Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's (4 Stars)

I assume all my readers know this film. It was made in 1961, but even now, 54 years later, it's still a favourite for television repeats. When it was made it was nominated for five Oscars, of which it won two. As much as I appreciate the film, I don't think it would be so successful today. There's something about it that's very dated, although I have difficulty saying exactly what it is. I'm not sure whether it's the subject matter or the way it's portrayed. It just seems very old.

Lula Mae Barns is a girl from Texas who got married to an older man when she was 13. She had two children, but then had the marriage annulled, changed her name to Holly Golightly and moved to New York. Now in her late teens she's capitalising on her beauty. She dates rich men, getting expensive gifts from them, but she's not settling down until she manages to get one of the richest men in America for herself. She says that she wants to be rich to support her brother Fred when he returns home from the army, but that's only half of the truth. Holly loves money and the lifestyle it buys.

A man called Paul moves into the apartment above hers. He's a writer who was successful in the past, but hasn't written anything for years. He is being financed by a rich woman who showers him with money and gifts, but asks for nothing in return. Holly and Paul become first friends, then lovers, but how can they get together when they're both dependent on the financial support of others?

The film is based on a book written by Truman Capote. Despite selling the rights to Paramount Studios he kept close control over the film. He accompanied the film crew to oversee the filming every day, to make sure it didn't deviate from his vision. Today he would be given the title of executive producer. Truman was very unhappy with the choice of Audrey Hepburn for the main role. He wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the part of Holly Golightly, but she turned down the role. Truman considered Audrey to be untalented and was frequently rude to her on the set, but his opinion wasn't shared by others. She was nominated for the best actress at the Academy Awards. In retrospect it's become the film that people most associate with her name.

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