Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 3 Stars (Good)
Was there ever an actress who combined these four timeless qualities-beauty, fashion, grace and humility-better than Audrey Hepburn? I think not, especially when I see her again in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Even an actress who could come close (and I can think of none) would in no way match the humility of Audrey Hepburn. We shall not see another like her in our lifetime and by then the film industry may be on the way out when some newer, better technology unknown to us today arrives.
All the more reason to purchase her five most memorable movies in DVD now while they are still available.
First would be her Oscar winning Best Actress performance in Roman Holiday opposite Gregory Peck, which was also her first starring role in an American film.
The next four would be her Best Actress Oscar nominations for Sabrina, The Nun’s Story, Wait Until Dark (one of the two scariest movies I have ever seen) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the Oscar went to Sophia Loren for Two Women).
Breakfast at Tiffany’s had two great assets, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, the young New York socialite (we say socialite because this movie was released in 1961, 45 years ago), and Director Blake Edwards, whose deft, sensitive handling of Hepburn’s character (a high-priced prostitute) could not have been done better.
Holly Golightly’s beauty, sense of fashion and pure innocence prohibit me from thinking of her as a woman of the night. She is so inherently stylish. God has not made a woman that could wear clothes better than Audrey Hepburn. She has Holly Golightly floating around in Givenchy gowns with matchless grace and glamour.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is based on Truman Capote’s novel with the screenplay by George Axelrod, who also garnered an Oscar nomination. Henry Mancini (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics) teamed up to win an Oscar for the Original Song “Moon River” while Mancini earned another Oscar as well as a Grammy for Best Musical Score.
The story line has the two romantic interests dependent upon others for financial support, Holly as a lady of the night and Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a wannabe writer who is kept by the married and wealthy Mrs. Failenson (Patricia Neal). Eventually Holly and Paul experience some personal growth and find love together.
There are matchless moments in this film that find places forever in your heart. One is Hepburn sitting on the fire escape plaintively singing “Moon River,” especially when you remember that the theme of your high school senior prom was Moon River, and that you were with the girl you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. It is a rare opportunity to hear Hepburn sing in the movie.
She recorded singing vocals for her role as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady only to discover that professional “singing double” Marni Nixon had overdubbed all of her songs. Hepburn was not nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in this film, but her love interest Rex Harrison won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Professor Henry Higgins.
The “little black dress” worn by Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was designed by Givenchy and sold at Christie’s auction this year (2006) for $920,000 with the proceeds going to aid underprivileged children in India. It was not the one worn by Hepburn in the movie. The only two dresses she wore are now in the Givenchy archives and the Museum of Costume in Madrid, Spain.
In Audrey Hepburn’s performance there are times when we are delighted by sweet innocence in a woman. You cannot imagine how difficult this is to find in today’s world.
Audrey Hepburn became a beauty and fashion icon, and although she did enjoy fashion, she placed little importance on it, preferring casual and comfortable clothes away from the bright lights and cameras.
I do want to give Breakfast at Tiffany’s an Excellent rating but cannot because of too many flaws in the film. I can easily give Audrey Hepburn an Excellent rating for her performance as Holly Golightly.
After 15 years as a highly successful actress Audrey Hepburn chose to lead a quieter life far away from Hollywood. She was married twice, first to actor Mel Ferrer and then to Italian doctor Andrea Dotti and had a son with each.
Hepburn was Belgian by birth and would grow up with her mother in The Netherlands, nearly starving to death during the Nazi occupation in World War II when the Dutch food and fuel supplies were cut off. Tragically, she suffered through watching her uncle and cousin being shot to death for being part of the Resistance movement.
She rose from the horrific atrocities of her youth to find fame and fortune in America and in the last four years of her life (1988 to 1992) became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund).
Only four months before her death from abdominal cancer she went on a mission to Somalia and was devastated to see the nightmare of famine and carnage.
Audrey Hepburn was the picture of beauty, fashion and grace but never for a minute let her success go to her head, and most certainly never led a Hollywood lifestyle of overblown debauchery so much in evidence in moviemaking and Tinseltown today.
See Breakfast at Tiffany’s because Audrey Hepburn became an important contributor to our time and culture. She not only represented the best in professional growth but made her life a legacy with her personal growth. She was a model of grace and humility in a world with little of either.
Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley
Ed Bagley’s Blog Publishes Original Articles with Analysis and Commentary on 5 Subjects: Sports, Movie Reviews, Lessons in Life, Jobs and Careers, and Internet Marketing. My intention is to inform, educate, delight and motivate you the reader.
Note: Read my movie reviews on Broadway musicals: “Camelot”, “Chicago”, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Phantom of the Opera”. These are all excellent films.