"Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Based on Truman Capote’s novel of the same name, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is probably the film Audrey Hepburn is most recognized for. Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is not only a escort for wealthy men, but also a woman who eats breakfast at Tiffany’s because you can’t really be sad there. Holly’s life seems to be going at a fast pace with all night parties and doesn’t stop until early in the morning when she falls asleep. It’s writer Paul Varjack (George Peppard) who wakes her because he can’t get into his apartment and who incidentally helps slow her down.
The odd pair quickly become friends, when Holly learns that Paul takes money from a woman who supports him and his creativity and when Paul witnesses how positively carefree Holly appears to be. Holly feels comfortable with Paul and quickly confides in him, revealing truths about her past that led her to New York City. The pair spend time visiting Tiffany’s and exploring the city landscape with eagerness and an agreement to do new things with each other while avoiding the things that really plague them: Holly’s past and Paul’s writer’s block.
Before long their friendship is tested when Holly’s husband Doc (Buddy Ebsen) comes to New York to take Holly back to the life she left behind. Paul is fascinated that Doc supposedly knows Holly, because he wasn’t sure anyone knew the “real” Holly Golightly. The more Paul learns about Holly, the more he falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Holly decides she’s going to marry a rich man from Brazil rather than follow her heart. She begins to change things about herself to prepare for her life with him, much to Paul’s disapproval and dismay.
The end of the film is a classic moment where Holly plans to leave for Brazil, but must first search for her one true companion, a nameless cat who she let out in the rain. While the film isn’t necessarily romantic, it certainly offers a very poignant look at two very lonely people who find each other and, despite all odds, recognize it in the end.
Hepburn’s performance as Holly Golightly is so charming, you almost forget that her character takes $50 dollars for the powder room and brings all sorts of men to her apartment. Unfortunately Peppard wasn’t the best choice for the role of Paul, but he doesn’t necessarily take away from the film. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a film worth a look not only because of Hepburn, but because of the way the film captures the early 60’s so wonderfully and the song, “Moon River” that practically stole the film.
The 1950’s offered the world a collection of films that, to this day, stand up against the years and manage to continue to claim their spot as some of the greatest movies of all time. “Funny Face” is an example of a film that not only has Fred Astaire dancing, but Audrey Hepburn as well in a memorable scene dressed head to toe in black. Released as part of Paramount’s centennial collection, “Funny Face” is a wonderful addition to any classic collection.
The 1957 production of “Funny Face” is evident from the moment the film begins with bold décor and fashion that only adds to the film. Desperate to find a new look for her magazine, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) decides to make everything pink and in turn she must find a new location to shoot the photo layouts to advertise her new direction for the her magazine. In comes photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) who scouts locations and ends up in a local bookstore where he meets bookish, Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). When Dick returns to his darkroom, he notices Jo in the negative and immediately he realizes what’s missing at Quality Magazine…it’s Jo’s funny face.
From here the story becomes a near-Cinderella tale where Jo is brought into the magazine and tempted to travel to Paris with Dick and the magazine as a model. Of course, Jo is more interested in seeing Paris and experiencing the new culture rather than being a model dressed up and made up. When they arrive in Paris, Jo sets off on her own to see the city and ends up in a underground cafe where she wants to discuss life with the local Parisians. Before long, Dick begins to warm to Jo and visa-versa, and she agrees to be better about modeling.
What follows is a montage of photo shoots with beautiful costumes and wonderful scenery. When Jo realizes her time in Paris, and more importantly with Dick, is coming to an end, she agrees to remain a model. Of course, underneath Jo is still the bookish intellectual Dick met at the bookstore and her interest in meeting professor Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair) entices her to the underground cafe where he’s speaking and away from her commitment to the magazine. So sets off a series of arguments and questions of commitment not only between Jo and the magazine but Jo and Dick.
While “Funny Face” isn’t Audrey Hepburn’s finest film, it doesn’t go without saying that her performance is still flawless and enchanting. The songs are lively and energetic, but its the dance numbers that are most wonderful to watch, especially the one’s with Hepburn and Astaire. Certainly worth a look for fans of the film and the timeless actress.
Both films are being re-released on separate "Centennial Collection" editions from Paramount.
VIDEO: Both "Funny Face" and "Breakfast" are presented by Paramount in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Both films look reasonably good on these re-releases, with "Funny Face" looking particularly fresh and crisp on this edition. Although there are a few minor specks and marks seen on the print during both presentations, the majority of each film looked crisp and clean. No instances of pixelation or edge enhancement were seen. Colors generally appeared pleasing on both titles, not looking faded.
SOUND: Both films are presented with their original mono soundtracks, as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 remixes. While audio on the films can sound somewhat flat and thin, given the age of the three films, audio quality does come in mildly above expectations.
Kay Thompson: Think Pink!” A fantastic look at Kay Thompson’s life and her role in Hollywood films. The feature explores Thompson’s desire to be involved with music as well as her insecurities growing up. With lots of archive photos and footage, this is an extremely informative and fascinating look at a woman’s determination to make something of herself. The interviews are interesting and really help bring to life the musical treasure that enhanced the Hollywood Musical. Not only did Thompson compose and perform music, she had many creative outlets including writing the popular children’s book, “Eloise”. A truly remarkable woman and a wonderful feature, this is worth a look.
“This is Vistavision”
A look at the need to bring audiences back to the movie theaters and the way Hollywood went about doing just that with Vistavision. With several interviews, insight to films made in Vistavision, and archive footage explaining Vistavision, this is a nice addition to the set.
“Fashion Photographers Exposed”
Since “Funny Face” is about a fashion photographer, this feature focuses on fashion photographers. There are interviews with photographers that walk you through a creative process and the people involved in making a photo work. This feature takes you on a photo shoot where the theme is based on Audrey Hepburn and “Funny Face” and the photographers talk about the photos taken in the film and the impact they have.
“The Fashion Designer And His Muse”
An inside look at the meeting of Audrey Hepburn and designer Hubert de Givenchy and the impact she had on his designs. Hepburn was so taken with him, that she made sure he got credit for his designs (which he didn’t get for “Sabrina”) and he was taken with her. With interviews and a look at the clothes worn in the film, this is a nice look at two creative people who helped change the face of fashion.
A look at how Paris was another character in the film that helped add to the overall story and beauty of “Funny Face.” Also talked about here is photographer Richard Avedon and the style he brought to the film (including catching the models in movement and adding color to black and white). A great look at the city that brought “Funny Face” to life and the photographer that inspired the memorable film.
“Paramount in the 50’s”
A look at films Paramount released in the fifties, offered in a sort-of timeline. Here, glimpses of several Paramount classics are featured with footage from the films, academy award results, and a look at the actors who graced the screen during the time period.
The Original Theatrical Trailer and Still Galleries (including production, movie and publicity shots) are also included in this set.
"Breakfast At Tiffany's":
“Commentary with Producer Richard Shepherd”
Shepherd talks about working with the actors and offers some interesting bits of information about them, as well as some fun tidbit’s about the cats who played the infamous “cat” in the film. Shepherd has moments where he doesn’t talk and lets the movie just play for long stretches. Overall, this is a decent commentary with some new information that fans might enjoy.
“A Golightly Gathering”
This is a gathering, at what looks to be someone’s house, of people who were part of the party scene in the film. It’s nice to see the cast gather like they did once before and reminisce. It’s fun to see the cast members then and now, which the feature shows whose who. The party goers discuss what it was like working with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard as well as Director Blake Edwards. This should be fun for fans of the film as it offers a new look at an old classic.
“Henry Mancini: More Than Music”
An in-depth look at composer Henri Mancini and his path to becoming a legendary composer. Without question, the film wouldn’t be the same without Mancini’s score, especially “Moon River” that almost didn’t make it in the film. The feature touches on more than his compositions and is a nice look at a Hollywood legend.
“Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective”
Founding President of Media Action Network for Asian Americans, Guy Aoki talks about the iconic aspect of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but more importantly about the character Mr. Yunioshi. Actress Marilyn Tokuda also talks about the issue and how the first time she saw the film at a young age she “felt something was very wrong”. President of Media Action Network for Asian Americans, Phil Lee and Vice President Jeffery Scott Mio also offers their take on the character in historical context and from a personal point of view. This is one of the more interesting features as it offers insight into an important issue that negatively effects the film. The feature goes further than discussing the film and focuses on other sensitive historical issues.
“The Making of a Classic”
Interviews with Director Blake Edwards and Producer Richard Shepherd discuss the making of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” from developing Capote’s novella into a screenplay to finding the perfect cast. They discuss the difference between Capote’s story and the film, including how they made Hepburn play the part. A nice feature worth a look.
“It’s So Audrey! A Style Icon”
A look similar to several other features included on the Paramount Centennial Collections that focuses on Audrey Hepburn’s style. With discussion about her meeting Givenchy, to her simplistic style and practicality off screen, and her not being the typical beauty of the time, this is another look at the woman who helped define fashion and still does to this day.
“Behind the Gates: The Tour”
A tour of Paramount Pictures with lots of pictures and driving around the lots, even your own personal tour guide offering all kinds of information about the lots. It’s not the most interesting feature, as it’s something you’d almost rather do in person if at all.
“Brilliance in a Blue Box”
A historical look at Tiffany’s as well as the inclusion of Tiffany products worn by Audrey Hepburn. This is a look at Tiffany’s and their jewelry and décor designs as well as the iconic Tiffany Blue Box.
“Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany”
Design Director at Tiffany and Company, John Loring reminisces about writing a 150th anniversary book for Tiffany and hoping Audrey Hepburn would include a piece for the book. She agreed and Loring tells the story and reads the letter she wrote.
The Original Theatrical Trailer and Galleries (Production, The Movie and Publicity) are also included in this set.
Final Thoughts: "Funny Face" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" get fine treatment on these new "Centennial Collection" editions, as both 2-DVD sets contain quite a few special features. Recommended.