In my initial dip into Capote-ville, inspired by my reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, I watched the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, adapted from Truman Capote’s story of the same name. I have heard of this movie for so long as the epitome of Hollywood romance and chic that I wanted to finally see for myself. Well, I am just a crank, I can’t help it, but I thought it was pretty awful.
The film is supposed to be a romantic comedy – I think I laughed once at a bit by a minor character. The humor seemed dated, dull, sexist, not to mention Mickey Rooney’s racist turn, for which all concerned have since expressed deep regret. There is a party scene in Holly’s apartment that seems like the fantasy of an uptight dullard who just watched Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Audrey Hepburn is lovely, of course, and Peppard is a good looking hunk of a guy, but you haven’t a clue why a jaded – he’s being kept by a rich woman – intelligent fellow like him would go all mushy for a pretty slip of a girl who is obviously suffering from a deep psychological mauling. It’s all just froth and candy icing, amazing clothes draped across Hepburn’s boney and elegant frame, and dialog so superficial it can make your head ache.
I read that Capote hated the film and felt double-crossed by the studios. He wanted Marilyn Monre in the lead, playing it as voluptous, sexy, not too bright, and vulnerable. That would have made for a darker, more interesting story. Soon I’ll read his novella and find out just how much of working over Hollywood gave the original.
The image shows the two protagonists at the high point of their romancing-cute: they just shoplifted two masks from a five and dime store to prove to themselves how carefree and unconventional they are.