Sunday, February 06, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's: 50 years of "mean reds"

Watched "Breakfast at Tiffany's" today. It's a movie I'd been trying to catch for some years now -- and it just happened to be showing on the telly. Coincidentally, it's 50 years since its release and I can understand why people still talk about it.

This 1961 film was perhaps Audrey Hepburn's most challenging cinematic role and she excels at playing the eccentric Holly Golightly.

Hepburn lost the acting Oscar to Sophia Loren that year (perhaps unfairly) but there's no denying she brings the character to life.

I'd loved Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" and "Roman Holiday" but there is something magical about Hepburn's "mean reds", her personality and her equation with the cat in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that will make this the more memorable role.

I'd read the novella some years ago and had been wondering if the film version did it justice. Critics often say Hepburn's Holly is a toned-down version of what author Truman Capote created in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", but I say it's an improvement. I liked all the changes for the film version and my only regret is they should have got an Asian actor to portray Holly's Japanese neighbour. Others think so too.

As for the film's controversial 'happy' ending, which Hollywood romance would be complete without it. The unresolved ending of the novella had left me dissatisfied. What's the point, I thought as Holly and her cat went their separate ways.

The movie (spoiler ahead) instead brings Holly, the cat and the writer together in the rain, in an embrace that almost suffocates the poor feline. (Animal rights activists, where were you in 1961?)

Hepburn's rendition of "Moon River" (which won the Oscar for 'Best Song') is one of my favourites and watching the famous sequences unfold on screen was even better.

All in all, a great way to spend my Sunday. If you're a sucker for Hollywood romances, this one is for you. If you haven't already, go watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

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