Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Paul Varjak: You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing”, and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.

[takes out the ring and throws it in Holly’s lap]

Paul Varjak: Here. I’ve been carrying this thing around for months. I don’t want it anymore.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and written by George Axelrod, loosely based on Truman Capote‘s novella of the same name. Starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, and featuring Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney, the film was initially released on October 5, 1961 by Paramount Pictures.

Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly as the naïve, eccentric socialite is generally considered to be the actress’s most memorable and identifiable role. Hepburn regarded it as one of her most challenging roles, since she was an introvert required to play an extrovert.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s was received positively at the time, and won two Academy Awards: Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “Moon River”, which was also selected as the fourth most memorable song in Hollywood history by the American Film Institute in 2004. The film was also nominated for three other Academy Awards: Best Actress for Hepburn, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction.

In 2012, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Rating 7.7 in IMDB

Watch the Trailer (just click)

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

PLOT:

Early one morning, a taxi pulls up at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York City, from which elegantly dressed Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) emerges. After looking into the shop’s windows, she strolls home. Outside her apartment, she fends off Sid Arbuck (Claude Stroud), her date from the disastrous night before. Inside the apartment building, Holly can’t find her keys so she buzzes her landlord, Mr. Yunioshi (Mickey Rooney), who begrudgingly lets her in. Later, she is awakened by new neighbour Paul Varjak (George Peppard), who rings her doorbell to get into the building. The pair chat as she dresses to leave for her weekly visit to Sally Tomato (Alan Reed), a mobster incarcerated at Sing Sing prison. Tomato’s lawyer, O’Shaughnessy, pays her $100 a week to deliver “the weather report”.

As she is leaving for Sing Sing, Holly is introduced to Paul’s “decorator”, wealthy older woman Emily Eustace Failenson (Patricia Neal), whom Paul nicknames “2E”. That night, Holly goes out onto the fire escape to elude an over-eager date (Mel Blanc). She peeks into Paul’s apartment and sees 2E leaving money and kissing Paul goodbye. After 2E leaves, Holly enters Paul’s apartment and learns that he is a writer who has not had anything published since a book of vignettes five years before. Holly, in turn, explains that she is trying to save money to support her brother Fred when he gets out of the Army. The pair fall asleep, but are awakened when Holly has a nightmare about Fred. She later buys Paul a typewriter ribbon to apologize and invites him to a party at her apartment. There, Paul meets her Hollywood agent, O. J. Berman (Martin Balsam), who describes Holly’s transformation from country girl into Manhattan socialite. He is also introduced to José da Silva Pereira (José Luis de Vilallonga), a wealthy Brazilian politician, and Rusty Trawler (Stanley Adams), the “ninth richest man in America under 50”.

In the days that follow, Paul and Holly become closer. One day, 2E enters Paul’s apartment. Worried that she is being followed, Paul tells her that he will investigate and eventually confronts Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen), Holly’s estranged husband. Doc explains that Holly’s real name is Lula Mae Barnes. They married when she was 14, and he wants to take her back to Texas, as Fred will be returning. After Paul reunites Holly and Doc, she tells Paul the marriage was annulled. At the bus station, she tells Doc she is not going with him. Doc leaves broken-hearted.

After drinking at a club, Paul and Holly return to her apartment, where she drunkenly tells him that she plans to marry Trawler for his money. A few days later, Paul learns that one of his short stories will be published. On the way to tell Holly, he sees a newspaper headline stating that Trawler has married someone else. Holly and Paul agree to spend the day together, taking turns doing things that each has never done before. At Tiffany’s, Paul has the ring from Doc Golightly’s box of Cracker Jack engraved as a present for Holly. After spending the night together, he awakens to find her gone. When 2E arrives, Paul ends their relationship. She calmly accepts, having earlier concluded that he and some other woman are in love.

Holly schemes to marry José for his money, which angers Paul. After Holly receives a telegram notifying her of Fred’s death, she trashes her apartment. Months later, Paul has moved out. He is invited to dinner by Holly, who is leaving the next morning for Brazil to continue her relationship with José. However, they are arrested in connection with Sally Tomato’s drug ring, and Holly spends the night in jail.

The next morning, Holly is released on bail and finds Paul waiting, and they take a cab. He has her cat and a letter from José explaining he must end their relationship due to her arrest. Holly insists she will go to Brazil anyway, asks the cab to pull over, and releases the cat into the rain. Paul confronts Holly about his love and her behaviour, then leaves, tossing the Cracker Jack ring they had engraved for her by Tiffany’s into her lap and telling her to examine her life. She goes through a decision making moment, puts on the ring, and runs after Paul, who has gone looking for the cat. She searches the alley and finally finds the cat. Paul and Holly look into each other’s eyes and shared a kiss.


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