Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released 50 years ago and is thus making a brief return to cinemas. Yesterday I saw it on the big screen and even though I have seen it a dozen times, it became even better. Without wanting to sound like a piracy ad: seeing it in the cinema makes all the difference kids, especially with a film that is so visually stunning.
The main reason of course: Audrey Hepburn. She is my very favourite icon (mind you, not actress!) who oozes elegance and class: perfect for this role of Holly Golightly. Holly was a new kind of woman for the 60s: free and independent, looking for fun but in style.
Ms Golightly is a young socialite, constantly surrounded by people and parties. Truman Capote’s original short story is more explicit about her ways to make an income, but the film only alludes to this: Holly insists she pays her way by the $50 that gentlemen give her to go to the powder-room and the money she makes by visiting a criminal in prison and communicating the ‘weather report’ to his ‘lawyer’. A gold-diggah, perhaps but a classy one.
When the young writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard) moves into the appartment above, he reminds Holly of her brother Fred and they become friends. Paul has is own issues: his flat is being paid for (and he himself is being paid for more than his writing abilities) by his patroness, a rich and married lady played by Patricia O’Neal.
Holly comes to rely on Paul, who she constantly calls Fred, as a real friend. She confides in him about her hopes with some of her other ‘friends’ and her disappointments when they turn out to be ‘rats’. When a shadow from Holly’s past comes to visit her, she relies on Paul to help her out and to distract her from her sadness and confusion afterwards.
This results in one very cute sequence where they
spend a day doing things they have never done before: she introduces him to her favourite place (Tiffany’s) and he takes her to the library where his book is kept. Both are dressed sharply but Audrey out does anyone thanks to her friend Mr Givenchy.
Paul gets an insight in the vulnerable side to Holly and promptly (quelle surprise) falls in love with her. The problem is that Holly, the self-declared wild-thing, compares herself to her pet cat: both are no name slobs who belong to no one.
It is a Hollywood from the 60s: issues arise when ‘Meaningful Statements’ are made in speech (Shhh George, let go of the Method acting, just be beautiful.) Plus, there is Mickey Rooney playing a Japanese guy – cringe worthy or just take it in one’s stride?
I choose for the latter as this is not a film to make any statements, apart from fashion perhaps: it is just a darling love story.