Superb Cinema: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“You could always tell what kind of a person

a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.

I must say, the mind reels.”

~Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly

in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

In the early morning, a taxi pulls up at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York City and Holly Golightly emerges. She eats a pastry and drinks coffee while standing outside the shop window, then strolls home. At her apartment building, she fends off her date from the disastrous night before, who has waited in his car all night. This is the iconic opening scene to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

Here is a synopsis from Turner Classic Movies. If you have never seen the movie and do not want to know the ending, skip ahead to the photo of the man (Paul) on the phone in the suitcase.

Holly Golightly lives in a brownstone on Manhattan’s swank East Side. Totally madcap, she has a partially furnished apartment, owns a cat with no name, gets rid of the “mean reds” by visiting Tiffany’s, and is forever misplacing her door key, much to the dismay of her upstairs neighbor Mr. Yunioshi, a Japanese photographer.

Holly makes her living in two ways: she receive $50 from her gentlemen escorts when she needs powder room money, and she is paid $100 for each weekly trip she makes to Sing Sing, where she visits Sally Tomato, an ex-mobster. One day Paul Varjak, a young writer who is supported by an older woman nicknamed “2E,” comes into Holly’s life. Following one of Holly’s wild cocktail parties, Paul unexpectedly meets Doc Golightly, a gentle Texan whom Holly married when she was only 15 years old. Holly explains to Paul that the marriage was annulled long ago, and he helps her send the heartbroken Doc away.

After a day on the town together, Paul realizes that he is in love with Holly and proposes to her; but she is determined to marry José, a South American millionaire. However, when it is publicly revealed that Holly has been innocently carrying narcotics ring information from Sally Tomato to his New York associates, the stuffy José abandons her.

Furious at everything and everyone, Holly throws Cat into the rain and decides to leave town, but Paul lectures her and then goes out to find Cat. Holly realizes how much she is giving up and races through the wet streets to a happy reunion with Paul and Cat.

Most of the exteriors were filmed in New York City. All of the interiors, except for portions of the scene inside Tiffany & Company, were filmed on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood.

Since the late 1990s the portrayal by Mickey Rooney of Mr. Yunioshi has been subject to increasing protest by members of the Asian-American community. Mr. Rooney wore makeup and a prosthetic mouthpiece to change his features to a caricatured approximation of a Japanese person, which many consider anywhere from misguided to overtly racist. In his audio commentary for the DVD release, producer Richard Shepherd said that at the time of production as well in retrospect, he wanted to recast the role “not because he [Rooney] didn’t play the part well” but because Shepherd thought the part of Mr. Yunioshi should be performed by an actor of Japanese ethnicity; it was director Blake Edwards’ decision to keep Rooney. In a “making-of” for the 45th anniversary edition DVD release, Shepherd repeatedly apologizes, saying, “If we could just change Mickey Rooney, I’d be thrilled with the movie.” Director Blake Edwards stated, “Looking back, I wish I had never done it…and I would give anything to be able to recast it, but it’s there, and onward and upward.”

In a 2008 interview about the film, 87-year-old Mickey Rooney said he was heartbroken about the criticism: “Blake Edwards…wanted me to do it because he was a comedy director. They hired me to do this overboard, and we had fun doing it….Never in all the more than 40 years after we made it – not one complaint. Every place I’ve gone in the world people say, ‘God, you were so funny.’ Asians and Chinese come up to me and say, ‘Mickey you were out of this world.’” Rooney also said that if he’d known people would have been so offended, “I wouldn’t have done it.”

As the winner of two Academy Awards for both Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for Henry Mancini and Best Original Song: “Moon River” for Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, the soundtrack is also wonderful. I recommend both the movie and soundtrack for any classic collector.

If you cannot tell already from the pictures of the Oh Lovely Lolo banner at the top of this website, “I’m just crazy about Tiffany’s”! I can watch this movie over and over. In fact, I just watched it twice last week. If you have not seen this movie before, you MUST see it! Every lovely lady and charming gentleman should know a quote or two from Breakfast at Tiffany’s! Plus, it is a great movie and Holly Golightly will waltz right into your heart… I guarantee it.

“Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! “

~Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly

in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

All images from: http://classic–movies.blogspot.com/2011/01/breakfast-at-tiffanys.html
Synopsis from: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/21936/Breakfast-at-Tiffany-s/
Information gathered from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakfast_at_Tiffany’s_(film)
This entry was posted in Lovely Lady, Superb Cinema and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Superb Cinema: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

  1. I’ve yet to see this movie but I have Audry Hepburn pictures hanging all over my room! XP I love her style. So elegant…

  2. Pingback: Homepage

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