In cold type

When Truman Capote set out to profile Marlon Brando for The New Yorker in 1957, he knew just how to set his traps

One morning in January, 1957, Josh Logan, the veteran Broadway producer and Hollywood director, came down from his room into the lobby of the Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, Japan, and spied just about the last person in the world he wanted to see. There, at the front desk, perched on his tippy-toes to sign in, was the diminutive writer and enfant terrible, Truman Capote.

Logan was not entirely shocked to see him. Weeks earlier, he had been informed of Capote’s intention to write a story for The New Yorker about the making of Sayonara, the film the director was shooting in Japan for Warner Bros., starring Marlon Brando. Logan had moved aggressively to head off the story. The previous year, Capote had written his inaugural feature for the magazine, about a touring company of the musical Porgy and Bess as it made a landmark journey through the Soviet Union. Capote spent weeks on the road with the players, and the resulting two-part story, “The Muses Are Heard,” was an unsparing and often hilarious vivisection of the troupe and its well-to-do sponsors.

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