Thursday, December 30, 2010
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). Romantic comedy. Cast: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney. The film was directed by Blake Edwards. It was loosely based on the novel of the same name by Truman Capote. Orangey as "Cat" (trained by Frank Inn). Hepburn's performance of "Moon River" helped composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer win an Oscar for Best Song.
The story begins in the early morning hours, as a taxicab pulls up at Tiffany's and Holly Golightly, enjoys her "Breakfast at Tiffany's" while looking in the window. At her apartment building, Holly sneaks away from her date from the night before, who has been waiting in his car all night.
The next morning, Holly is awakened by her new neighbor Paul Varjak, ringing the door bell. After feeding her pet cat she calls "Cat", Holly visits with Paul, as she quickly dresses for her visit to Sing Sing prison. This is a weekly routine from which she earns $100 for a visit with mob boss, Sally Tomato.
Wealthy Emily Failenson, arrives at the apartment and is introduced as Paul's "decorator". Holly later drops by Paul's apartment to escape another date and sees Failenson leave money on a table.
Paul is invited to Holly's party, where he meets Jose da Silva Pereira, a rich Brazilian and Rusty Trawler, one of the richest American's under 50. Paul, also meets Holly's "agent" O. J. Berman who tells Paul that Holly is a "real phoney".
After becoming fast friends, Paul joins Holly when she visits Sally at Sing Sing. One afternoon, Paul hears Holly playing guitar and singing "Moon River" from her windowsill. This is when they first realize that they are attracted to each other. Unfortunately Holly, is a "free spirit" a independent, adventurous woman who lives for the moment. Will her love for Paul turn her life around?
These two actors performances are what make the film memorable. One of my favorite scenes is when, Holly and Paul agree to spend the day together, visiting the library and going to Tiffany's, where Paul has the ring from a box of Cracker Jacks engraved. Below is the movie trailer, Breakfast at Tiffany's.
In the novel, there is no mention of anything romantic going on between Holly Golightly and the character who is named Paul in the film (in the novel, he is nameless). The character of Paul's "decorator", Mrs Emily Eustace Failenson or Patricia Neal, does not feature in the book and was originated in the film.
In the novel, Mag Wildwood, a model with a stuttering problem, moves into Holly's apartment after Holly falls out with the novelist upstairs. In the film, Mag appears as a stuttering guest who arrives at Holly's party with Rusty Trawler.
The film changed the novella's unresolved, open ending to a more conventional "Hollywood" romantic happy ending.
Capote, who sold the film rights of his novella to Paramount Studios, wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the role of Holly Golightly in the film. Barry Paris references a quote by Capote: "Marilyn was always my first choice to play the girl, Holly Golightly." Screenwriter Axelrod was hired to "tailor the screenplay for Monroe." When Lee Strasberg advised Monroe that playing a prostitute would be bad for her image, she turned it down. When Hepburn was cast instead of Monroe, Capote remarked: "Paramount double-crossed me in every way and cast Audrey."
Kim Novak was asked to play the role of Holly Golightly, but she turned it down, for fear of being typecast as a scared sex kitten.
Originally producers Martin Jurow and Richard Shepherd had picked John Frankenheimer as the director, but Hepburn said: "I've never heard of him" and he was replaced on her request.
Most of the exteriors were filmed in New York City, except the fire escape scenes and the alley scene at the end in the rain where Holly puts Cat out of the cab and then Paul and Holly look for Cat. All of the interiors, except for portions of the scene inside Tiffany's, were filmed on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood.
It was rumored that the film's on-location opening sequence, in which Holly looks into a Tiffany's display window, was extremely difficult for director Blake Edwards to shoot. Crowd control, Hepburn's dislike of pastries, and an accident that nearly electrocuted a crew member are all said to have made filming the scene a challenge.
Audrey Hepburn said the scene where she throws Cat into the rainy street was the most distasteful thing she ever had to do on film.
George Peppard was a student of Method acting, a style Hepburn found difficult to work with. Nonetheless, the two actors remained close friends until her death.
Holly's couch is really an old-fashioned bathtub split in half. In some scenes, you can still see the gold handles at one end and the legs on the bottom.
Hepburn as Holly, carrying an over sized cigarette holder, is considered one of the most iconic images of 20th century American cinema.
Orangey, a red tabby cat, was owned and trained by animal trainer, Frank Inn.
Orangey (credited under various names) performed in film and television in the 1950's and early 1960's and was the only cat to win two Patsy Awards (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year, an animal actor's version of an Oscar) - the first for the title role in Rhubarb (1951), a story about a cat who inherits a fortune, and the second for his performance in, Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).
Other appearances included a regular role as "Minerva" on the television series, Our Miss Brooks (1952-1958).
The cat was also credited as "Jimmy" and "Rhubarb".
Rhubarb (1951) (uncredited) .... Rhubarb
This Island Earth (1955) (uncredited) .... Neutron
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) (uncredited) .... Cat
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) (as Cat)
Gigot (1962) (uncredited)
The Comedy of Terrors (1964) (as Rhubarb the Cat) .... Cleopatra
Village of the Giants (1965) (uncredited) .... Giant Cat