Breakfast At Tiffany's 50th Anniversary [Blu-Ray]
Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is a sort-of call girl and a would-be actress, a mob affiliate and a model. In Truman Capote’s novel she’s a wishy-washy, multi-faceted girl befriended by the unnamed narrator who finds her fascinating. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she's a woman with an equivalent amount of guises, but she’s also present to fulfill a love story in an era when happy endings were always the best call.
We meet Ms. Golightly in full-on evening wear during the early morning hours, just before she rouses her apartment complex to let her into her locked building. Soon after, she encounters a new tenant, writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard). They hit it off, she blithely invites him to a party, and it doesn’t take long for him to fall for her as his writing muse.
Nor does it take Varjak long to fall for Holly himself. At a party full of sight gags, he finds her more interesting than his well-to-do mistress 2-E (Patricia Neal). More one-on-one time ensues and Varjak begins to see Holly as a young woman with a small-town troubled past who is often as emotionally distant as she is emotionally complicated. Director Blake Edwards cleverly sets up the audience's awareness of Holly’s character to coincide with Varjak’s awareness, beginning with a scene where Varjak meets Holly’s favorite mob-affiliated jailbird, Sally Tomato (Alan Reed).
None of this explains why Holly Golightly has become such an iconic character, of course. Some would argue Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a character study of a complicated woman, and Paul Varjak is just the catalyst. Some would argue Breakfast at Tiffany’s has become iconic because Hepburn, a self-proclaimed introvert, was able to play an extrovert to great appeal. One thing is certain: Holly Golightly is no more or less charming when converted onto Blu-Ray, although she is even more colorful.
Forever scheming, Mrs. Golightly gets her act together when it counts -- when she must send her forlorn ex-husband, Doc (Buddy Ebsen), home; when she must come to terms with her favorite brother’s death; when she must choose for or against love with Mr. Varjak. Even though the storyline might build up to a man taking a chance in a cab on a stormy night, and even though it plays to harshly worded interactions on occasion, it is mostly a light-hearted matter. A lasting film 50 years later, if Breakfast at Tiffany’s is light fodder, it is more like Total cereal than Coffee Rich.
Paramount Home Entertainment really outfitted the Blu-Ray disc. There are over two hours of special features, as well as commentary from producer Richard Shepherd. Unfortunately, the big Breakfast at Tiffany's release came two years ago with the Centennial Collection DVD. The Blu-Ray is outfitted with all of the special features created for the Centennial Collection, but nothing new. The color and picture has been vamped up for Blu-Ray, but if you already own a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it’s not enough to advocate a second purchase.
The first segment is “A Golightly Gathering” featuring cast members present in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s party scene. Nostalgia seems to be expressly present throughout all of the special features. As one part-actor mentions, “It’s amazing what you don’t appreciate while it’s happening.” A photo gallery and the original theatrical trailer round out the nostalgic features.
There’s a whole section on Mr. Yunioshi’s character and Japanese Americans feelings on racial stereotypes present in film and especially post-WWII western society films. It is great Paramount goes out of its way to offer an alternative perspective on the character, but the segment is overly long and becomes a mini-documentary, including other films that have Japanese stereotypes.
Other features include “It’s so Audrey” and “Harry Mancini: More Than Music,” and a segment on Tiffany’s discuss the iconic aspects of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “Behind the Gates: The Tour” is a modern-day studio tour of Paramount Pictures which offers some historical perspective. There’s plenty to watch here and plenty to offer that is different from the multiple DVD options of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, provided you don’t own the Centennial Collection edition.
Reviewed By: Jessica Grabert