Now that summer is upon us, TV really has nothing to offer. I found myself watching an old movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I have seen this movie many times, but this time it somehow lost some of its charm.
Audrey Hepburn looked the same, cute and witty as Holly Golightly, but somehow not quite as witty as I had remembered. George Peppard looked handsomer than I remembered as the gigolo boy friend who moves in upstairs. Mickey Rooney looked shamefully ridiculous as Mr. Yunioshi, the neighbor she always buzzes to get in because she can never find her key. And then there is Patricia Neal, the older woman who is paying for “Fred” the gigolo’s apartment. Everybody it there but the story somehow drags on this time.
There is her cat which she just calls Cat because naming him would be to much of a commitment. What she does to this cat certainly wouldn’t get past the animal rights groups today, but I am sure no real cats were injured in the making of this picture and she does do right by him in the end, although he looks a bit worse for wear be drenched and smothered between her and George for the final kiss.
Some things do hold up. The camera angles and the shot setups are amazing. Do people still have shadows on TV? I don’t recall seeing them. The shadows in this movie help set up the mood and add to the overall appearance of the frame. I don’t think they even try to frame anyone these days. There is a shot of a person at the big party taken through what looks like a bird-cage or some sort of chinese lantern. It is amazing. These things still hold up. Is it just me or do Holly’s apartments walls seem to expand for this scene?
Then there is the star of the show, “Moon River”. Holly sings it sitting on her window sill looking dreamy-eyed. And it is actually Audrey Hepburn, it’s not dubbed. Okay, so I do like this movie. The plot falls apart for me this time. Maybe it is because I have seen it so many times or maybe it is because most of it has been robbed and used over and over again. Or maybe it is because I know it wasn’t true to Truman Capote’s original work. Or maybe it is all of these things.
Nobody in the 60’s actually talked like Audrey Hepburn. Her use of the language was so proper and educated. This was a time of beatnik glory. Slang would have been more appropriate. But we let her slide because she is breath takingly beautiful. The screen lights up with her face and she can do no wrong. Actually, she wasn’t even considered pretty in her day. She was different. She started something. She was coyly beautiful. Her beauty was somehow achievable. If we had the right clothes, the right hat, the right shoes, the right cigarette holder, we could become her. But we couldn’t capture that spark that twinkled in her eyes. The magic when she sighs after a kiss. She was special after all.
I want to read the book. I want to read the story that Truman wanted to tell. I love the movie with its happy ending, but I want more.