Breakfast at Tiffany’s (50th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)


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Rating: Not Rated

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly
George Peppard as Paul Varjak
Patricia Neal as 2-E
Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly
Martin Balsam as O.J. Berman
José Luis de Vilallonga as José
John McGiver as Tiffany’s Salesman
Alan Reed as Sally Tomato
Dorothy Whitney as Mag Wildwood
Stanley Adams as Rusty Trawler
Claude Stroud as Sid Arbuck
Elvia Allman as Librarian
Putney as ‘Cat’ – a Cat (as ‘Cat’)
Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi

Directed by Blake Edwards

Special Features:
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Commentary by Producer Richard Shepherd
A Golightly Gathering (HD)
Henry Mancini: More Than Music (HD)
Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective (HD)
The Making of a Classic
It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon
Behind the Gates: The Tour
Brilliance in a Blue Box
Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish, French, and Portuguese Subtitles
Spanish, French, and Portuguese Language
Running Time: 114 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“‘I’m crazy about Tiffany’s…Nothing very bad could happen to you there!’ For the first time ever, this meticulously restored screen gem is available on Blu-ray. Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) delights audiences as the carefree ingénue searching Manhattan for a dream millionaire to marry. George Peppard plays the struggling, ‘sponsored’ young writer who gets swept away in Holly’s chaotic-yet-enchanting lifestyle. Directed by Blake Edwards (‘The Pink Panther,’ ‘Victor/Victoria’), this two-time Oscar-winning film features Henry Mancini’s honored score, as well as his and Johnny Mercer’s Academy Award-winning song, ‘Moon River.'”

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is not rated.

If I ever saw “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” it was so long ago that I didn’t remember it. In fact, I asked several friends and family if they had ever seen it and they said they hadn’t. I suspect a lot of people have heard of it but couldn’t tell you what it was about. So when the Blu-ray arrived at my house, I was eager to check it out.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” surprised me on several levels. First of all, I forgot that it was directed by Blake Edwards who I knew primarily from the “Pink Panther” movies. I had also forgotten that it was based on a short story by Truman Capote. I of course knew that Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard were in it, but I forgot Buddy Ebsen (from “The Beverly Hillbillies”) and Mickey Rooney were in it.

But what really surprised me was how dark the story was, yet that darkness was covered up by ’60’s censors, the Audrey Hepburn fashions, the iconic movie poster, and the pop song by Deep Blue Something. Holly Golightly is, essentially, a call-girl. Capote called her more of an American geisha than a call girl, yet as she frequently entertains rich men in an attempt to snag a rich husband, it doesn’t take much to read between the lines. We also learn that Holly was married to an older man at age 15 and that she left him and some of her children to seek her fortunes in the big city. She ditched her accent, her past, and every aspect of her personality to become the new character Holly Golightly. She’s a pretty tragic character, really. And then you have Paul Varjak, who is the boy toy of a rich adulteress. It’s a bit more obvious how he’s earning the money. If there was more than one woman, he’d be a gigolo. But all of this is glossed over or ignored in the film. If you made “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” today, it would be a very different, significantly darker film. It would be something in-between “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Pretty Woman.” It would certainly be interesting to see how someone would adapt the Capote story today.

Another shock was Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi. He plays the role in yellow-face with Coke-bottle glasses, buck teeth, and painted skin. It’s a horrible, grotesque stereotype. Yet it’s like a train wreck – it’s so awful that you can’t take your eyes away from it. It’s just amazing to me as a modern viewer that it was ever acceptable or even considered funny. It’s also amazing to me that a movie considered a classic has something like this in it. Disney is terrified to re-release “Song of the South” because it portrays a jolly slave, yet this is more racially offensive and it’s celebrated as an iconic movie. It’s mind boggling, really.

There are a lot of other noteworthy things about “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The score by Henry Mancini is fantastic and “Moon River” is a great theme (despite being a punchline by Chevy Chase in “Fletch”). It was memorable, it was played in many ways throughout the movie, and it was pitched in a range that Audrey Hepburn could actually sing. I don’t think there’s been a movie theme as good as it in the last 20 years. The movie also features one of the all-time classic party scenes in any movie. The scene is funny, it gives you a look at parties from 1961, and it gives a great look at Golightly’s party lifestyle. Hepburn’s fashions are also worth checking out as she established the iconic ‘little black dress’ with this movie.

Fans of the movie should really enjoy this Blu-ray. The scenes shot outdoors look so crisp and clear that they could have been shot yesterday. Only when the movie moves to indoor sets does it look truly dated. Mancini’s score it also great on the re-mastered audio.

Whether you’re a fan of the movie or you’re wanting to check it out for the first time like me, this 50th Anniversary Blu-ray is worth picking up.

Among the bonus features are a commentary by the producer, the original trailer, some galleries, and a series of featurettes. “A Golightly Gathering” features a get-together by a number of the actors and actresses that were in the famous party scene. They talk about their experiences filming the scenes and their interactions with Peppard, Hepburn, and Edwards. “Henry Mancini: More Than Music” is an in-depth biography on the life of the composer. It features his family, vintage photos, and more. It’s a great documentary. “Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective” features interviews with a number of Asian actors and actresses who talk about how the scenes made them feel when they saw them for the first time, what lessons they take from it, and how we’ve moved beyond that era of where yellowface was acceptable. The featurette drifts into a big discussion about George Takei as Mr. Sulu, which is a little odd on a Blu-ray of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” but it ends up being a fantastic even-handed discussion about the big problem with this movie. Rounding out the featurettes are a discussion about how Hepburn actually picked out a number of the iconic Golightly fashions herself, a tour of Paramount Studios, a video about Tiffany’s, and more. The only things missing from this Blu-ray are vintage interviews and discussions with the original cast. Add that to these extras and you have a perfect Blu-ray.