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Breakfast at Tiffany's (2-Disc)
DVD disk
02.10.2009 By: Mathew Plale
Breakfast at Tiffany's (2-Disc) order
Director:
Blake Edwards

Actors:
Audrey Hepburn
George Peppard
Patricia Neal

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An emotionally unstable playgirl (Hepburn) reluctantly falls in love with an out of work writer (Peppard).
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Truman Capote’s story of two handsome prostitutes—one a shallow phony entangled with a jailed mobster; the other an off-and-on writer with a knack for interior design—living in Manhattan. And to suckers like myself, it’s one of the most glamorous of films.

It’s the Hollywood ending, concocted by screenwriter George Axelrod (The Seven Year Itch) and approved by director Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther series). It’s inevitable, and anyone who’s seen just one romance in their day knows that when a new tenant asks to use the pretty upstairs neighbor’s phone, they never just bid “Good day” and carry on their separate ways.

But you’d return too if the neighbor were Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn, her trademark role). Holly’s the kind of gal who seeks refuge in Tiffany & Co. (“Nothing bad could ever happen to you in a place like this.”), not their product. She’s fragile and half-shattered from leaving home at 14 with her brother (now serving in the army), ditching her life in Texas as Lula Mae Barns, and being molded by a Hollywood agent (Martin Balsam). She hasn’t even named her cat.

We never see how she spends most of any given day, but once a week she’s paid $100 to visit mobster Sally Tomato (Alan Reed) and hear his weather reports (“Snow flurries expected this week in New Orleans.”), which turn out to be coded messages for his narcotics ring on the outside.

Edwards cares less about us believing the story (and good thing) than he does assuring we care for Holly. And we do. We hope the “poor nameless slob” settles down not with a Brazilian billionaire, but her neighbor Paul (George Peppard), especially after the extended sequence where the two gallop around the city doing things they’ve never done, like shoplifting from a five and dime, or entering a library.

There are endless characters that enter Holly’s world, like Paul’s “decorator” (Patricia Neal), neighbor Mr. Yunioshi (Mickey Rooney in controversial Yellowface), and her many escorts, but Breakfast at Tiffany’s is unarguably, and as the review insists, Holly’s story and Hepburn’s picture.

Any other actress and Breakfast at Tiffany’s would be throwaway. Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe (an unstable lush in her own right) for Holly. Imagine the two most famous scenes—the cocktail party, and “Moon River”—with Monroe as the lead. She’d make it more about herself than Holly. Audrey Hepburn knew how to treat her.
THE EXTRAS
Disc One:

Commentary by Producer Richard Shepherd: This dry track has Shepherd providing details on the film’s production, such as differences between Capote’s novella and the film, the cast/characters (notably his regret over Mickey Rooney’s casting), the famous cocktail party, and more. There are numerous stretches of silence, but it’s worth skipping around.

Disc Two:

A Golightly Gathering (20:25): Extras from the famous party scene and authors get together to share cocktails and behind-the-scenes stories (regarding their onscreen moments, working with Hepburn, Peppard, and director Edwards, and other interesting tidbits), as well as their thoughts on the popularity of New York cocktail parties and Truman Capote’s novella.

Henry Mancini: More Than Music (20:55) is a profile of the late composer, who won two Oscars for his work on Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Contributors include his wife and children.

Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective (17:28): The Asian-American interviewees share their thoughts on and gripes with the Mickey Rooney caricature and the idea of Yellowface. This is the best inclusion on the disc, as it brings to light the shameful treatment of Asians throughout both Hollywood and American history.

The Making of a Classic (16:11): Contributors (producer Richard Shepherd and director Blake Edwards among them) reminisce about the evolution of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, commenting on the cast, the cocktail party, “Moon River,” and the legacy of the film.

It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon (8:14) takes a look at the beauty of Audrey Hepburn, covering her collaboration with costume designers, clothes in her films (Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast…), and her ordinary looks (“She had the biggest fear of any girl I’ve ever seen,” says producer Richard Shepherd).

Behind the Gates: The Tour (4:33) gives us a brief look at the Paramount Pictures lot.

Brilliance in a Blue Box (6:01) is a promotional piece for Tiffany’s.

Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany (2:29): Tiffany & Co. design director John Loring remembers and shares the letter that Hepburn wrote for his book on the company’s 150th anniversary.

Original Theatrical Trailer and Galleries.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Breakfast at Tiffany's is as phony as any romance of the era, but Hepburn's trademark performance sets it above most of the rest. A few of the special features are recycled from previous editions, but this 2-Disc Centennial Collection, which boasts a stunning transfer and some nice new extras, is still worth the double dip for fans.
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