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A review from a newcomer to enjoying Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

DVD Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Centennial Collection

Written by Hombre Divertido

On January 13th Paramount will release Breakfast at Tiffany’s as part of its Centennial Collection, and it is certainly easy to see why this film is held in such high regard. One can only regret that they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore. A simple character and dialog-driven endeavor full of wonderful performances that make you want to rush out to the nearest coffee house in hopes of meeting someone new with a unique personality. Unfortunately, most of us don’t fall into relationships as easy as they did back then, or at least as easy as was depicted in the films of the era.

One could only hope to meet someone as full of life and yet innocently insecure hiding in the elegant beauty that was escort Holly Golightly portrayed with subtle elegance by Audrey Hepburn. The occasionally stiff George Peppard as the underachieving writer and kept man Paul, who falls quickly into a friendship and eventually in love with his new neighbor Holly, but it is his attempts to fit into her awkwardly paced world, summed up beautifully by director Blake Edwards’ legendary cocktail party, that makes the bulk of this film so enjoyable.

Holly and Paul walk through life with what appears to be an ease that we all long for, but the depth of the performances denotes the true guardedness of both characters, and how they grow together.

Recent character studies such as Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt or Nicholas Cage in The Weatherman give us well-crafted insight into the life of the main characters, but it’s not a life that most would be interested in experiencing. Breakfast at Tiffany’s gives us something we are looking to experience, or at the least, reminds us of people we used to know and or admired.

The new release is full of bonus material including commentary by producer Richard Shepherd, and numerous individual productions such as “Henry Mancini: More than Music,” an exceptional look at the life of this extremely talented man; “A Golightly Gathering,” which reunites the participants of the classic cocktail party and features fun and fact-filled interviews; “Behind the Gates: A Tour” is a far-too-short visit to Paramount Studios, “Brilliance in a Blue Box” is a brief history of the iconic jewelry store, “Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany’s,” “The Making of a Classic,” “It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon,” the original theatrical trailer, and photo galleries.

One of the most interesting pieces of bonus material is “Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective” which yields the reaction to Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of the over-the-top stereotype of Asians of that era. The participants in the feature certainly convey the feelings that existed then and now, and should be respected. From a purely comedic perspective, the performance and antics were far better suited to Edwards later Pink Panther projects. Breakfast at Tiffany’s has a charm and brilliance that was only dulled by the slapstick inclusion of such a caricature.

All the bonus material is enjoyable especially the look at the life of Mancini as poignantly conveyed by his family. Some material is a bit repetitive when packaged together, but watching it immediately after the film does manage to lengthen one’s enjoyment and appreciation of the original project. More material focused on the rest of the talented cast (Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, and Martin Balsam) would have enhanced the attractiveness of this new release, and certainly an interview with Mickey Rooney on the subject of his portrayal in the film would have made for a more well-rounded offering.

Recommendation: Definitely one of the rare movies that doesn’t disappoint after decades of hearing “What? You’ve never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” So, if you haven’t, here is the perfect opportunity.

As the original marketing material states: “It’s everything you’ve always wanted to do, and Audrey Hepburn’s the one you’ve always wanted to do it with.” Funny how true that will ring, even after almost fifty years, and most likely even for those who have never experienced the talent that was Audrey Hepburn.

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