Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

“And I always heard people in New York never get to know their neighbours.”

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Patricia Neal

Audrey Hepburn gives one of her most iconic performances ever in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Based on the short novel by Truman Capote, he never envisioned Hepburn being cast as Holly Golightly; he was hoping for someone like Marilyn Monroe who could perhaps relate more to the character.

Nevertheless, Breakfast At Tiffany’s was a smash, being dubbed as “one of Hollywood’s most engaging romances of all time.”

50 years after its release, this romantic comedy is as chic as ever. Albeit an ordinary film, the timeless fashions and simple romance between lead characters allow the story to be conveyed over five generations thus far.

As the film opens we are introduced to Holly. She’s a young woman whose obsession with rich men, expensive outfits and determination to climb to the top of the socialite ladder, group her in a very vain and fabricated crowd. After a struggling writer moves into Holly’s apartment block in New York though, we begin to see that she is rather vulnerable, using the façade of fancy clothing and high profile parties to hide behind.

Paul Varjak (George Peppard), and Holly immediately spark up a flirtatious friendship. Even though she is looking for a rich man to marry, she seems weak to his charm and confidence, reminding her somewhat of her brother whom she was very fond of. We soon discover Paul is a kept man, his services to an older, wealthy woman (Patricia Neal), ensures that he is comfortable when it comes to money and materialistic things.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s chronicles the on/off again relationship between Paul and Holly. On one level a relationship between a gigolo and prostitute, and on another, one between soul mates. The characters aren’t complex, and the story isn’t deep and eccentric. It’s the simple formula that the film adopts that has gathered it such a huge fan base.

Sometimes it would seem that the film is more about Holly as a character though. Paul acts our eyes as we continue to become intrigued by Holly’s personality. She befriends ex-mobsters, cares for a nameless cat, has no issue with causing chaos in her tiny apartment by throwing oversized parties, and won’t settle in a relationship – yet is convinced she’s going to marry a very rich man in South America. She copes by chasing away her worries, eating her breakfast outside a Tiffany’s store every morning, staring at all the wonderful jewellery and presumably dreaming of a different life.

The film only dragged a few times in its storyline, mainly the scenes with Mickey Rooney who played Mr Yunioshi. His failure to deliver a true comedic performance made each scene with him hard to watch. It’s also a rather racist and stereotypical view of Japanese-American’s, even though they were the views in 1960s America. It’s an unfortunate depiction, but at least it shows how times have changed for the better over the past 50 years.

When asked, a lot of people would only recognise the song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, rather than the film, or even the novel. Although the song is indeed about two people that share a common liking for the film, it seems that people aren’t aware of how much of a classic it is.

Whether you’re interested in Audrey Hepburn, one of Hollywood’s most treasured romances, or even wanting to watch an old classic, I can’t recommend this film enough.

Star Rating:   7.5/10

Directed by Blake Edwards.

Running time 115 minutes.

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