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Breakfast at Tiffany's(1961)
Struggling writer Paul Varjak moves into a New York apartment building and becomes intrigued by his pretty, quirky neighbor Holly Golightly. Holly's lifestyle confuses and fascinates Paul; in public she flits through parties with a sexy, sophisticated air, but when they're alone she changes into a sweetly vulnerable bundle of neuroses.
For more about Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray release, see Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 19, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, Mickey Rooney
Director: Blake Edwards
» See full cast & crew
Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray Review
As I recall I think we both kind of liked it...
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 19, 2011
I don't know who I am.
Author Truman Capote's whimsy, cute, funny, naive, and enigmatic Holly Golightly, portrayed by the renowned Audrey Hepburn, is perhaps the very definition of a cinematic icon, a classic character in every sense of the term, Hollywood royalty and instantly-recognizable with her stylish clothes, slim face, big eyes, and extra-long cigarette holder. Chic, extraordinarily well-played, but toned down into a safer, more approachable 1960s mass-audience-friendly character, Holly Golightly is Hepburn's best-remembered character of her storied career, her Scarlett O'Hara, her Vivian Ward, her Maria. But just who is the character? Never mind the rewrites from page to script to screen, Holly Golightly remains one of storytelling's most complicated characters. A false identity, an unclear pedigree, a penchant for both solitude and the company of others, prone to great mood swings, happy to live meagerly but dreaming of and scheming for financial stability, yearning to shop at Tiffany's but content to merely browse the outer window, living alone but allowing herself to fall in love, and so gullible as to fall into terrible trouble with the law, Holly is maybe cinema's most complicated character, but never has there been such internal and external complexity played with such a simple and adorable charm as this. It's a once-in-a-generation type of character and a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a movie made almost entirely on the strength of its lead and the greatness of the performance; the movie is structurally sound but sometimes slow and meandering, but what a wonderful film nevertheless thanks entirely to Hepburn's legendary performance.
Wannabe socialite Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) lives a scattered life that's not without (albeit lofty) aims and goals but still feels as if without direction. She lives alone and out of her suitcases -- inside one of which she places her telephone, one of her means of communicating with the outside world, to "muffle the sound" -- in a sparsely-furinished apartment with her to-be-named orange cat. She's prone to late nights and long sleeps, but every Thursday morning she's tasked with visiting an imprisoned mobster at Sing Sing to deliver the "weather report," which she gladly does for a cool $100 per week. One morning, she's awakened by the apartment's buzzer. Calling is her new neighbor upstairs, a young man and struggling writer by the name of Paul Varjak (George Peppard) in need of a way into the building. They develop an almost immediate bond, but expectations are chilled when Holly believes George to be involved with an older woman known only as "2E" (Patricia Neal). However, the relationship isn's exactly what Holly believes it to be, and Paul slowly but surely works his charm and works his way into Holly's heart. The budding relationship is jeopardized when the secrets of Holly's past become revealed to Paul, and he finds himself confronted with a difficult path on the road to building a lasting relationship with his neighbor. Will fate play a part in this brewing romance, or will dirty secrets, misunderstandings, and misguided hopes and dreams be the end of it?
Breakfast at Tiffany's is very much an actor's movie. While the direction serves up a fine mix of steady shots and spiffy angular and unique perspective viewpoints, the film nevertheless achieves its success thanks to the quality of the work in front of the camera, not behind it. The picture takes on the look and feel of a high-end stage play; the sets are effectively simple and few with a couple of notable exceptions, namely the Tiffany's shopping sequence and the playful attempt at thievery inside a colorful novelty store. Otherwise, it's spartan apartments and a few handsome outdoor sequences. Every locale, with the exception of the visually busy novelty shop, serves as an effectively unobtrusive backdrop within which the action -- in this case mostly dialogue, character development, and plot advancement -- occurs. The picture is built for and around its actors; the performances elevate a charming and playful but otherwise rather mundane story into a powerhouse of a film. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard take a simple story of blossoming love and troubled pasts and transform it into a touching and immeasurably sweet cinematic experience that has to be seen to be believed. The chemistry between the leads is obvious from the first scene as the immediate attraction is felt by both the characters and the audience but in no way is it unnaturally forced. The immediate sense of comfort between Holly, Paul, and the audience is readily palpable, and it never diminishes even through the picture's revelations as they pertain to Holly's backstory and her ever-changing future.
The picture has its problems, but they're masked by the performances. Few pictures can survive such obvious telegraphing of its various plot devices and character arcs, for example the real purpose behind Holly's dimwitted acceptance of richly-paid visits to a local prison to deliver "weather reports" to a convicted mafia felon. The picture has a few genuine surprises up its sleeve, but both the plainly advertised and well-veiled alike matter not, really, in light of just how effective the movie is at focusing on its blossoming long-time-coming romance, allowing most every other development to serve merely as a structurally-important but ultimately inconsequential element on the road to the picture's expected but nevertheless completely satisfying and wonderfully heartwarming ending. It's a credit to the power of both good old fashioned romance done extraordinarily well and the timelessness of the genre. Breakfast at Tiffany's plays in hindsight like its generation's Pretty Woman, an impossibly charming and basic tale of brewing big city romance that's built on chance encounters, mostly harmless false identities, somewhat sordid but not deal-breaking pasts, and character and actor chemistry that only comes along once in a great long while. Audrey Hepburn's portrayal is a genre standard for glamour, charm, and sincerity, three key elements in creating not only a lasting character but a movie that transcends its era and will forever help define cinematic romance.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray, Video Quality
Paramount's dedication to bringing its A-list classic titles to Blu-ray in most spectacular fashion continues with the release of Breakfast at Tiffany's. This 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer is a knockout from beginning to end. The opening titles are immaculately sharp and clear, and they give way to what is often a picture-perfect image that looks nearly brand new. Print damage is virtually nonexistent, a light grain structure remains, and the result is a crisp high quality cinematic texture that's nothing short of a revelation. Clarity is outstanding throughout -- despite a few soft-looking shots -- and fine detail is often striking. While faces sometimes favor a slightly pasty and smooth texture (not to mention a slight bronze hue), general details -- clothing, wear and tear around the apartment, the definition of almost each and every item in the novelty shop -- are most impressive and natural. Colors are very well balanced and oftentimes vibrant, from the brightest blues and reds to the least inconsequential accents. Blacks are impressive and yield wonderful shadow detail. There's a very good natural depth to the image as well. This is nothing short of a stunning restoration; Breakfast at Tiffany's is what Blu-ray is all about.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Breakfast at Tiffany's features a natural and highly satisfying DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Henry Mancini's music is the real highlight here; the opening instrumental score is a sonic revelation, playing with perfect balance and delivering every note with an authentic flavor that's like hearing it again for the first time. Spacing is excellent, the surrounds carry just the right amount of the load, and it's impossible not to smile with every note that flows into the listening area. Light city ambience is handled rather well; never do such effects overwhelm the listener, but they're nicely integrated, perhaps a touch light, but certainly not unnaturally overwhelming, reinforcing the stage play feel of many scenes. The extended party sequence in chapter four is the track's most energized stretch; the sound spreads around the stage wonderfully and naturally, maximizing the sense of reality and space, sonically transporting the listener into the fray. A few heavier effects balance things out -- notably a driving rainstorm at film's end -- even if a rumbling train does lack sufficient energy. All in all, this is a high-quality listen given the aging elements. Rounded into form by centered and clear dialogue, Paramount has a winner on its hands with this lossless presentation of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Breakfast at Tiffany's offers a nice variety of substantive high definition extras, including an audio commentary track, a piece focused on Henry Mancini's iconic score, and of course a history of New York's iconic store and the picture's namesake, Tiffany's.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Why is Breakfast at Tiffany's such a wonderful movie despite several missteps? Simplicity. Here's a good old fashioned romance that comes out of a story built around one of fiction's most enigmatic and complex characters. Of course, Audrey Hepburn's performance balances that complexity by exuding such a simplistic charm that conquers the character's naivete, insecurity, and ever-changing moods, dreams, and schemes. The universality of its basic message -- that love conquers all, even money, prestige, and past mistakes -- and the embracing of simplistically good virtues such as caring and understanding, combined with a wonderful sense of humor and one of the best performances ever committed to film, make Breakfast at Tiffany's an endearing classic that's easily one of Hollywood's finest Romances. Paramount's Blu-ray release of Breakfast at Tiffany's features stellar video, great audio, and a good assortment of extras. Highly recommended.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Other Editions
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Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Breakfast at Tiffany's - September 16, 2011
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering three Blu-ray.com members the opportunity to win a Blu-ray copy of the 50th Anniversary release of Breakfast at Tiffany's, starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Patricia Neal. The Blu-ray edition streets ...
• Breakfast at Tiffany's: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (Updated) - August 16, 2011
This September, Paramount Pictures will release the 50th Anniversary Edition of Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's on Blu-ray. In her most iconic film performance, Audrey Hepburn (Charade) stars as Holly Golightly, a spirited New York socialite who befriends ...
• Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-ray Coming Up - May 9, 2011
In an early announcement to retailers, Paramount Home Entertainment have revealed that they will release Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), starring Audrey Hepburn (Charade, My Fair Lady), George Peppard (How the West Was Won, The Blue Max), and Patricia ...
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