Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Directed by Blake Edwards. With Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard.
Watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time, over fifty-years since its original release, is a bit like visiting a gallery to see a famous painting. The iconic imagery is fused so inexorably into the cultural subconsciousness, that it holds a revered place outside of the context of the film. The classic Audrey Hepburn portrait, immortalising the actress to larger than life proportions, is held aloft today as defining iconography for cinema and fashion.
Beyond what it has come to represent, there’s a good film. Blake Edwards’ cameras are as in love with Hepburn as the majority of the male characters. As New York socialite, Holly Golightly, Hepburn captivates in a feisty role that displays great wit aside an undertone of veiled desperation as she scrapes through life as a high class prostitute.
Attempting to bring balance to Holly’s chaotic mind, is George Peppard’s Paul Varjak. Peppard is a sturdy presence, and it’s through his character that we get to know Holly’s scatterbrained dreamer. Heard against the sight of a 1950’s Manhattan backdrop, the refrains of Henry Mancini’s Moon River serve to heighten the sense of romance to places only a movie can reach.
Mickey Rooney’s Mr Yunioshi, complete with comedy teeth and regular explosions of manic energy, is an ill-fit for the piece. Not only is it a badly-misjudged Japanese stereotype, it’s also guilty of being not funny.
For a film that has echoed so much beauty, while informing generations of fashion choices, even today, it’s surprising to find such so much tragedy, albeit tragedy with a spring in its step. Hepburn positively fizzes the quick-fire script to life, and by the final rain-swept showdown, it’s hard not to admit you haven’t felt the sprinkling of a little Hollywood magic. 4/5