movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

breakfastFinally got around to the movie! This 1961 adaptation of the Truman Capote novel was an enjoyable visual and emotional experience – not quite the same feat the novel achieved, but what else is new? Perhaps the main point – not that you didn’t know it – is that Audrey Hepburn is a doll. Movies this old generally feel slow-paced to today’s audiences, and while this was true here, the appealing visuals – Audrey, as well as historic New York – and intrigue of the story were plenty engaging for me. Husband went to bed before it was over, though. I wonder if it would have been more interesting if he had also read the book first.


It should not be surprising that the gender roles of the time were hard to watch sometimes, but again, what’s new. There were a few twists from the story Capote wrote (that’s why they call it an ‘adaptation’), but I felt that the feeling was faithful. Holly Golightly is an airhead, a dingbat, obnoxiously needy; but on another level, surprisingly self-aware and conniving, even wise. This is what I interpret O.J. Berman means when he calls her a “real phony.” The emotional effect of this character – dingy, ditzy, defiant, vulnerable, both an object and the vehicle of her own existence, both stupid and clever – is the strongest element of the film, despite certain weaknesses. For example, Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi is obviously, cringingly racist to today’s eyes. It can be hard to reconcile these things. But there it is; I watched the movie anyway.

This is a historic and iconic adaptation of a fine novella, and well worth viewing.

Rating: 7 cigarettes.

3 Responses

  1. I always thought of Holly Golightly when I was hanging out at CBGBs in the late 1970s. So many people I met there came to New York, from places they never mentioned, changed their names, and lived with little apparent income but with great style. Truman Streckfus Persons from Monroeville, Alabama understood those people. šŸ™‚

    I haven’t read the story or seen the movie in ages, so what’s in my brain is probably a mashup of the two. I do remember Hepburn, of course, and Buddy Ebsen. And Mickey Rooney (who was pretty offensive even back then).

  2. Yep. Streckfus. What a name. šŸ™‚ Interesting to have the perspective of someone who’s lived in NY, which I have not.

    I guess I can’t be surprised that Rooney was offensive back then, too. (I read somewhere on the interwebs that, when confronted, he said something like “Golly gee, that was racist? I had no idea!”) But I guess that ear for offense was less institutionalized? Since they went ahead and made the movie!

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