Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
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A young and elegantly dressed lady walks around and looking in a shop windows in an early morning. After looking into the shop's windows, she strolls home. Outside her apartment, she fends off her date from the disastrous night before. Later, she meets, a pleasant and somewhat confused writer, the new tenant in her building. They develop a special relationship. She wants to marry a rich man. However, her new friend slowly falls in love with her. Both must give up of some important goals in their lives for the sake of love...
This is an unconvincing and provocative story with a touch of an inappropriate comedy, romance and melodrama. However, this distorted reality has a certain depth. The story of a nobody's-but everyone's girl is, given her past, a naive and painful at the same time. A quiet and insecure writer with an obvious problem of writer's block and hands of a beautiful and rich older lady around his neck enters in her life. It is a quite confusing situation in life.
Costume design is exquisite, the song "Moon River" is haunting as a reflection of fears, turmoil and friendship.
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly / Lula Mae Barnes is an irresistible, irritating, bumbling and gentle woman with two names. She constantly flees away from itself. Holly is "the real fake" and "a wild thing" at the same time. Lula Mae is a person from whom Holly escapes. Ms. Hepburn is a beautiful and gentle actress, exceptional comedienne, who is an ideal choice for this role. George Peppard as Paul Varjak is often set aside as an observer. He was not the right choice for this role. George just can not follow a "twisting" step of the unreliable Holly. Mr. Edwards has tried to equalize their characters. They are unhappy, unfulfilled and they differ from some moral standards. Their relationship is based on an unconditional friendship. There is no a chemistry or love sparks. He has, in an elusive and unreliable girl, found an inspiration in his life. She has found a man who will, regardless of her excesses and lies, always be beside her and lend her a hand when she falls.
Their support are Patricia Neal (Mrs. Emily Eustace "2E" Failenson) as a cool rich woman with a beautiful smile and a magnetic gaze. Martin Balsam as O.J. Berman is very funny as a Hollywood agent. Mickey Rooney as I.Y. Yunioshi is an inappropriate and hackneyed cliché.
This is an odd collection of turbulent and false feelings, which is a comic and melodramatic at the same time, and even occasionally pleasant to watch.
"Tiffany's" is basically about a woman who is incapable of loving. She considers herself a "free spirit" a "wild thing," an independent, adventurous woman who lives for the moment. She is also a bit of a social outcast because her "profession" is essentially that of a call girl. Whether or not she actually sleeps with all of these men (or just some of them) who pay her is unclear, but she definitely uses them. She is not a woman of high moral character and despite her constant "up" attitude and optimistic outlook, she is really quite lonely. It's all a reflection of how she really feels about herself I think. It's almost as if she needs to keep trying new things and distracting herself from the truth, because if she were to actually take a moment to stop and look at herself, she would be confronted with how unimpressive and ordinary she really is. She would also have to face the fact that she is not really that stylish. She is an actor playing a part. "Holly Golightly" isn't even her real name. As I said, she is incapable of loving others because she doesn't really even love herself. She feels she is unlovable. Her self-perception is really quite low and that's why she concocts these huge, elaborate fantasies about being elegant, classy and witty. When I first saw the film, I was so impressed by the charm and beauty of Audrey Hepburn that I instantly fell in love with her. The more I watch the movie, the more I realize how utterly sad and pathetic (yet still likable) her character really is. As Marty Balsam says in the film: "She's a phony, but she's a real phony."
Paul Varjak, the character played by George Peppard (pre A-TEAM days of course) is in a similar situation. He is also playing a role and has a lousy self-image. He wants to write but has had such a hard time at it that he has resigned himself to taking money from a married, rich woman, who considers him to be her "good time" on the side, for his living. Paul and Holly start out as simple neighbors, later become friends and eventually fall in love which ends up scaring the pepper out of Holly. She's okay flirting with someone but as soon as she crosses that line over into falling for someone, she becomes afraid and runs away. She sees love as a "cage," something that stifles people and sucks the life out of them. She needs help. She needs someone to love her and she needs to be able to love them back. This man is the perfect one for her because he needs her just as much as she needs him. They can help each other. They can lift each other up. By themselves they are nothing but together they are complete. They are two miserable people who can find happiness in one another.
I like movies about redemption. Stories about otherwise lowly people who are raised to the heights of happiness through love (without it seeming forced or sentimental) are exceptionally rare but when they do show up they tend to appeal to me (that's the reason why I like the story to "Sabrina" so much too). I will never EVER forget that last scene in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" where Holly is finally confronted with the painful truth that despite all her attempts to deny herself, to hide from her own "ordinariness," nothing about her has really changed. As Paul says "No matter where you go, you just keep running into yourself." She admits that she is lonely and unhappy. She goes back for the cat that she set free moments earlier upon realizing that she was coming dangerously close to "owning" him. In going back for the cat she is really going back for herself. She sees herself as the cat and, in fact, there is frequent imagery throughout the film that connects them (Holly wearing the cat mask that she steals from the shop, "Nine Lives" being the name of the book that Paul wrote, etc.). She didn't want to give him a name because she didn't want him to belong to her, she would consider that "caging" the animal. So she called him simply "cat," but over time "Cat" ended up becoming his actual name. In reclaiming the cat she is sort of reclaiming her own life. For a few moments it looks like "Cat" may be gone forever, but when she hears the soft "meow" and pulls him out of a cardboard box, she is elated. She is the happiest woman on earth. Like the cat, she was lost but now is found. She embraces the cat and kisses her love, Paul, as they stand in the rain. The music swells (Gotta love that "Moon River" song) and the screen fades to black. It is, in my opinion, one of the greatest endings of any movie ever.
The film is indeed lightweight stuff. Audrey Hepburn is a New York good-time girl who makes a living by clipping her wealthy escorts for fifty here and fifty there. When she meets handsome George Peppard--a writer who makes ends meet by trading favors with society matron Patricia Neal--can love be far behind? But Audrey's mysterious past and her determination to marry rich, George's status as a kept boy-toy, and their occasionally questionable associates provide plenty of complications to fill out the story.
What makes the film work is the remarkable charm of its two stars. Most of the attention goes to Audrey Hepburn and the film shows her to remarkable advantage: she is a remarkable actress, personality, and beauty, and she works wonders with the ultralight script. But when it comes to charm, George Peppard is no slouch either: the film catches him at the height of his early golden-boy good looks, and he is the perfect foil for Hepburn in both their comic and dramatic scenes. Mickey Rooney's excessive performance as Yunioshi aside, the supporting cast is also very entertaining, with Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Dorothy Whitney all give enjoyable turns. The film looks great (make sure you get the widescreen version), the score (which includes "Moon River") is excellent, and director Blake Edwards keeps everything moving at a pleasant pace. This a great film to cozy up with on a cold night--romantic, entertaining, and as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate. Recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
-The telephone Holly keeps in a suitcase so she won't hear it. Holly. Ahhhh... Holly. Like some kind of female opposite of James Bond (stick with me here), men all want her, women all want to be her. We need to see *more* eccentric women in leading roles, as opposed to the dull boring stodge of overpaid 'sex symbols' like Julia Roberts or Nicole Kidman who can be pretty or serious but never interesting.
-George Peppard in his finest role, and brilliant it is too. It's a real shock to my generation that has been more accustomed to seeing him tragically underused on trash like the A-Team. It made me want to see more of his early films, and wonder what happened in the intervening years (alcohol, apparently :-( ). An icon of male sensitivity, and there are few enough of them around too.
-That chap who sells them the telephone dialler in Tiffany's. A tiny role that achieves its aims perfectly and makes life seem better, which is what you want really.
Many have said Tiffany's is too saccharine and cheerful, but I think it actually hits the perfect balance of cynicism and sentiment. There are moments of intense depression (which people often forget) as well as hopeful optimism, and these two working together are what make the film so uplifting and memorable.
Holly Golightly makes her living as an escort, but it's not as unseemly as it might seem. What she really is more than anything else is an extroverted Manhattan socialite around whom all kinds of craziness swirls. That craziness is best typified in a famous party scene in Holly's apartment. There are so many people crammed into Holly's little apartment, there's so much going on that you don't even know where to look. But inevitably the eye is drawn back to Holly herself. The character has such style and charisma, as of course does the actress playing her. Everyone remembers the famous black dress but the beauty and elegance of Audrey Hepburn shine through no matter what Holly Golightly's wearing. Heck, she could wear a sheet and make it seem elegant. In fact she does. And that sums up Holly Golightly rather nicely. Beautiful, charming, engaging...and more than a touch eccentric.
It's Audrey's movie through and through and she is never anything less than wonderful in her performance. Playing opposite her in the key male role is George Peppard and he at times comes across as being a little wooden, maybe somewhat dull. But perhaps his character is just suffering in comparison to Holly Golightly who is many things, dull certainly not one of them. Buddy Ebsen has a small role but an important one as it is his character who provides some insight into who Holly really is, or at least who she used to be. We come to learn that Holly has pretty much reinvented herself and there are some wistful moments as we see why she may have felt the need to do so. There will be some roadblocks thrown up in the way of Holly's seemingly blissful existence and as she confronts these obstacles there are times where you know she's doing the wrong thing. But you love her anyway and just hold out hope she'll get it right in the end. That's the irresistible charm of Audrey Hepburn working its magic.
It must be said that for all its charm the film does have one serious black mark against it. Mickey Rooney's portrayal of Holly's bucktoothed, slant-eyed stereotyped Japanese neighbor Mr. Yunioshi is absolutely appalling. It's the type of thing you'd expect from a film made in the 1920s. By 1961 you would have hoped people would have known better. Apparently not. Every time this character appears on the screen you can't help but cringe. The character takes you out of the movie watching experience entirely. You don't see him as a character named Mr. Yunioshi, all you see is Mickey Rooney in hideous yellowface makeup. Awful. And for a character meant to serve as comic relief, even had an Asian actor been cast there is no way around the fact that the character is just not funny at all. It's the one major flaw in a film which, while maybe not an all-time classic, is certainly charming and enjoyable throughout. And as a showcase for the talents and elegance of Audrey Hepburn it could not work any better.
George Peppard plays Paul Varjak, a writer who has to earn his living through a wealthy socialite, Patricia Neal, as her "kept" man. Audrey, who plays Holly Golightly, is a gold-digging call girl, who is looking for the right rich man to marry. Though you would think these two would be unflattering characters, they are both very charming and put on phony personas (especially in Holly's case) in order to survive.
You have to marvel at how a woman like Audrey could look so good in anything she wore. At the beginning of the movie when she first meets Peppard, she's only wearing a simple white shirt that she wears as a nightgown or at the party scene when she first comes out and greets her friend O.J. Berman wearing nothing but a sheet made up to look like a dress! Gorgeous!
It's a marvelous piece of acting when Holly first meets Paul in her apartment, and she's talking about how she has to get ready to meet one of her "clients" in jail, Sally Tomato, and she's talking about her profession, looking at herself in the mirror, getting dressed, asking Paul to find one of her shoes, etc., and then, voila! the famous basic black dress and hat with the wide brim. Very stylish - and in the scene she is given much to work with, the way she has to juggle the dialogue and the action of what she is doing all at once. Very natural and sophisticated at the same time.
Audrey is very believable as Holly because her character is someone who is pretending to be sophisticated, hanging around with phony people, but really comes from humble beginnings. Once in a while you will hear in her voice the "country-girl" drawl, and you will see through the facade of Holly Golightly who she really is. George Peppard is also very handsome and believable as the "starving" writer who also has to sell himself out in order to earn a living.
Many complaints have been made about Mickey Rooney and the "stereotypical" portrayal of the landlord Mr. Yunioshi. Yes, it is stereotyped, but nonetheless, I still thought it was funny. The party scene is one of the best in the movie - hilarious! Wonderful score by Henry Mancini. Of course it's a classic scene when Holly pulls up in front of Tiffany's in the New York taxi, drinking coffee and eating a danish in front of the window. New York City itself is like a vibrant, interesting character in the movie. I could go on and on.
And to top it all off, it's a very romantic love story about two people who find happiness in the crazy, mixed-up world we live in. A classic. Recommended to anyone who loves old Hollywood cinema.
Even when she's hungover or just getting home from an all-nighter (as in the famous opening scene), Hepburn strikes a graceful and glamorous figure. In fact, it's when she's trying to act disoriented or disheveled that her performance is at it's weakest. It's as if she was so inherently stylish that she had to try (too) hard to present anything else! She does a very fine job with the role, even if the character's past is nothing short of preposterous. Peppard comes off as blandly attractive, but wooden. His arrogance regarding his role (fiercely protecting the traditional leading man image) not only undercut his own performance, but also slighted that of Neal's who was diminished as a result. However, sentimental filmgoers probably prefer his more heroic approach and Neal would certainly recoup her losses, earning an Oscar a short time later for "Hud". The most controversial aspect of the film is Rooney's portrayal of an Asian man who lives above Hepburn and who is awakened at all hours by her lifestyle. Whether or not one is offended by the over-the-top stereotype of the buck teeth and slant eyes, the role is not funny anyway! It's all way too forced and obvious, with his pratfalls in sight long before they occur. (A lamp exists RIGHT over his bed for the express purpose of giving him something to hit his head on continuously. Move it, already!) There are many memorable moments in the film including a sequence of Hepburn and Peppard doing things they've never done before, Hepburn sitting on the fire escape plaintively singing the Oscar-winning song "Moon River" (which is used throughout the film by master composer Henry Mancini) and wacky party scene (a prelude to Edwards' "The Party"?) in which all sorts of outre things take place including the cry "Timber!" when a tipsy guest begins to collapse. There's a surprising frankness, for the time, regarding Peppard and Neal's relationship. It seems to be one of the earliest Hollywood films in which the leading man is implied to be nude under the covers in his bed. The film is not without its flaws. Some of the dialogue is annoyingly indulgent and the storyline is fairly patchy (with a tacked on ending.) Still, with the sparkling presence of Hepburn (in some mind-blowing hats and costumes) and the slick work of Edwards, it is easy entertainment.
Neither Holly nor Paul seem to represent real people. Their attraction, which is the focal point of the movie, is a character unto itself. Paul sees Holly as scared, vulnerable, and in need of rescue and enjoys his role as potential knight in shining armor to her damsel in distress. She is drawn to him because he sees beyond her facade of fabulousness to the scared little girl she is inside and which she tries (not that hard really at all) to hide. Adding to her attraction to him is the fact that he stands up to her when she treats him shoddily. This probably does not happen to her too often, and it intrigues her.
These are mostly the tricks a romance novelist uses to keep readers baited and rooting for a fictional, possibly doomed romance to work and do not reflect the real nature of love. There is, however, enough chemistry, genuine affection, and respect between the two characters to keep the story from seeming utterly implausible.
Of course, a movie doesn't have to be realistic to realistically portray what is right and what is wrong with the world we live in. Breakfast at Tiffany's doesn't do a whole lot of that either, though. After watching I can never pinpoint one solid message from it.
What it does have a lot of, as many others have pointed out, is stylish, witty, good fun. This is almost always the movie I choose on the rare occasions when my husband is working late, my son is asleep, I have energy to spare and good bottle of wine just begging to be uncorked. Believable or not, it is well-told and compelling, and remains one of the better movies a gal can lose herself in.
The film's" the two romantic protagonists are Holly Golightly, played wonderfully by Audrey Hepburn, and Paul Varjak, played by George Peppard in an understated performance that well complements Hepburn's. Holly is an aspiring socialite and party-girl looking for a wealthy sugar daddy. Paul is an aspiring writer and kept-man of a wealthy older woman. Neither is happy, but both go through the motions in a swirl of Manhattan parties and parings.
Everything falls nicely into place in this romantic-comedy; directing, musical score, acting, and screenplay. Filmed on location in New York this is a beautiful, captivating movie, that has not only aged well, but is a time machine to a wonderful place that probably really never existed except in our imagination.
And yet the movie does serve up it's share of entertainment value. Hepburn is very pleasing to the eye and her fashion sense is exquisite, she even wears a bed sheet glamorously. If I had to guess, the character of Rusty Trawler (Stanley Adams) looked to me like a stand-in for the novel's writer Truman Capote, though that idea was given less credence when the newspaper headline declared he took his fourth wife. And gosh, up till now I thought the worst characterization of an Asian in a movie was James Cann's impression of a Chinese man in "El Dorado", but Mickey Rooney ran the table here on that score. What was anyone thinking about when they came up with the Yunioshi character? Pretty pathetic.
But as a time capsule reminder of New York City life in the early Sixties, this one has to be classic. Get a load of the vendor prices in Central Park - a frankfurter for twenty cents, peanuts and popcorn for a dime, and if you're willing to pony up a couple more pennies, a box of Crackerjacks for twelve cents! I know it was a half century ago but those numbers just don't sound right to me, but I was just a kid back then and not paying attention.
Well if there's a message here it would probably be Lula Mae's advice to Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen) - "You musn't give your heart to a wild thing", even though that idea seemed to capture the spirit of Holly's confused character. I'm sure the story's happy ending elicited more than it's share of teardrops for movie audiences of the Sixties, coming as it did in the face of Paul Varjak's (George Peppard) challenge to break free of her cage and stop running into herself. You just had to wonder if she could do that after the final credits rolled.
Two prostitutes become friends. George Peppards' role could have been played by anyone breathing and Micky Rooney was too ridiculous to be funny. The always superb Patricia Neal did not have much to do. Only Buddy Epsen moved me.
There are a few noteworthy scenes. But, Breakfast at Tiffany's is the best example I've seen of a lovely cake with a big hole in the middle.
Holly is a huge socialite in her grand world, she finds happiness and joy in the jewelery store, Tiffany's. She is also being paid 100 dollars to visit a drug Mafia leader in prison to make his day. But things begin to change when a very handsome man moves in down stairs from her, Paul, but she calls him Fred since he looks like her brother. He's also in a similar situation where his "Decorator" is paying him for a good time. But together they find themselves helping one another and realizing they may need each other.
Breakfast at Tiffany's is an elegant classic that I would rate up with Seven Year Itch starring Marilyn Monroe. It has great humor and sizzling romance that anyone could fall in love with. Audrey Hepburn took on a role which the character could have been neuritic and annoying, but she made Holly into someone every woman would like to be. Her and George were great together, I would highly recommend Breakfast at Tiffany's, it's a great classic.
I honestly didn't think her character needed a lover, she would've been better off if she didn't bother with a lover and look after herself more. In my personal opinion, I didn't think George Peppard was a good lover for her, I mean like they should've got a better actor to play her lover. He looked rather like a boy than a man. He probably was in his 20's while doing this but same time, I personally didn't think he was a good match for Hepburn tbh..
Its a great entertaining film anyway, I give it a 8/10 including Audrey Hepburns singing!
Considered as a movie it's flawed, though, full of off-key notes and wrong turns. Rooney's Asian caricature is pretty offensive, but a worse problem I think is the dialog throughout, which is very arch and mannered and "writerly" sounding, as well as the nods to Hollywood convention (the party, the gamboling about NYC , the silly paternal Mafioso -- one can imagine somebody insisting that there better be some fun, dammit, in this movie). Most importantly there's a general restraint throughout the picture: the real story here is sad and dark, and it's aching to get through, but instead it's stamped down with a lot of overly-cute Hollywood bits.
Yet that dark story is powerful. Both Peppard and Hepburn are badly damaged people, the fact that they get together (albeit awkwardly) is a tribute to the magic of movies, but their relationship, full of quiet suffering and little hurts, seems very real to me. Peppard is effective as a nice guy who's falling for the wrong woman; Hepburn has some pretty awful dialog, but her performance as a woman who's self-deluding as a way to defend herself from despair (as Martin Balsam says, she's a "real fake") is very strong. This is what I liked best about the movie.
Well, that and Audrey Hepburn herself -- one of those performers for whom movies were invented, she is just amazing to watch. You've heard the cliché "the camera loves her"? Never was that more true than with Audrey Hepburn.
Good, too compromised to be great.
Capote's story is set in the Forties and the film is contemporary 1961 when it was filmed. There's no real plot to it, Capote did a character study and so is this. It's about two people and the fascination that George Peppard's character develops for the unconventionality of Holly Golightly as Hepburn essays her.
Hepburn is the kept woman of a cross section of the male species and Peppard is the boy toy of another woman who rents in their apartment, Patricia Neal. Neal who would win her Oscar the following year for Hud has her character as curiously underdeveloped. It's the main weakness of Breakfast At Tiffany's.
The strength is of course Audrey Hepburn who took Capote's character completely over and it's her vision of the story that we see when the film is broadcast. She's an amoral minx who in the end realizes that her life is really meaningless.
Breakfast At Tiffany's won two Oscars both for Henry Mancini for Best Musical Scoring and Best Original Song for Moon River. That song is best known for Andy Williams's rendition, but there are also superb recordings by Frank Sinatra and Tony Martin. Hepburn got a nomination for Best Actress and the film was also nominated for Best Art&Set Decoration for a color film and Best Screenplay adapted from another medium, in this case Capote's novella.
Considering all the changes made, maybe the credit should have read inspired by Truman Capote's work. In any event this film belongs in the top rank of the works of Audrey Hepburn.
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.
The city of New York is still a fascinating one, but much of it has changed. For instance, the card catalogs of the 42nd Street Public Library that Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak visit are not in those card drawers as they showed in the film scene. They were photocopied into multi-volume sets of card catalog volumes in the early 1970s, and since then the remainder have been put on computers. Even in the late 1960s and early 1970s the reading room did not have any sculptures in them - just desks and library shelves and the central area to pick up the books you ordered.
The period of the film is quite set in New York City in 1959 - 61. Take a look at the "Halloween masks" on sale in the Woolworth's* that Holly and Paul steal. Among the masks they try on is one of Huckleberry Hound, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character who was popular in 1960. It is mentioned on this thread that the mask reminds us of the lyrics in "MOON RIVER" regarding "my huckleberry friend". But that reference was to "Huckleberry Finn", and his being found on the Mississippi River (possibly the original for the "Moon River" of the song). It had nothing to do with the cartoon character.
(*Come to think of it, Woolworth's itself is a thing of the past - it having gone out of business five years ago.)
But the story is still quite compelling, and Holly remains Audrey Hepburn's best remembered performance (even more than her Royal Princess in ROMAN HOLIDAY). Only her performance as Eliza Doolittle in MY FAIR LADY is as recalled by name, and Holly is more glamorous from the start.
Holly is not really "Holly" but Lula Mae Barnes Golightly - one time second wife of Doc Golightly (Ebsen), who tired of country living and got an annulment, and has only tried to get some financial footing to help herself and her brother Fred (who is currently in the army). She has always found life hard (Doc tells Paul that Lula and Fred were caught by him stealing turkey eggs when kids). So Holly discovers that only if she can be a sophisticate can she break her poverty routes. She is "discovered" by Hollywood movie boss O. J. Berman (Balsam) who classifies her as "a real phony", meaning that she really buys the glitz and color he has taught her. But Holly is a call girl, and she has not found the man who can rescue her (and brother Fred) from poverty.
She does find a fellow drifter - Paul Varjak, a writer and kept man for wealthy (Mrs. Failenson). He is living in the apartment above Holly's, and the two do become close (in the original story they only become confidants - Paul in the novel is gay). Slowly, in the film Paul finds that Holly is such a fragile type that he falls in love with her - unlike himself she needs protection. But she is determined to hook her millionaire - so she goes after "Rusty Trawler" the ninth richest man in the world, and "Jose Da Silva Pereira" - the wealthy Brazilian). In the meantime, to pay the rent between her "dates" Holly agrees to deliver "weather reports" from Sing Sing prison, where she visits mobster Sally Tomato (Alan Reed in a really nice little cameo). She is unaware of the meaning of those messages.
Holly is something of a classy feather-head, not being able to understand the reports of "snow" in New Orleans from Uncle Sally, nor being able to understand how she gets under the skin of her neighbor, the photographer Mr. Yunioshi (Mickey Rooney). She drives the latter crazy by her constantly waking him up to let her into the apartment when she forgets her passkey, and also by her loud parties. Yet even Yunioshi is secretly captivated by this annoying neighbor: notice how she gets him to calm down by promising to allow him he'll photograph her in the buff.
All the performances are fine (of note see Ebsen in his saddest part, as the broken-hearted Doc, but notice too John McGiver's fine salesman at Tiffany's). Rooney's Yunioshi is now considered racist, but it was not seen as such in 1961 - in fact it was normal (compare to Marlon Brando in TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON). On the whole the film still is well worth watching.
Or at least that's what I thought the first time I saw this movie.
A girl, orphaned, married off at 14, runs away from home. She changes her name, her style, everything about herself, because she doesn't know who she is. She won't even give her cat a name because she can't decide on her own (she claims it's because they don't own each other, but we all know the reason). She sleeps for hours into the day, and only awakens to attend to the men she's strung along for money.
It's amazing that this time period would dare to dive into mental illness in the way that this movie does. Sure, they never directly mention that Holly has any kind of problem, but they don't shy away from it. Frequently this movie is seen as a brainless romantic nothing simply to be enjoyed with the girls on a night in. I find it much more comforting when I'm having terrible day, when I feel alone and that everything is awful and no one understands. I think of Holly, and what anyone with any kind go mental illness must have felt at this time, and know that I am not alone.