After one of her frequent visits to Tiffany's--New York City's dazzling jewellery store--and the maximum security Sing-Sing prison for mobster Sally Tomato's weekly "weather report", Holly Golightly, Manhattan's elegant socialite, finds herself infatuated with her charming new neighbour, Paul Varjak. Stuck in a persistent creative rut, Paul, too, lets himself drawn into Holly's superficial world, of course, not because he likes the idea that he reminds her of her brother, but because, little by little, he succumbs to Holly's beguiling allure. Even though they don't openly admit it, the two reluctant lovers have a past that they struggle to keep at bay; nevertheless, are their well-hidden secrets powerful enough to keep them apart? After all, Paul and Holly are meant for each other. Will an early-morning breakfast at Tiffany's be the prelude to a breezy young love?Written by
This film is an amazing achievement for Audrey Hepburn. The part was clearly written for Marilyn Monroe. (To think of Hepburn as a backwoods girl is absurd.) Monroe would have made a meal of this and it would have been her signature role. But she was in the midst of her emotional troubles at this time and the role was given to a very different actress in Hepburn who produced a very different Holly Golightly. And yet she did it so well that it became HER signature role instead. It's not unusual for an actor to make a role his own such that you can't picture someone else in the role even thought there are actually many who could have played it. But to take a role intended specifically for another, one for which one does not appear suited, and make that your own well, that's a great acting achievement. It certainly is Audrey Hepburn's greatest role, a performance with many more complexities than any other she ever gave.
It's also a fabulous film. I love beauty emerging form contradiction, like a rhapsody emerging from apparently unrelated themes and musical noises. Here we have something that is at times a wacky comedy, a breezy romance and yet is full of depth and drama. So many things have happened and we have been introduced to so many characters at the end, it's amazing they all fit together. I also like the bravery of doing a story about two people who are basically prostitutes in 1961. It's daring yet there's nothing sleazy about he film because it concentrates on who these people are as people- what they are, not what they do.
And the film has the most eclectic cast I can imagine. Romantic heroine Audrey Hepburn. Method actor George Peppard. Sleek man-killer Patricia Neal. Actor's actor Martin Balsam. Old reliable Buddy Ebsen, just before he hammed it up as Jed Clampett, playing a subtle and touching version of the same thing. Mickey Rooney provides the only jarring note with his scenery chewing performance as the Japanese landlord, something we could surely have done without. Did you know that Audrey's gangster sugar daddy is played by Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flintstone? And don't forget John McGiver's delicate turn as the clerk at Tiffany's.
You can debate the virtues of a film into the night. What really counts in the end is: Does it stay in the memory vividly years later? Would you like to watch it again? And when you watch it again, does it take you back to when you first saw it? Breakfast at Tiffany's certainly does. It will always be the prize in the cracker-jack box.
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