Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG for subject matter
Running Time: 115 min.
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, Mickey Rooney
Director: Blake Edwards
Screenplay: George Axelrod (based on the novel by Truman Capote)
Review published May 29, 2000
Here's another one of those reviews that is probably bound to disappoint a few readers. I'm aware that this film is a favorite for many, particularly for women and fans of Hepburn (Roman Holiday, Charade). I don't have a problem with your own individual assessments, as it does have an infectious likeability I can feel might carry away some. I guess it just didn't work its magic on me the way it has done for so many others.
The plot involves a young aspiring writer (Peppard, How the West Was Won) who befriends the prostitute (Hepburn) who lives in his apartment building. He himself is a "kept man" at the beck and call of a wealthy older woman. The prostitute's dream is to marry a wealthy man and to take care of her brother who is due to get out of the Army and needs a place to stay. There is more to her than meets the eye, however.
A much loved film by many, it's unfortunately also a very uneven film as well and how much you forgive its poor qualities will greatly influence your enjoyment of it's strong points. The strengths of the film come from the likeable characters and lighthearted comedy, with Peppard and Hepburn making a terrific team. A memorable Oscar-winning score by Henry Mancini (Touch of Evil, Creature from the Black Lagoon), containing the hit "Moon River" hits the right notes at the right times. Unfortunately, Blake Edwards as director doesn't do the same for Truman Capote's story.
While never side-splittingly funny, Breakfast at Tiffany's does have quite its share of amusing moments and characters (although Mickey Rooney, as the Japanese tenant, mars the film with a racist caricature). The film also meanders aimlessly for large sections of the film, particularly for the first hour. The second hour picks up speed and becomes more interesting, with some dips into serious drama that are particularly effective, but an unbelievable side-story into Holly's background before coming to New York drags the film down into absurdity.
While Hepburn and Peppard are onscreen together, the film works magic, and when they are apart, it's mediocre at best. Fun, but in my opinion, a bit overrated.
©2000 Vince Leo