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Blu-ray Review Breakfast At Tiffany's 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Timothy E

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 Is it better to marry for money, or for love, if one must choose between one or the other? That is the theme at the core of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the celebrated 1961 film based on the novella by Truman Capote. Holly Golightly(Audrey Hepburn) is a party girl looking for the right millionaire to marry in Manhattan. Paul Varjak(George Peppard) is a struggling writer and a kept man who moves into the apartment above Holly’s and falls into her sphere of influence. Capote’s novella about New York in the 1940s was updated to the early 1960s and adapted for the screen by George Axelrod(The Seven Year Itch). Capote wanted Holly to be played by Marilyn Monroe, which is a fascinating thought, although it may be impossible now to conceive anyone other than Audrey Hepburn in this role.   


BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

50th Anniversary Edition BLU-RAY


Studio: Paramount

Year: 1961

Rated: Not Rated

Film Length:1 hour, 55 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Mono Dolby Digital, French Mono Dolby Digital, Spanish Mono Dolby Digital, and Portuguese Mono Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese


Release Date: September 20, 2011


The Movie


Holly Golightly(Audrey Hepburn) is a party girl and a free spirit capable of giving her body but not her heart. Holly meets Paul Varjak(George Peppard), a struggling writer who has also sacrificed true love for the sake of expediency. Paul’s "sponsor" is 2-E(Patricia Neal), an older woman who cohabits with Paul whenever her husband is out of town. The cast also includes Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney.  Cartoon fans should watch for the brief appearance by Alan Reed, who plays gangster Sally Tomato.  Reed had also played a gangster in Blake Edwards' He Laughed Last and is better known today as the original voice of Fred Flintstone.


Breakfast At Tiffany’s was directed by Blake Edwards(The Pink Panther, S.O.B., Victor/Victoria) and the film contains a number of Edwards’ directorial flourishes, the most obvious influence apparent in the slapstick and farcical aspects of the celebrated party scene. Almost anyone watching the cocktail party at Holly’s apartment would want to go to that party, and we do get to attend the party vicariously by watching the film. Edwards expanded on the slapstick in this scene when he wrote and directed The Party just 7 years after Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Thankfully, Peter Sellers’ Hrundi V. Bakshi in The Party is not nearly as offensive and grating as Mickey Rooney’s depiction of Japanese American landlord Mr. Yunioshi.


Paramount Pictures deserves credit for its effort to address the elephant in the room. The studio could have snipped Rooney’s scenes out of the picture, or digitally altered his appearance and dialogue, and it would be almost the same film, albeit a censored version. Another studio might have done just this, or simply released the film uncensored in every other part of the world except North America. Instead, Paramount has taken the high road by addressing the historical context of racial stereotypes by creating the featurette Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective and given us the film complete and uncensored. Treatment of this issue as an educational opportunity helps to ensure that history will be remembered without being repeated. Rooney’s overly broad portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi is the only real misstep in the film.


Would Breakfast At Tiffany’s be so well remembered without the Academy Award winning song Moon River? Johnny Mercer wrote the words and Henry Mancini composed the music for Moon River. Mancini was a frequent collaborator with Blake Edwards and created the music for most of Edwards’ films. Mancini had previously created the jazzy theme song for Edwards’ Peter Gunn TV series (and later theatrical film Gunn) and went on to create the memorable Pink Panther theme song, among other highlights in a career that included Orson Welles' Touch of Evil and even the theme song to the NBC Mystery Movie. Mancini also won the Academy Award for Best Music Score for Breakfast At Tiffany’s.


Video


Breakfast At Tiffany’s appears on Blu-Ray in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The various DVD releases of this film have all been severely wanting for video quality. Thankfully, Ron Smith participated in the restoration of this film for this release and the results are astonishing. Even the opening credits have exquisite video presentation, which is remarkable when you consider that the film stock in credit sequences is typically several generations more removed from the original negative than the rest of the film, and the credits usually suffer as a result. Colors are warm and vibrant without being garish. Film grain is appropriately present without obscuring contrast and fine detail. This is reference quality for a 1961 film.


Audio


English speakers may choose between the original restored English mono in Dolby Digital or the English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. My preference was the DTS-HD Master Audio which conveyed Henry Mancini’s film score with noticeably richer tones. Both options have crystal clear audio with no apparent defects in audibility of dialogue, music, or sound effects.


Special Features


Breakfast At Tiffany’s has been released in a multitude of various DVD versions, which ran the gamut from no special features at all to many choices. Thankfully, all of the previous special features of the various editions have been ported over to this release even though no new special features were created specifically for this Blu-ray.


Thankfully, the special features created in 2008 for the 2009 DVD were created in high definition and are included in HD for the first time in this release. The remaining special features were included on the 2009 disc but were created originally in 2005. The special features in high definition are designated with "HD."


The special features include all of the following:


Commentary by Producer Richard Shepherd: Shepherd co-produced this film with Martin Jurow and produced this commentary in 2005.


A Golightly Gathering(HD)(20:26): Surviving cast members featured in the celebrated party scene were reunited in 2008 and interviewed for posterity at a new party that is noticeably tamer than the party in the film.


Henry Mancini: More Than Music(HD)(20:57): Mancini’s family members are interviewed regarding the man behind the music.


Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective(HD)(17:30): Actors and representatives from the Media Action Network For Asian Americans provide commentary about the stereotypes in this film, as well as others like The World of Suzy Wong, and discuss the historical context of Asian stereotypes and discrimination.


The Making Of A Classic(16:13): Cast and crew, including director Edwards, were interviewed in 2005 for this featurette.


It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon(8:15): People who knew and admired Ms. Hepburn are interviewed regarding her regal sense of style.


Behind The Gates: The Tour(5:49): Paramount page Heather Weingart offers a brief look behind the scenes at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.


Brilliance In A Blue Box(6:03): John Loring, design director for Tiffany & Co. provides a history of the New York institution.


Audrey’s Letter To Tiffany(2:25): Audrey Hepburn graciously agreed to write the foreword to a written history of Tiffany & Co. published on its 150th anniversary in 1987. John Loring reads the text of that letter.


Original Theatrical Trailer(2:37): This trailer looks great although not restored to the same full extent as the film, which makes one appreciate the quality of restoration on this BD.


Photo Galleries: There are 3 categories, The Movie, Production, and Publicity, which may be viewed using the left and right selection arrows on your remote control.


Conclusion


Breakfast At Tiffany’s is an entertaining, episodic, romantic film that stands the test of time because its themes are universal and relevant to every generation. The acting, production, and film score include contributions from some of the greatest talents in film history. The video and audio presentations are as close to perfection as one could reasonably hope. Seeing this film in high definition makes one appreciate the large number of exterior shots that were filmed on location in New York City of 50 years past. The special features are fairly comprehensive, especially given that most of the principals are no longer around to provide new material for this 50th Anniversary Edition. Breakfast At Tiffany’s on Blu-ray is recommended for fans of romantic films and fans of just films in general. 

 
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dpippel

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Thanks for your review Tim. Can't wait for this to arrive on Tuesday! It's my favorite Hepburn film.
 
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Cameron Yee

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I almost picked this up with a Reward Zone voucher to help, but I decided to wait until the price comes down a little. Or get both it and My Fair Lady in a couple months.
 

Matt Hough

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I've had it for awhile, but I just got around to watching Breakfast at Tiffany's on Blu-ray tonight. Thank you, Paramount, for another SUPER Blu-ray presentation.


Finally, after all these years and so many DVD releases, we have a home video version of this wonderful film worthy of its quality! The color is at long last right: rich, wonderfully saturated, and very appealing. It's sharp where one expects it to be and glamorously diffused in close-ups of Miss Hepburn. Sound was wonderful (I listened to the DTS-HD MA track), too, and I just couldn't be more pleased.
 
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usrunnr

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At the time of its issue, some critics thought Audrey Hepburn was miscast, but, in truth,
there are classy call girls out there. How could she be miscast?
 

Will Krupp

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At the time of its issue, some critics thought Audrey Hepburn was miscast, but, in truth,
there are classy call girls out there. How could she be miscast?

It's not that those who are critical (myself included) don't think she could be a classy call girl. Where it stretches credulity is the idea that she's a (one-time) backwoods hoyden with an Anglo-Dutch accent.
 

Colin Jacobson

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It's not that those who are critical (myself included) don't think she could be a classy call girl. Where it stretches credulity is the idea that she's a (one-time) backwoods hoyden with an Anglo-Dutch accent.

Exactly! From my review:

" Elsewhere on this disc, we hear that Marilyn Monroe was considered for the role of Holly. While I don’t quite get the Cult of Marilyn, I think she would have been much more appropriate for this part. I could easily see Marilyn as a flighty socialite who uses men for money. To put Hepburn in this role seems like a stretch to me, especially when we’re asked to buy the regal Audrey as a native Texan. The movie attempts to explain how she lost the accent, but it’s too much for me to swallow. "
 

Thomas T

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Audrey was meant to be Holly, no other actress would have made Holly Golightly who she still is today; a style icon in every sense of the word.

I adore Audrey Hepburn and I love Breakfast At Tiffany's but yes, Hepburn is miscast. She is not the teen aged Texas country girl turned society slut of the novel. Truman Capote himself thought Hepburn was miscast. She was not his Holly and he lobbied for Marilyn Monroe to get the part. The movie added the romance between Hepburn and Peppard when there is no romance in the novel. Not only are they platonic but he is bi-sexual. In 1961, Shirley MacLaine would have been the ideal Holly Golightly, much more believable as a country girl turned city slicker. This is one film that definitely needs to be remade and this time, stick to the Truman Capote book.
 

darkrock17

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I adore Audrey Hepburn and I love Breakfast At Tiffany's but yes, Hepburn is miscast. She is not the teen aged Texas country girl turned society slut of the novel. Truman Capote himself thought Hepburn was miscast. She was not his Holly and he lobbied for Marilyn Monroe to get the part. The movie added the romance between Hepburn and Peppard when there is no romance in the novel. Not only are they platonic but he is bi-sexual. In 1961, Shirley MacLaine would have been the ideal Holly Golightly, much more believable as a country girl turned city slicker. This is one film that definitely needs to be remade and this time, stick to the Truman Capote book.

Marylin in 1960 could not of played a teenager, the year before in Some Like It Hot; Sugar Kane was in her early, early 20's were as Monroe was 32.

Breakfast At Tiffany's wouldn't be the classic it is today without George Axelrod's screenplay, Blaked Edwards directing, and Hepburn as Holly.

This film will NEVER be remade, by doing so you'd be setting yourself up for a big time bomb.
 

PMF

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This is one film that definitely needs to be remade and this time, stick to the Truman Capote book.
A remake sticking to the source material? This idea makes perfect sense. Some remakes of classic title begs the question of why; but yes, this one is do-able.

Perhaps the Coen Brothers? They could honor the book, as they had with “True Grit”.

Meanwhile, I love the work of Mickey Rooney; except in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I found his appearance to be jarring even before the age of awareness.

Remake? Yes.
BUT, “Moon River” stays.
 
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darkrock17

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A remake sticking to the source material? This idea makes perfect sense. Some remakes of classic title beg the question of why; but yes, this one is do-able.

Perhaps the Coen Brothers? They could honor the book, as they had with “True Grit”.

Meanwhile, I love the work of Mickey Rooney; except in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I found his appearance to be jarring even before the age of awareness.

Remake? Yes. BUT, “Moon River” stays.

The original novella is boring, if George Axlerod and Blake Edwards had done a faithful adaptation, it would now be a forgotten picture and Audrey wouldn't most likely go on to do Charade, My Fair Lady, or Wait Until Dark.
 

PMF

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The original novella is boring, if George Axlerod and Blake Edwards had done a faithful adaptation, it would now be a forgotten picture and Audrey wouldn't most likely go on to do Charade, My Fair Lady, or Wait Until Dark.
Well, maybe you could meet me halfway. How about a re-shoot of the Mickey Rooney scenes with a new actor and a new edit; as had been done by Ridley Scott with “All the Money in the World”?
 
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darkrock17

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Well, maybe you could meet me halfway. How about a re-shoot of the Mickey Rooney scenes with a new actor and a new edit?:thumbs-up-smiley:

No, leave the original 1961 classic as it is. In 2013, Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke stared as Holly in a stage version that barely ran a month before closing.
 
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Will Krupp

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A remake sticking to the source material? This idea makes perfect sense. Some remakes of classic title begs the question of why; but yes, this one is do-able.

I try never to thread-crap, but (even discounting the Mickey Rooney scenes) I have always strongly disliked BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. I've always seen it as a frankly unpleasant story about users and whores that the studio attempted to pretty up into a family friendly rom-com, which couldn't be more antithetical to Capote's point if it tried. It's an uncomfortable marriage that has never worked for me and I'd welcome a period remake that stuck to the spirit of the novella. I think it would be a fun idea. It probably wouldn't work though, as so many people are inexplicably in love with the movie as it is.

Marylin in 1960 could not of played a teenager, the year before in Some Like It Hot; Sugar Kane was in her early, early 20's were as Monroe was 32.

Just as a point of reference, Audrey Hepburn was only three years younger than Marilyn Monroe and was 31 when she shot BREAKFAST.
 

JohnMor

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Well, maybe you could meet me halfway. How about a re-shoot of the Mickey Rooney scenes with a new actor and a new edit; as had been done by Ridley Scott and “All the Money in the World”?

This really could and should be done. Redo those few scenes and shots with a Japanese actor. And these days they could do so seamlessly. Especially considering that Yunioshi doesn’t often appear in the same frame with other actors. And Edwards is on the record as having regretted the casting. Not that it would be required, but I’m sure Julie Andrews would give her blessing to such an undertaking if it meant Blake Edwards’ otherwise wonderful film could enjoy extended life in our more pc era and beyond.

Of course, it won’t actually be done because there’s no real pressing economic incentive to do so like there was with a nearly completed film about to face release, as was the case with ATMITW. Sigh.
 
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darkrock17

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This really could and should be done. Redo those few scenes and shots with a Japanese actor. And these days they could do so seamlessly. Especially considering that Yunioshi doesn’t often appear in the same frame with other actors. And Edwards is on the record as having regretted the casting. Not that it would be required, but I’m sure Julie Andrews would give her blessing to such an undertaking if it meant Blake Edwards’ otherwise wonderful film could enjoy extended life in our more pc era and beyond.

Of course, it won’t actually be done because there’s no real pressing economic incentive to do so like there was with a nearly completed film about to face release, as was the case with ATMITW. Sigh.

Mr. Yunioshi isn't important to the film, he's more of an extended cameo to the running gag of Holly having to always buzz him to let her in the building since she's always losing her keys.
 

TravisR

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This really could and should be done. Redo those few scenes and shots with a Japanese actor. And these days they could do so seamlessly. Especially considering that Yunioshi doesn’t often appear in the same frame with other actors. And Edwards is on the record as having regretted the casting. Not that it would be required, but I’m sure Julie Andrews would give her blessing to such an undertaking if it meant Blake Edwards’ otherwise wonderful film could enjoy extended life in our more pc era and beyond.
I'll sidestep the entire to tinker or not debate but yeah, not editing it guarantees that the movie will slowly fall out of the public eye and not be seen by younger movie fans.
 

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