The scenario is loosely based on a novella by Truman Capote of the same title.
The opening scene is also a great one: early in the morning a yellow taxi pulls up at Tiffany & Co on Fifth Avenue in New York City. An elegant woman (wearing a dress designed by nobody else but Hubert de Givenchy so small wonder) gets out of the car and, admiring the shop windows, nibbles on pastry and drinks coffee she brought with her. You get instantly interested: who is that woman? Why is she eating her breakfast in such a place?
Soon enough we are shown who and what she is: Holly Golightly, a charming, naïve and eccentric café society (or Jet Set) girl, a lovely night butterfly who tries to find a millionaire husband while fending off different ‘rats’ and ‘super-rats’ – men who want to pay their way to her apartment and bed. Money she takes gladly (50 dollars, disguised as ‘small change bathroom fee’ are her ordinary takings), never enough of it, but the men she avoids like a plague. The director, of course, wants us to believe she is always successful.
Later in the day she meets her new neighbour-tenant, Paul Varjak (George Peppard). Holly takes a liking to Paul instantly because he reminds her of her brother, Fred, currently in the Army.They chat as Holly dresses for her weekly and highly profitable visit to Sally Tomato, a mobster incarcerated at Sing Sing. Tomato’s lawyer pays her 50$ a week to receive “the weather report” from the prisoner – apparently a secret code both men use to communicate with. Holly and Paul soon befriend each other and find out that, in fact, they are more similar than they ever dared to admit. Still will it be enough? Can it be a good basis for something permanent, a true, meanigful relationship they both yearn for and are afraid of?
Some great movies simply don’t get old. This is one of them. Audrey Hepburn will always be remembered and admired as Holly Golightly/ Lula Mae Barnes because it was one of her greatest, most memorable roles . Only imagine: Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe. He wanted her pretty badly. Could a ginger cat sit as comfortably on the back of Marilyn as it did on the skinny back of Audrey? I don’t know. I admit the night butterfly bit would be far more believable with sex-pot Marilyn girl; still Audrey was far better as that slightly loony, sweet creature who, against all odds, doggedly, tried to find a better place for herself and her brother in a big, bad, brutal world even if it meant selling herself to the highest bidder like a common whore, balancing on the verge of insanity and risking visits from angry prospective punters who’d paid their 50 bucks for ‘the toilet’ all right but didn’t get any action instead and felt oddly shortchanged.
Overall, if you deduct all the lovely music, great attires and the whole 60s mystique, the remainder is pretty harsh: you follow a fragile, desperately lonely girl living in a big city who is on her way to becoming a luxurious prostitute at worst or an arm candy wife at best; she meets a young writer, also a gigolo of a kind, stuck in a loveless but highly profitable relationship with a rich, evidently older woman. Paul and Holly recognize each other easily, compare notes, befriend and fall in love but they have no cat in hell’s chance to succeed. Or have they?
Here comes my first and only carping: the ending of the movie. It is so fluffy, positive and optimistic – they acknowledge their feelings, they find the cat, wet and miserable, hiding in a carton box (it’s a 1961 classic and an oldie-goldie, don’t expect me to mask spoilers in my review – yes, the cat was lost. And found.), they kiss. A lovely ‘happily ever after’, fairy tale stuff follows which I often find highly unreal. I can imagine, after several months (or several years if their luck holds) Holly and Paul would inevitably fall apart – trust issues, money issues and other such trivialities would have stifled their budding love very efficiently. What if he loses his job? What if she all of a sudden feels tired of their lackluster existence? Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Sure but how many times a week you can eat it there and still feel the same thrill?
Haven’t you watched this one? What are you waiting for, then? Oh right, the trailer. Here you go.