Movies / Home Theatre

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)


By Hervé St-Louis
March 1, 2022 - 11:48

Holly Golightly is a ditsy debutante living in New York and socializing with great and the bad of the city earning a living by sharing their company. Failed writer Paul Varjak, a kept man moves into Holly’s building and quickly becomes smitten with the socialite. However, he himself is used to a lifestyle where he looks up for a financial caretaker. How can love even exists when there is nothing to be gained financially?

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a great film and one of my favourites. Like many movies, it is the story of two social outcasts who manage to get by being paid for keeping other people company. They are young, full of potential, but also cynical.

Director Blake Edwards changed the original story by making Paul Varjak (George Peppard) fall in love with Holly Golightly (Audrey Heburn). Thus, transforming the story from one where Varjak was but an observer to one where he had an objective in mind. Audrey Hepburn is of course, the star of this movie with a glamorous use of the same black dress throughout the film, always looking stylish and exquisite. A trouble soul, she rambles so quickly that Varjak can’t stop listening to her and falling for her. Like her nameless cat, Holly comes into his life and other people but always on her terms.

There is a vague crime story in the background and much about mental health, self delusion, and deceit. This is why the film works and is so different from anything else that I have watched, given how early it was released. I am constantly marvelled by the amount of casual smoking going on in this film.

The visuals in this film are neat but Audrey Hepburn’s glamour is what is so remarkable. I like the dated look the characters have and can see how many comic book characters of the era had been influenced by Hepburn and Peppard. It’s a nobrainer. They wore beautiful dresses and suits all the time and looked good, even when just getting out of bed!

One of my favourite things about this movie is the title song Moon River, sang by Hepburn and composed by Henry Mancini and whose lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer. The song is adapted in many sequences but feels so much more peaceful and calmer than the debonair environment Holly and Paul live in. That’s one of the secrets of why this film is so great.

The Blu-Ray version of this film is filled with extras and details about the productions, the stars, and the Tiffany’s, the glamourous luxury store featured in this film. It’s also a character, and through this film, its legacy and fame were further enshrined in American culture. The Blu-Ray extra contents address the issue of the racists portrayal of a Japanese character with aplomb but also discuss at length the notorious party sequence.

The production of this film was notoriously difficult with the two leads, Hepburn and Peppard disliking one another. Conflicts on-stage were joined with production hurdles, fired staff, and a battle for the song that would be the soul of the film. Now that’s film making!

Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: March 1, 2022 - 11:53

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