TELEVISION: NOT TRU CRIME

IN COLD BLOOD RETURNS AS A GUTLESS MINI-SERIES

When Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood, the film based on Truman Capote's celebrated nonfiction novel, was released in 1967, a number of critics complained that it lacked a point of view. Unable to capture the real merit of the book--Capote's masterly accretion of detail in telling the true story of a prosperous Kansas farm family's gruesome murder--the film meanders about, touching on unoriginal themes: that men can kill with no good reason, that boys brutalized will grow up to brutalize, that the pure of heart often die in vain.

If these ideas were banal nearly 30 years ago, they seem even...

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