Breakfast At Tiffany’s on Blu-ray – the lost review!
Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly is out on Blu-ray today to mark her 50th anniversary, but she still doesn’t look a day over 31.
I’ve recently reviewed the disc for Total Film but, due to the vagaries of space and a surplus of great movies arriving on Blu-ray, 250 words was chopped down to100. However, with kind permission from the mag, here’s the full, uncut version – so if you ever wondered what a sub-editor does, check out the abridged review in Total Film #185.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s
(Blake Edwards, US 1961)
Judged by student poster ubiquity, Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly is Hollywood’s first lady: classily clad in little black dress, cigarette holder held elegantly in hand, a purr-fect woman. Ironic then that Truman Capote, the character’s creator, thought Hepburn was miscast. He favoured Marilyn Monroe, a spot-on choice for the original novella’s Holly, a hillbilly with delusions of grandeur who cavorted with men for money to fund her dreams of Manhattanite sophistication.
But if Capote was right about the book, he was wrong about the film. The moment Hepburn was cast, director Blake Edwards made a virtue of his star’s silky-smooth poise, treating the swan as a fait accompli and letting the actress hint at the duckling Holly once was. The brilliant Hepburn acts drunk, breaks down, even sings – but is never less than immaculate. As the film puts it, “she’s a phony, but she’s a real phony.”
Much like the film overall, which glosses over its bittersweet core with music by Mancini, clothes by Givenchy, product placement by… well, you work it out. Edwards directs as if Holly’s surname is an instruction, fashioning a shallow but infectious confection of social satire (the party scene’s stylish slapstick pre-empts both Inspector Clouseau and Mad Men) and romance, as George Peppard’s earnest writer finally breaks through Golightly’s shell.
(Recycled) extras bolster a lush 50th anniversary transfer with celebratory featurettes on Hepburn, Mancini and Tiffany’s and, more interesting, an admirably candid mea culpa about Mickey Rooney’s disastrously misjudged supporting role. By rights, Rooney’s shocking ‘yellow-face’ performance as Holly’s Japanese neighbour should spoil the entrancing mood. That the film escapes outrage is down to one thing: all eyes are on Audrey.
Tagged 1960s Cinema