I recently watched a documentary called Crazy About Tiffany’s. It was about the history of the famous jeweler in New York City. The film featured a few clips from the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If I had previously seen the film, I didn’t remember much about it, other than Audrey Hepburn is impossibly skinny and beautiful and has a cute accent.
So I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s late one night. Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is a free spirit living in New York City, set on landing a rich husband. She appears to get most of her money for her modest apartment from escorting wealthy men about town.
Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a writer, moves into her building and they immediately strike up a friendship, mostly on behalf of Holly, but Paul soon falls in love with her. I think that if the movie was made today, it could lose some of its charm. There is no sexual activity in this beautiful film, other than oblique references. Paul also makes his money off of hiring himself out you might say, and his patron, Mrs. Failenson (Patricia Neal) pays him generously. She believes in his abilities as a writer, and he has even had something published, which he shows off to Holly during a trip to the library.
Holly has a past that becomes clear when her husband Doc (Buddy Ebsen) arrives and asks her to come home. Holly will have none of this, preferring to live day-to-day with her cat, and hosting crowded parties for a jet set she has inserted her way into. One of the funniest scenes is a party in her tiny apartment. Seeing how many people can drink and dance in such a small space is priceless.
Something I took offense to, however, is Mickey Rooney playing Mr. Yunioshi, a neighbor in Holly’s building. They should have had an Asian play this role. It was insulting to watch.
Paul and Holly are alike in that they are dreamers of a better day each in their own way. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is based on a story by Truman Capote and directed by Blake Edwards. It won two Academy Awards: Best Musical Score and Best Original Song, Moon River, for Henry Mancini (lyrics by Johnny Mercer).
Getting back to that glittering documentary Crazy About Tiffany’s, the history of this jeweler is fascinating. The marketing that was mounted was extremely successful, largely due to the designers, especially one who did the display windows on the street. At one point, a current designer sits next to a worker assembling the priceless jewels that sell for literally thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars. She focuses on asking him about the pride he takes in his work. It is not mentioned what this man’s salary is, or what his benefits are, etc. Probably not very good. I’m cynical I guess. Despite all that, when I travel to New York City, I will waltz into Tiffany’s for a look around, just because.