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Long Live Romance
on 10 February 2009
When I was sixteen (in 1962) I spent my hard-earned pocket money taking an attractive girl of similar age to see the then newly-released Dr. No, the first James Bond movie starring Sean Connery. With the benefit of hindsight that was a mistake. Being an immature, ignorant and testosterone - driven youth at the time I wrongly assumed that the James Bond method of seduction was the way forward, with the result that what promised to be a meaningful and potentially long relationship ended quite abruptly when the girl decided I really was the sort of boy all good mothers warn their daughters against. I should have taken the girl to see Breakfast at Tiffany's instead and learned from the example of Paul (played by George Peppard) how really to woo the object of one's affection. One of the most endearing scenes in Breakfast at Tiffany's is where Holly asks Paul if she can join him in his bed because she regards him as her friend. She quickly falls asleep in his arms and unlike James Bond and his ilk Paul demonstrates he is a man to be trusted with the honour of the opposite sex.
It took many years before I came to appreciate what a great film Breakfast at Tiffany's is. The film, of course, is nearly 50 years old and a modern audience must judge the film's weaknesses - and there are a few - within the context of its time. Nowadays mothers would be warning their sons, rather than their daughters, about the dangers of falling for a seemingly hopeless and self-seeking girl like Ms Golightly. Psychologists no doubt will say that Paul was suffering from a rescuer complex and was on a hiding to nothing. Well, in the real world, perhaps. But Breakfast at Tiffany's is about love conquering all, which it does in the end, and in my view the film is an admirable antidote to the harsh realities of the present with its cynical values. Every modern young man or aspiring lothario should be made to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's before being allowed anywhere near the opposite sex. Audrey Hepburn gives a great and convincing performance and George Peppard is the quintessential Mr nice guy. But for a real tearjerker, the cat steals the show. In my opinion it's among the best romantic films of all time.