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USA 1961
Directed by
Blake Edwards
110 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Breakfast At Tiffany's

Blake Edwards's film is both a classic exercise in early 60s chic and an example of terminally lightweight 60s Hollywood romanticism. It is also one of those films that have acquired a status that far exceeds its true merits. Aside from the flawless gloss of the art direction, this is largely thanks to Audrey Hepburn in a role that was originally intended by Truman Capote to go to Marilyn Monroe. At the opposite end of the sexual spectrum Hepburn as that impossibly chic, shop-til-you-drop party girl, Holly Golightly, has become a gay style icon. But that’s where her character begins and ends.

One can imagine how the 1958 Capote novel on which the film is based, and which has a far more amoral/immoral Ms Golightly, would have been engaging but the sanitized translation into film by Edwards is typical of the kind of escapist nonsense which Hollywood was making at this time. As for Mickey Rooney's turn as Holly's Asiatic neighbour, it is as wincingly awful an example of Hollywood racial stereotyping as you’d ever want to see. George Peppard plays a handsome unsuccessful writer living in the same ritzy apartment block and “supported” by an older wealthy married woman (Patricia Neal). Of course the young un's give up their feckless ways for a life of domestic bliss together (Capote's original version had her fading into the sunset). This might have worked in 1961 but today it all looks hopelessly fake.

FYI: The film won Best Score for Henry Mancini and Best Song for Johnny Mercer for "Moon River."




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