Monday, May 7, 2012

What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?

And I said, "What about breakfast at Tiffany's?"
She said, "I think I remember the film?
And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it"
And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got"
 - Deep Blue Something

Source
I like to think I discovered Tiffany's on my own. Despite that Deep Blue Something song that came out when I was 10 or the multiple references to the famous jewelry store in popular media (I'm looking at you Sex and the City and Glee), I didn't really get what Tiffany's was all about until one moment in the Vegas Tiffany's outlet in the Bellagio when I stared long and hard at the Tiffany's classic ring setting and thought, "Well, aren't you stunning." When I visited Tiffany's in New York City, I found the store stately, beautiful, and just the right level unattainable.

If I lived in New York City, I probably wouldn't window shop at Tiffany's while enjoying my morning coffee and croissant. Still, when I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time last week, I understood the comfort the Holly Golightly character found in gazing at orderly, pretty, sparkly things. And that's about where any common ground between me and Holly ends.  

 You see, I can't remember a time when I didn't recognize this picture:
Source
Yet, somehow, I'd never actually seen the film. I had no idea of the plot line (during my childhood, I assumed Tiffany's was a diner or some kind of breakfast joint) and I'd forgotten that the film is based on a Truman Capote novella. So last week, I sat down to actually watch the film and correct all of my misconceptions about Breakfast at Tiffany's.

And my goodness, I was expecting adorable, sweet Audrey Hepburn ala Roman Holiday (one of my favorites!) or My Fair Lady (which is too long and has a shite ending, but which I feel a certain affinity to since it's based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.)  But Audrey's Holly Golightly character is just a pill. A P-I-L-L. As Berman, the Hollywood agent says in the film, "She's a phony, but she's a real phony."

In my mind, Breakfast at Tiffany's had always been linked with the posh and glamorous. But as the storyline unfolded, as much as I loved Hepburn's timeless outfits, I realized the glamor I'd always linked with the film was as phony as Holly Golightly herself.  At its heart, the film's about a sad little girl who constantly insists that external factors hold the key to her happiness. Still, I loved the calm confidence the entire film exudes that firmly dates it as being pre-JFK assassination.   

The film is much less about glamor, and much more about excess and overcompensation. At one point, as we watched the drunken apartment party unfold, Andy wondered out loud, "Is this supposed to be a social commentary on drinking?" 

As the film wrapped up with the rainy scene in the alley, I couldn't help but feel surprised. I hadn't really liked it.

Not that I hated Breakfast in Tiffany's in those "I'm so disinterested in this I think I'll go clean the bathroom" or "I want my two hours back" ways. But after running into references to the film all the time, I'd always assumed it was just another charming Audrey Hepburn film.

Consider my curiosity sated.

Now, if I could just get that Deep Blue Something song out of my head. . . Ah well, better than having "Moon River" running through my head on repeat, eh?

Have you ever been surprised by a classic movie?
 

9 comments:

  1. Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't (well, you have now, but still) seen this movie. I do think I saw bits and pieces when I was a kid, but I don't remember a thing about it. This actually makes me more curious to see the movie, because I've only ever heard positive comments about it. Of course, the word "classic" gets thrown around a lot.

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  2. I really enjoyed this movie except for the horrible character of Mr. Yunioshi, portrayed by Mickey Rooney. I always remember the end when she throws out Cat and then realizes how much she really loves him (sort of like how she loves Paul). We have all missed a classic movie, I still haven't seen Citizen Kane, but I do know what Rosebud is!

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  3. A classic movie that I have seen so many times, I have lost count, as well as read the book countless times, was Gone With The Wind. It didn't actually surprise me, but my feeling when watching it changed over the years. In the beginning I really identified with Scarlet due to being a teenager at the time and in the beginning of the movie she wanted Ashley even if he didn't want her. In my later years, and especially once I established my own business, I saw the movie differently. The way she did what she had to, so she could save her home and family. Then the way she managed the sawmill and made it into a thriving business. Many times there is more to the movies than what you see after a first viewing.

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  4. yes! in the film she's a total petulant child, and i never really understood why paul was so into marrying an emotionally stunted, materialistic prostitute/escort.

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  5. I have never seen it but I did love that song back in the day lol. following from I love my Online Friends Monday Hop Please follow me
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  6. She was a prostitute. The book was ... something else. Love the film, though. It's a comfort flick from my childhood.

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  7. well, I have to say- I wasn't surprised by the movie because I saw it before I saw Roman Holiday, Sabrina, etc. What surprised me was the novella that inspired the movie- darker in feeling than the movie by far. I enjoy both, but they sure are different animals. I also read that Truman Capote was upset by the casting of Audrey Hepburn and had wanted Marilyn Monroe to play her. Of course, hollywood (big money) wins... I like Audrey's take on it though. She plays sad, confused, and stubborn very well.

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  8. Breakfast at Tiffany's is one neither I nor my husband have ever understood. Not the movie itself, but the cult following. It's just, I don't know, depressing?

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  9. I have heard of it but haven't seen it myself. new follower from the blog hop, would love a follow back

    http://cumminslife.blogspot.com/

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