Tuesday, August 9, 2011

373. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Running Time: 115 minutes
Directed By: Blake Edwards
Written By: George Axelrod, from novel by Truman Capote
Main Cast: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam


Actually, I met Audrey in an earlier film I watched for the book, "The Lavender Hill Mob", when she made a cameo appearance, but who's counting. Believe it or not, I had never seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's" prior to last night and once again the book serves me up an absolutely fantastic film.

Audrey Hepburn is Holly Golightly, a socialite girl who lives in New York and lives off the gifts of generous men, who can't help but be enamored by her. When the film opens, Holly steps out of a cab, nibbling on a pastry and sipping a cup of coffee, early in the morning and strolls along in front of Tiffany's, perusing the merchandise. Returning home, she is chased down by a gentleman caller, that she apparently entertained the night before, who wants nothing more than a little more of her company. Holly slams the door in his face and goes to sleep. When she awakes, she is awakened by the new gentleman living in her building, Paul Varjak (Peppard), who politely asks to use her phone. She allows it and they immediately strike up a conversation. Holly tells Paul that she'll be going today to visit Sally Tomato in Sing Sing, an ex-crime boss who pays Holly to come once a week and visit him in prison. As the film progresses, Holly and Paul become closer and closer and it's apparent that Paul isn't much different from Holly, a drifter - someone who belongs to no one and has no one. Holly's ultimate goal is to find a rich man, so she can live comfortably for the rest of her life and Paul's ultimate goal quickly turns from getting his writing published, to securing Holly as his own.


I think I've just realized something - the best movies are the ones that are tougher for me to write about. There's something about the really good ones that makes me freeze up when my fingers start clacking away at the keyboard. Anyway, in a word, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is fantastic. I wasn't really sure what to expect going into this, as the only things I really knew about it were the facts that Truman Capote wrote the novella and that Audrey Hepburn wore a black dress that would ultimately make her a symbol of elegance for years to come. Even today, if you stroll past the home and living section of Wal-Mart, you can find cheap wall art of Audrey in her black dress and holding her entirely too long cigarette holder.

Anyway, I'm not really tackling my thoughts now, am I? From the opening scene of the city of New York stripped of it's people and one single girl (Holly) stepping out of that cab and strolling around on the barren streets, I knew this movie was going to be something special. The soft score being slowly poured over the images, only helped to make the moment more magical, as I gazed at the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Once the film got started, at first, I was a little confused. Nothing really seemed to mesh together. We had characters whom I really didn't understand entirely. Were Holly and Paul, female and male prostitutes respectively? As the film rolled on it became clear that Holly wasn't a prostitute per se, but rather a social girl who didn't mind accepting a handout. I think, however, you can still view the film as if she is a call girl. I think it makes it better actually. Having to think up certain, specific words to define Holly, when she's clearly a call girl, just gets in the way and it's easier to imagine this writer falling in love with a call girl and being unable to secure her.

In the film, Holly represents that uncatchable fish that Paul just can't seem to reel in (until the end). She likes him and he loves her, but she's too bogged down with "responsibilities" to take his love seriously. I think as a man, I can speak for all men and say that I think we've all met a girl like Holly in our lifetime, at some point. A girl that we had feelings for, but that there was no way in hell we were ever going to tie down with marriage or even a committed relationship. That's who Holly was in this film. A girl who flew by the seat of her pants and didn't intend on getting tied down, who accepted any favor she could garner from any man who would offer it and lived off of them. It was just a really fun film, beautifully shot and wonderfully acted film, that I already want to go and re-live again.

RATING: 8.5/10 I'm probably undercutting it a little, but for now I'll play it safe and go with an '8.5'. Don't be surprised to see my come back here sometime in the next week with reviews for "My Fair Lady" and "Roman Holiday".


August 9, 2011 1:28pm


  1. Sorry I've not been around a while, I was in hiding from the Spielburg season.
    And sorry again, I just don't get 'Breakfast', or for that matter the whole Audrey Hepburn thing* "I may be selfish, emppty headed, but(Flutters eyelashes), Look at me I'm really pretty, (flutter flutter), so everyone else has to look fter me, (flutter), buy me LOTS of expensive things, because a woman as pretty as me is nothing without designer clothes, jewelry, and because I'm so pretty, I can get away with anything, because beautiful people are so much better than you ordinary people...". It's so superficial, surface and ... If she had been around, Imagine Audry Hepburn in 'The princess Di story' Shudder.
    And as for the seriously offensive portrayal of a Japenese by Micky Rooney...
    OK, so it's a romantic fantasy, and I'm taking this far to seriously, and maybe it's about realising just how aweful and trivial her lifestyle was.. but thats not what it's watched for is it? It's to swoon over those 'gorgeous' dresses, accessories, glamourous flats, life style etc. I'm afraid I just don't like worshiping that sort of attitude.

    Ray grinds to a halt in his tirade and needs to shut up.

  2. Ray, I 100% agree with you on Mickey Rooney. I found his presence obnoxious, offensive and unwanted and honestly, I can't believe I forgot to mention that myself. On the subject of Audrey, however, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree. For me, she just seemed to have a presence that I really can't explain, but that made me want to watch more and more of her. As always Ray, thanks for your comments!

  3. This is not a real depiction of anything, is just a world of imagination, some kind of the flashback every healthy adult needs. Whether to not to freak up so tight, or to be able to handle accurately with one's life.
    There a lot of symbolism in the film, the characters just represent different aptitudes everybody undertakes on your living, in a microcosm, where we give away our demons.


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