Bel Air would have been considered “too old to still be in a rental fleet,” a sentiment echoed by IMCDB user and creative username-writer Max Power. Additionally, during the scene where Capote and Lee rent the vehicle, you can see another Chevy with aluminum-alloy wheels, which weren’t available at the time.

Straight-up goofs

The Bel Air isn’t in the clear yet. IMDB also states that, as our main characters drive around Kansas gathering information of the Clutter family’s grizzly murder, it “keeps changing from a turquoise Chevy to an earlier model yellow and white Chevy.” There are also instances where minor features vanish into thin air. At one point, a Chevrolet sticker on the driver’s side window disappears between scenes. Additionally, “sun shades on the windows are visible from inside the turquoise car, while the yellow car has none.”

I didn’t notice any of these inconsistencies the first time I saw “Capote,” and learning about them hasn’t taken anything away from Hoffman’s masterful performance or the overall experience. They are fun to watch out for, though.


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