Following the terrifically entertaining first season of “Feud” way back in 2017 that depicting the seething rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Ryan Murphy’s long awaited second season is every bit its equal, with the same kind of attention to sets, costumes, storytelling and especially casting 

“Feud: Capote vs. The Swans” (FX, 10:15 p.m.) depicts a time in the 1970s when writer-turned-society gadfly Truman Capote cavorted and took lunch with rich women on Fifth Avenue, like Jackie Kennedy’s sister Lee Radziwill and C.Z. Guest.

They partied and vacationed together, and the women enjoyed Capote’s never-ending stories and gossip. 

Until he decided to share all their secrets in a notorious Esquire magazine article “La Côte Basque, 1965,” which effectively shut him out of their lives.  

Written by Jon Robin Baitz from a book by Laurence Leamer, and directed largely by Gus Van Zant, it tells its tale somewhat out of chronological order, in part to stretch the story to eight episodes, but also to deepen the characterizations.

And what a cast.

It must be fun to play Capote, judging from the actors that have taken up his mincing voice and mannerisms, from Philip Seymour Hoffman to Toby Jones. Add the British actor Tom Hollander as equal among them; he previously played the head of the “evil gays” on the second season of “The White Lotus.” The mannerisms come as second nature to him as he reflects both the insecurities of the man and his occasional viciousness.

To portray the swans that Capote cultivated, Murphy again proved he has a special place in his heart for seasoned actresses, with Naomi Watts as Babe Paley, who strives for perfection despite her philandering, powerful husband, CBS chief William Paley (Treat Williams, in his final role); Diane Lane adds edge to her glamour as Slim Keith; Chloé Sevigny seems born to play a socialite the level of C.Z. Guest. And this is not to mention Calista Flockhart as Radziwill, Demi Moore as a particularly wronged woman in the circle, and Molly Ringwald as Johnny Carson’s ex.

There’s a nice variety to the episodes — one purports to be black and white outtakes of a Maysles Brothers film of Capote’s famous 1966 black and white masked ball. There are trips to Palm Springs and more than a couple of rehab stints. But it’s juicy look at the last gasp rapidly out-of-time society ladies and the lushes who chronicled them. 

And if you can’t wait until 10:15 to see it on FX, a “director’s cut” of the first episode actually starts a bit earlier, at 10. 

One thought on “Wednesday TV: ‘Feud: Capote vs. The Swans’”
  1. How does the Director’s Cut of the pilot episode compare to the regular pilot episode? Is one worth watching over the other?

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