Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5 3.5

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Okay, so if Truman Capote’s original story Breakfast at Tiffany’s had a soundtrack, it probably wouldn’t have been Henri Mancini’s vacuum-packed elevator hit “Moon River” but an irreverent, uptempo version of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” preferably pounded out on a piano by Nina Simone. And, sure, Capote’s original choice for Holly Golightly was Marilyn Monroe, even if a more appropriate choice would’ve been something along the lines of The Pajama Game‘s pompadour-sporting Doris Day by way of Melina Mercouri. (To say nothing of the immortal Warhol superstar who likely got her name from Capote’s fictional character: Holly Goodlawn.) So every last hint of pansexuality appears to have been tucked away by scripter George Axelrod into the mottled fur of Holly’s gender-neutral “Cat.” So what? Blake Edwards’s discontent-but-charmed portrait of a long-lost New York state of blithe is, like most Blake Edwards films, narratively scattershot but reliably fixated on the cinematic chemistry of social relations in a mod (and post-mod) era, which invariably boil down to genders and the extent to which individuals ascribe to their assigned sex roles. As Holly, Audrey Hepburn has about as much edge as a Tiffany diamond replica made of tapioca, and her nondescript accent (product of a cross-European upbringing) couldn’t hail a cab to save her life, but what better way to foreshadow her character’s incredibly mundane past as a fugitive from the land of Hee-Haw Honeys? On the opposite end of the spectrum, Mickey Rooney’s “chink” stereotype as Holly’s long-suffering, buck-toothed upstairs neighbor is indefensibly foul, but at the same time it buttresses Edwards’s milieu, which is practically a first-person account from Holly’s point of view: c’est chic cosmopolitanism as fantasized about late-night by middle-American pageant bait. I bet you thought I’d go from unpacking Hepburn’s ying to examining George Peppard’s ying-a-ling. But, as Capote’s alter ego, Peppard’s portrayal of Paul Varjak (part-time writer and full-time kept man) is the film’s real wash, almost as neutered as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote. Then again, what more could a transplanted country girl living her big city “Moon River” daydreams hope for than a desexualized version of her strapping hunk of a brother?

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DVD | Soundtrack
Distributor
Paramount Pictures
Runtime
115 min
Rating
NR
Year
1961
Director
Blake Edwards
Screenwriter
George Axelrod
Cast
Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, José Luis de Villalonga, John McGiver, Alan Reed, Dorothy Whitney, Mickey Rooney