Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
11Dec/100

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com


Danny INDIFFERENTWe've finally arrived. Breakfast at Tiffany's, as many of you may or may not know, is the high water mark for Hepburn as a cultural icon. Look at any purse plastered with her image, any chic dorm room decoration, any various interpretation of the image of Audrey Hepburn, and you can be absolutely certain that that image comes directly from this movie. There's Audrey Hepburn, film star, and Audrey Hepburn, star of Breakfast at Tiffany's.

What's truly funny about this cultural touchstone is that's its such an odd recipe for a crowd-pleasing, glamorous film. When it comes down to it, Breakfast at Tiffany's is the story of a redneck, star chasing prostitute and a hack writer turned gigolo falling in love. And while we've all seen this story a hundred times by now (at least I have), it's amazing that a plot like that is presented so utterly spotless here for consumption. When the two leads go to a strip club in the movie, the strippers are wearing evening gowns.

It's not entirely the film's fault, as the production code was still in full force, making Holly Golightly's travails forced to be about as innocuous as a Saturday morning cartoon.

There's some chemistry, sure.

Hepburn stars as Holly Golightly, a call girl who entertains men in her New York brownstone in an attempt to make some money to provide for herself and her enlisted brother. She's deliriously ditzy and possesses extremely tacky sensibilities in almost everything but custom made gowns, I suppose. She has a cat named Cat and an apartment that's still in boxes a year after moving in.

She's there when Paul moves in upstairs. He's a handsome winsome writer whose been working on his second novel for upwards of five years. He is currently employed as the lover of a rich matron, and spends his days wallowing in it. He is a writer after all, wallowing is what they do.

That's two of the brownstone's inhabitants, and I'd be remiss if I left out their landlord, Mr. Yunioshi. Played by Andy Rooney with a maximum amount of slapstick, the movie focuses on this caricature as the focal point of comic relief through the semi-serious story and all of it falls dead flat. I'm not even referring to the painful stereotype that he embodies as yet another actor taking on the unpleasantness of yellow face, but his whole overblown demeanor leaps out of the film to bring its surroundings to awkward abrupt halt.

This might be categorized as offensive to some people. Namely, human beings.

Paul and Holly go through about what you would expect to fall in love, from unhappy lovers to stealing children's masks from a dime store to talking loudly in a library. George Peppard, who plays Paul, and Hepburn have a sweet, easy charm together, that the spasmodic script seems determined to undermine.

Director Blake Edwards has a good touch, and he knows his way around a party scene, and composer Harry Mancini once again knocked it out of the park with this film's soundtrack-- if it's possible to end your viewing of the film without humming "Moon River," then you are a stronger person than I.

For all of its relevance in pop culture and Hepburn's career, though, I can't really put forth the love and admiration that a lot of people share for the film. It has sublime moments and a great look, but underneath the surface, just like with Ms. Golightly, it can't match what it wants to be with what it is.

Audrey Hepburn Sundays

Posted by Danny

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