DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Audrey Hepburn as HOLLY GOLIGHTLY
    George Peppard as PAUL “FRED” VARJAK
    Patricia Neal as 2-E
    Buddy Ebsen as DOC GOLIGHTLY
    Martin Balsam as O.J. BERMAN
    Mickey Rooney as MR. YUNIOSHI

    Not Rated
    Studio: Paramount

    Directed by: Blake Edwards

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Spunky socialite and mildly-veiled call-girl Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) lives a wild life in New York City. She meets her new neighbor, a gigolo named Paul Varjak (George Peppard) and starts a quirky friendship. As Holly captivates Paul with her throw-caution-to-the-wind lifestyle, he quickly starts to fall in love with her.

However, their relationship becomes strained as Holly’s past comes back to haunt her with an ex-husband from the Midwest trying to track her down and a gangster in jail pinning her with a conspiracy charge. Paul struggles with their relationship, trying to tame the wild Holly who does not always go very lightly.

While I’ve only seen a limited number of Audrey Hepburn’s films, I cannot deny that she is possibly one of the most adorable actresses that emerged in the 1950s. Quite simply, without her in this film, it would have lost a lot of its charm. The original choice for Holly Golightly (which actually fit author Truman Capote’s ideal better) was Marilyn Monroe, who would have embodied the character better but wouldn’t have made it such an icon.

There’s a certain charm to the 60s films, especially to those who lived through the time. The movie definitely keeps that sensibility to it, and for myself, who hadn’t seen it until I watched this DVD, I see what all the fuss was about. As a light-hearted comedy, it was cute, and it showed how legendary director Blake Edwards started to get his feet wet in screwball comedies.

Although I can see how this film became a classic, a lot of its adoration is lost on me. This is the case with many films of the 1960s – from the original “Ocean’s 11” to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” For some reason, I just don’t get the spirit of these films. Call it a culture clash. Call it me being a child of the 80s. Whatever it is, I just don’t see the pizzazz in Holly Golightly’s life.

While I appreciated the screwball comedy moments, in particular the infamous cocktail party scene, I’ve seen screwball comedy done much better as you move into the films of the 70s (including director Blake Edwards’ brilliant “Pink Panther” movies).

Finally, I understand the tip-toeing around the sexual professions in this movie, but things just seemed so sanitized in this film, even when it was sordid to the world almost 50 years ago.

Like the other films in Paramount’s Centennial Collection, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” hosts an impressive slate of special features. A lot of the Audrey Hepburn fawning features have been mined for previous releases (e.g., “Sabrina” and “Roman Holiday”), so we have a more eclectic mix.

The first disc includes the feature with commentary by producer Richard Shepherd. The second disc includes a wide range of featurettes, including a reunion of extras from the cocktail party, a look at the music of Henry Mancini, a making-of video, a look at Audrey Hepburn as a style icon, a tour of Paramount studios, a discussion of the quality of a Tiffany’s gift, a letter Audrey Hepburn wrote to Tiffany and Co., picture galleries and the original trailer.

Most interesting in the mix is a featurette addressing the yellow-face character of Mr. Yunioshi. With such a prominent racist character in the film, it’s not surprising that Paramount is including this apologetic feature. The interviews do get a bit high-and-mighty, especially as the subjects struggle to look at things in a historic context, but it’s nice to see they gave a nod to how things were and didn’t do anything to tamper with the original film itself.

Audrey Hepburn fans and 60s movie junkies.

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