Culture

From the Vault: 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' by Truman Capote, Starring Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany's © 1961 Paramount
Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany's © 1961 Paramount

"If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name." --Holly Golightly

In the immortal words of Deep Blue Something, "I think I remember the film." No woman thinks she remembers the film. She thinks she remembers having a pop art, Andy Warhol-style Holly Golightly face in her freshman year dorm room, or perhaps she thinks she remembers pretending long, black straws were long, black cigarette holders, but no woman thinks she remembers the film. She thinks she is the film.

In the page-to-screen world, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is most notable for its Hollywood-style ending (see above photo). The amoral Holly Golightly (formerly Lula Mae) is "a phony, but a real phony,"  a force to be reckoned with, or as Capote put it, an "American geisha" who "accompanied expense-account men to the best restaurants and night clubs, with the understanding that her escort was obligated to give her some sort of gift, perhaps jewelry or a check." Capote's Holly might fall in love, but she'd never belong to anybody. Both she and the cat, "a couple of no-name slobs." Hollywood did what Capote would not: domesticate a wild thing. Hollywood was always trying to make a fair lady out of Audrey Hepburn.

Holly herself said it best: "You mustn't give your heart to a wild thing." But we didn't listen, and she stole ours. If she hasn't had the chance to steal yours yet, be sure to let her, because whether you're seeing it for the first or hundredth time, you feel connected. Or, in the other more immortal words of Johnny Mercer:  "We're after the same rainbow's end, waitin' 'round the bend, my huckleberry friend, moon river and me."

Truman Capote's 1958 novella was adapted for the big screen in 1961 by director Blake Edwards and screenwriter George Axelrod. The film stars Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney.