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.
on 21 June 2012
This was bought for my daughter, who loved it.
There are obvious flaws with the film, the main one being that Audrey Hepburn is just too prim and proper to be believable as an escort/call girl (only subtly hinted at but obvious to an adult audience). Truman Capote purportedly wanted Marilyn Monroe in the Holly Golightly role and she would have been a better fit (think "The Seven Year Itch") but the utter charm and visual style of the movie makes you forget the shortcomings and just enjoy.
How sad that George Peppard is now most famous as Hannibal Smith in the A-Team. He is a handsome leading man in this with a real movie star charisma - and he can act better than I remembered.
They truly don't (because they can't) make them like this anymore.
on 20 December 2005
The iconic presence of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, George Peppard's finest performance, and the classic Mancini theme music make this one of the most famous films of the 1960's, if not, perhaps, one of the finest.
Based on a Truman Capote story, Hepburn plays a New York call girl consumed by her own delusions. She is a fake, but a genuine one: she has fled some mysterious past, lives from day to day, and dreams of marriage to some millionaire and the Prince Charming route to upward mobility and respectability. Until her dreams come true, she lives with her fantasies, bored, unable even to bother to name her cat.
Peppard is an unproductive writer who makes a living as the kept plaything of an older, rich, married woman. He moves in to the same apartment block as Hepburn, and quickly falls for her charms. Hepburn, of course, is irresistible. No nudity, no sex scenes, everything coy and 'decent', but Hepburn simply sizzles. 'Irresistible' hardly does her justice.
The film has aged somewhat - the 1961 party scenes and social mores look quaint. The sleaziness of the principals' lifestyle is barely commented upon. But "Breakfast at Tiffany's" retains a magnetism of its own. A lightweight romantic comedy, a bit sentimental and sexually sanitised, it remains a compulsive, entertaining tale. It has magical moments - Hepburn, of course, established Holly as an iconic figure of the 60's, and you wonder why George Peppard never recaptured the presence he exerts throughout this film, but watch out for a marvellous little cameo sequence in Tiffany's. Watch out, also, for an appalling comedy role by Mickey Rooney, playing a Japanese caricature which would probably be banned today.
Buying this package may appeal to those of you who are avid collectors of anything to do with the film or Hepburn, but you otherwise need to ask yourself if you need the 'extras' provided with this one, for, if you simply want to watch the film, there are cheaper options.
on 23 September 2003
The lovely and quirky Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) has an oddly refreshing, and sometimes naive, outlook on life. Independent as her cat, "Cat," she lives for tomorrow, always on the prowl for her "millionaire." Befriended by her neighbor, played by George Peppard, the two share the ups and downs of what life has to offer these two ever-searching misfits. A wonderful film to be enjoyed on a cold winter's day with a warm, fuzzy blanket (or a warm, fuzzy friend!).
Having just read the book I was interested in revisiting the film. The first thing to say is that the film differs from the book in many, many, ways.
I much preferred the book which was quite brilliantly written for such a short Novella.
The film was a very nice watch in many ways, but for me was severely compromised by the quite dreadful character of Yunishi, played by Mickey Rooney. The character and acting are mind-numbingly awful, in fact, totally cringworthy and one of the worst portrayals in a film that I’ve ever seen. I am not talking of a racist slant here. This character does not figure in the book – Thank God!
Both lead characters in the film, though not in the book, are ‘kept’ people who have to occasionally offer sex to survive financially – this for me was another weakness in the storyline of the film.
The best thing about the film is undeniably the writing of ‘Moon River’ for the score, that went on to win an Academy Award – it is still one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Both the film and Hepburn won Golden Globes.
Like some on here, I too found Hepburn’s portrayal as good, though not particularly sexy or outstanding. I think another lead may have offered more of a sexual attraction to her sugar daddies? She came across to me as a little girl lost and very naïve, and not as a sophisticated siren with real pulling power.
The film won its awards and turned a 2.4 million dollar make into a 14 million grossing. It was an undeniable success in every way. It scores well on IMDB & RT - 8/10.
I moderately enjoyed it but I’d rather read the book as it’s much more believable.
Few films achieve such an iconic status as this, the image of Audrey Hepburn with her famous hair-do, sunglasses, Givenchy dress and cigarette holder is so famous that even if you've never seen the film before - it still feels rather familiar. She appears to be an outspoken, confident woman aware that she dazzles those who are lucky to meet her, but as the film progresses we get to see her for the fragile girl she really is.
A New York apartment block provides a chance for Holly Golightly and washed up author Paul to meet. It's the first of several meetings and the two start to see the reality of each other's life situations. Holly is a socialite desperate to bag a rich man, she often receives payment from men in exchange for her company - make of that what you will, there's no explicit reference to soliciting sex but she makes it clear that she is willing to "do anything" for the money. Breakfast At Tiffany's starts as a patchy comedy which peaks during a cocktail party scene where drunken antics turn into comedy farce, it depicts the desperation of a group of women who tread the fine balance of wooing wealthy men while also trying to keep them at a distance, it's as tragic as it is funny and still relevant today with the small groups of girls whose lowly ambitions end at marrying a rich footballer, a desire for shallow lifestyle rather than genuine fulfilment. A more unwelcome source of comedy comes from Mickey Rooney's "Mr. Yunioshi" - the Japanese landlord uses all the racial stereotypes to create a slapstick character which doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the film and looks even more out of place several decades later.
George Peppard is well cast as the down-to-earth author who tells it how it is, there's a chemistry between his character and Hepburn's Holly which really drives the film. Although the ending can be predicted from the beginning, it isn't a formulaic romance and Paul's interest in Holly seems reluctant at times and she frustrates him as much as she attracts him, there's no phoniness with him and he isn't interested in the glamorous façade, he doesn't necessarily 'want to get the girl' either - he just wants to see her make better decisions. Holly seems to be the product of a series of the relationships she's had with men, she's a psychologists dream and her fragility simmers under the surface of a confident looking woman. She's scared to invest emotionally in a relationship and Paul seems wary of the baggage, but their relationship is forged on stolen moments where their guard is dropped and they are able laugh together.
Peppard is good, but there's no doubting who the star is here. Hepburn is almost unbelievably beautiful and though sassy she comes across as gently unhinged and vulnerable, she is stunning but instead of being overly sexy you simply you want to scoop her up and sort her life out. Never before has a neurotic shoplifter been so utterly charming, her role here is one of the most stylish ever in cinematic history and yet her most moving moments are when she is not quite at her best due to tears, tantrums, or dressed in her casual scruffs giving a beautiful rendition of Moon River. Hepburn is someone I've always recognised but never paid much attention to, but it's impossible not to be captivated by her in this, her most famous role.
The cover for this special anniversary edition Blu-Ray release is pretty drab with a beige/brown cover - thankfully Hepburn livens it up with her trademark image from the film. The actual picture quality is excellent though, the soft focus scenes which Hollywood seemed to love at the time stand out more as they obviously lack any detail, but the colours and textures look excellent. To be honest though, even if this were an overplayed VHS edition - Audrey Hepburn would still look gorgeous. The Audio suits the film well and sounds clear, the film has quite a few post-dubbed scenes which stand out as the voices are almost too perfectly recorded (particularly for outdoor scenes) but this is nothing to do with the Blu-Ray transfer, it's a throwback to how films were recorded at the time. There are plenty of bonuses on this release too which cover most aspects of the classic; from Mancini's music, the iconography of Hepburn, and even a discussion about the dubious casting of Mickey Rooney as a comedy Japanese man.
In a nutshell: Breakfast At Tiffany's has its flaws but it's rightfully considered a classic. This is all-too-often dismissed as a simple old fashioned romance but the exploration of a girl who realises the value of her own worth develops into a film which is much more than the comedy it initially looked to be.
Quite how I got to my 50s without seeing this I don't know. But better late than never.
It's a captivating witty tale - pretty daring and adult for it's time. Hepburn is of course stunning and enchanting, Peppard a revelation for this like me who know him for his later action roles.
Yes it's dated badly in places, particularly the `comedy' Japanese neighbour.
But don't let that spoil your enjoyment, there are too many good things here.
Yesterday I had a sudden craving for a classic movie. I didn't know where the urge came from, or how long it would last, so I figured that I should choose a very special movie just in case it vanished as quickly as it came. Fortunately for me, I chose Breakfast at Tiffany's, and now I think I'll go hunting for more of the same.
In a nutshell, Holly Golightly (a radiant Audrey Hepburn) is an unconventional young woman who lives life on the edge on Manhattan's Upper East Side. She's very impulsive and money-oriented, and spends her evenings flirting with older male acquaintances upon whose generosity she survives and thrives. Her favorite place in the world is Tiffany's, the famous jewellery store that calms her down on "mean red" days. Her erratic behavior irritates her upstairs neighbor, an unfortunately cast Mickey Rooney, who's as Japanese as American Pie, and quite offensive as a stereotype. She's also friendly with an imprisoned mob boss named Sally Tomato whom she visits weekly and talks about the weather.
When a struggling writer (George Peppard) moves into the building, she instantly recognizes him as a kindred spirit, especially when she learns that he also accepts money from the opposite sex for services rendered. Finding in him a sympathetic ear, a sounding board and willing accomplice all in one, the two become friends through good times and bad, even when her husband Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen) shows up with an ultimatum of his own. Male friends come and go, and bad luck seems to follow her around, but Holly bears it all in style with a gorgeous wardrobe, an unsinkable attitude, a long cigarette holder and plenty of booze for back-up.
A classic movie deserves an award winning soundtrack, and this movie has one mega-famous signature song. Audrey Hepburn may not have the best singing voice on the world, but when she sings Henry Mancini's "Moon River" you'll find yourself singing along too.
Like Tiffany's, this movie is another sure-fire cure for the mean reds.
on 29 July 2002
There is a fantastic other-worldliness about Audrey Hepburn. She has the ability to mystify and to provocate in the most alluring and yet innocent way. Her 'big magic eyes' may be childlike, but her performance as the ditzy Holly Golightly in the wonderful Breakfast At Tiffanys has to be her most mature performance ever. An irony considering the character required a naive, Southern Belle optimism and the resilience of a jilted teenager. However, her heart was obviously present in the role originally intended for Marilyn Monroe, who in my opinion may have had twice the cleavage but hadn't half the brain that Hepburn possessed. This tough role required delicacy and some of the more emotional scenes required intense concentration and dedication to the character; a task Monroe could never fulfill.
There are symbolic edges to the script however, and Hollywood certainly revealed it's own ugly mentality towards the subject of the 'Female As An Object.'
Unusually for Hepburn, the film is not escapist; there are moments of tragic despair, desertion and semi-philosophical self-doubt. No other Hepburn movie has this realism. Indeed, this means a new part of Hepburn is brought to this production.
The flagship of the score, 'Moon River', is title theming par excellence. The melody is almost Steinbeckian in poetry, and the lyrics are heartbreakingly tragic. Mancini's combination of New York sophistication and Southern simplicity in the score is wonderful to behold.
A thought for George; Mr Peppard's best acting role, he never shirked in front of or hid behind Hepburn, and fortunately he was never too persistent for us to lose sympathy with him.
Slick (maybe not Phildelphia Story slick, but...), powerful, romantic and extremely likeable, Breakfast At Tiffanys is a welcome departure from the incessant banality of modern film & television.
No wonder we're still obsessed with Hollywood's golden era.
A better investment than you'd think.
Audrey Hepburn had a lot of memorable, glamorous roles as highly individual, sensitive young women.
But her most iconic turn was as Holly Golightly, a frivolous young woman with a highly sensitive core. Hepburn is a ball of shimmering charm here, whether she's setting hats on fire or chasing nameless cats through the rain, and she's able to shine brightly enough to obscure a few flaws (such as Mickey Rooney). The other actors do serviceable jobs, but she's undeniablythe star.
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is a daily ritual for Holly Golightly (Hepburn), a social butterfly who hosts parties, entertains drunken men for their fifty-dollartips, and dreams of owning a horse farm in Mexico with her brother. When kept-man Paul Varjak (George Peppard) moves into a neighboring apartment -- courtesy of his rich patroness -- he is instantly enchanted by the ditzy, sweet-natured Holly.
But for all Holly's fun, Paul starts to realize that all is not well with her. She's desperate to marry a spectacularly wealthy man, parties with wild crowds, visits a notorious gangster in jail, and hides that she was an illiterate teen bride to a hick doctor. As Holly's life starts to deteriorate, Paul sets out to show her what her life will be like without real love.
Reportedly Truman Capote wasn't happy with the movie version of "Breakfast At Tiffany's" -- they changed the ending from his short story's, and he didn't like Hepburn as Holly Golightley. But this is one case where the movie's quality is not reflected by what the author thought of it -- taken on its own merits, it's a fine chocolate with a bittersweet center.
Much of the movie is devoted to the friendship (and unspoken attraction) between Holly and Paul, and how it disrupts their comfortable shallow lives. Paul spends the whole movie unravelling the unhappy tale of Holly's life as she starts spinning out of control. Things climax nastily with Holly's already-questionable reputation being sullied, but the finale is an exquisite mix of brutal honesty, true love and a very unglamorous rainstorm.
That said, it's a pretty hilarious movie -- witty dialogue ("... if you like dark, handsome, rich-looking men with passionate natures and too many teeth") and plenty of kooky humour ("TIMBER!" Holly yells as a drunken model keels over, followed by the crowd parting like the Red Sea). And there are plenty of charming, warm'n'fuzzy moments, like the cute day trip through New York.
One thing that will make viewers cringe: Mickey Rooney's caricatured Japanese landlord who objects to Holly's parties. Not. Funny.
Though she was no party girl, Audrey Hepburn is pitch-perfect as Holly -- she can be flaky and adorable ("I'm CRAAAZY about Tiffany's?"), chattery and glamorous, with a cat she refuses to name because they're just a pair of "poor slobs who don't belong to anybody." But she can just as easily flip the switch to show the wounded, almost childlike side.
George Peppard is just as good -- albeit less winsome -- as a writer-turned-kept-man-turned-writer-again, whose protective affection for Holly grows as the movie goes on, but who has to get through her ironclad defenses. And Patricia Neal rounds out the cast nicely as the icy, cynical woman whom Paul gives his non-literary services to.
Hepburn is the flawed diamond at the heart of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and her charm and acting ability elevate this beyond just another adorable romantic comedy.