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   BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961) 

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CAST
Audrey Hepburn
George Peppard
Patricia Neal
Buddy Ebsen
Martin Balsam
Dorothy Whitney
Stanley Adams
Mickey Rooney
Jose Luis de Villalonga

DIRECTED BY
Blake Edwards

PURCHASE


DVD



Soundtrack



The Novel



About Hepburn




Time: 115 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Drama

Won Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Song. Nominated for Best Actress, Best Art Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay.


I, like most women, find this to be one of the most divinely romantic films ever made. To begin with it stars the mesmerizing Ms. Audrey Hepburn at the height of her beauty and talent. Though the original story was cleaned up, á la PRETTY WOMAN, in order to star the stylish and classy Ms. H, I still think it's one of the most honest and electric films about the highs and lows of the party girl lifestyle to ever be filmed. Sure, they eliminated all the sordid, sexual details from the tale, but that aspect is just a by product of the life, not the reason behind it. Holly Golightly isn't selling her "presence" merely for the money. She's doing it to escape her heartbreaking past and build a bright, uncomplicated future.

Unfortunately, the life she's trying to create is more illusion than reality. She believes that to be in love with a man means that she becomes his possession. By being a woman belonging to all men, she keeps her freedom and therefore her true self. Her theory is proved through both comic and dramatic moments to be an utter crock. However, the ride to get to that moment of self-discovery is absolutely fabulous.

I'm not sure how close the role of Holly was to Ms. Hepburn, but it is the part that everyone remembers her for. Since Holly has no gainful employment she relies on the "good hearted" and generous nature of the men she meets to support her in various ways. Whether it be buying her a drink or dinner, all that's required of her is her sparkling personality, which is truly something to behold. The trade of cash for a quick smile seems a fair deal when Holly is the girl in question. It seems the only man to resist her charms is her upstairs neighbor Mr. Yunioshi, who is constantly put out by her somewhat inconsiderate behavior. (This over-the-top character, as played by Mickey Rooney, is the one sour note in the film. Thankfully, the role is quite small.)


"I don't think I've ever drunk champagne before breakfast before. With breakfast on several occasions, but never before."

However, Holly's not someone you can say no to, which Paul Varjack (Peppard), a handsome, young writer discovers upon making her acquaintance. Paul is also a creature kept alive through the generosity of others, mainly his slightly older female patron played by Patricia Neal. His circumstances are more obvious than Holly's, but it's clear they're on the same lifestyle track. The difference between them is that Paul is trying to make something of himself and Holly is trying to create something of herself. Though she initially seems to be nothing more than a light-headed party girl, there's more to Holly than meets the eye. It goes without saying that Paul falls madly in love with her, but she sees him more as a brother than a lover. His is a kind shoulder to lean on, not like all the other "rat" men in her life, but his star isn't bright enough for her to settle on for good.

She needs someone who will monetarily keep her in the style to which she wants to be accustomed. She has no time for love, which brings nothing but sorrow at least through her experience. Together they have a marvelous time, going to parties, shopping at Tiffany's, exploring New York at its' finest. There's an undeniable connection between these two lost souls and whenever something goes kablooey in Holly's life, which is often, Paul is there to pick up the pieces. However, determined to live life on her own terms, Holly almost looses the one person who's come to mean everything to her. In the end, Paul breaks through her fear and insecurity, convincing her to trust herself and embrace the possibility of true love.

If you think I've made this sound overly-sentimental, well you're right. That's because the film is. Yet, somehow, through the subtlety of the script and the crispness of the dialogue you come to love these two crazy kids and want nothing more in the world than for them to be together. Despite the style and slickness of the presentation, this film, at its core, is one of the most honest takes about taking a chance on love. Through everyday situations these two characters make a connection that is undeniable, yet they are so scared of their own happiness they almost manage to blow the whole thing. This is clearly a fantasy, but is something we can all relate to. Who among us hasn't felt that the joy of finding that special someone only to be frightened to death that the magic isn't real. Isn't it better to protect yourself from eventual heartache than to take the chance? Holly convinces everyone that she's flighty and innocent, but the look in those deep brown eyes tells a very different tale. Her party girl lifestyle is designed so that she can live life to the fullest without ever having to feel a thing. She discovers through her friendship with Paul that that may not be the best way to go through life. They end up setting each other free, enabling themselves to reconnect with their true selves.

I've seen this film many, many times and it always amazes me that it's directed by Blake Edwards. Though it has it's silly moments, most of them are fairly restrained when compared to much of his later work. TIFFANY'S is a film that relies mainly on the grace and charm of Ms. H and she nails this performance. It's certainly one of the more complex of her career, requiring her to play many different emotions while still being endearing and funny. The extensive wardrobe, which is essential to Holly, only makes her shine all the more. It's easy to see why they removed the hard edges from the story, but that doesn't mean the film doesn't explore the darker side of love. I'm sure George Peppard has never been more desirable than in his role here. He's not really given much to do, but he somehow makes a limited role seem completely indespensible. His connection with Hepburn is what makes this movie great, despite the fact that she steals every scene she's in. The rest of the cast plays their roles with aplomb, doing what is needed for the story to progress. Villalonga, as Holly's rich Argentinian lover, gives Peppard a run for his money in the suave, sexy department, however, he has even less to do.

This film is filled with classic cinema moments from Hepburn window shopping at dawn to her and Peppard stealing masks from the 5-and-10 to her unforgettable, bittersweet crooning of Moon River. This may not be the best film ever made, but it's a romantic gem whose effect lingers long after the screen fades to black. Sure, it has plot problems and some of the comedy falls flat, but I dare you not to fall in love with it. It's a timeless fantasy that makes you believe in the power of love to make the world a better place. It may not be true, but at least in Holly's world it becomes a reality.


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