DVD Review HTF Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's Anniversary Edition (Highly Recommended)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by PatWahlquist, Feb 10, 2006.

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  1. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG]
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s Anniversary Edition

    Studio: Paramount Home Video
    Year: 1961 (2006 Release)
    Rated: Not Rated
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 enhanced for 16x9 displays
    Audio: English DD 5.1; English restored mono; French mono
    Subtitles: English
    Time: 114 minutes
    Disc Format: DVD-9
    Case Style: Keep case in slip cover

    In one of the most memorable uses of music to open a movie, “Moon River” introduces us to Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly. While the song lazily plays in the background, Holly saunters down the quiet early morning New York street and window shops at Tiffany & Co. Holly longs for the simplicity the famed department store provides. Her early morning walk comes at the end of a presumably very late night out with various gentleman, one of which she may or may not have left when she went to the powder room. This fella waits outside her apartment until she comes home just so he can try to get another date with her. She continues to throw around her charm like an expert marksman, even soothing the angry Mr. Yunioshi, played by Mickey Rooney.

    Holly becomes interested in her new neighbor, Paul Varjak (George Peppard). Paul comments on the sparseness of the apartment, as if she just moved in. Holly tells him she’s been there a year, but obviously the trouble of unpacking and decorating elude her. She cannot even name her cat: she believes she doesn’t have the right to give him one since they don’t belong to one another. She goes on to explain to Paul (who she refers to as “Fred” as he reminds her of her dear brother) how everything is right at Tiffany’s and it calms her down right away. The calm and the proud that is Tiffany & Co. is her ideal of a perfect life.

    Paul and Holly’s relationship begins amidst the boozy social life of well-dressed New Yorkers. They drink and smoke with no care, and the police are just an inconvenience and a sign that it’s time to find another party. Through all of this, Holly’s flightiness is a reaction to something much deeper: she is running from her past. This past shows up in the form of her husband Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen) who tells Paul the true history of “Holly”: she is really Lula Mae, a small town southern girl with a family that awaits her return. As the past encroaches on the present, Holly looks for a better future not with the man who loves her, but with the one who has the most money. In the end, she is faced with the decision to stop running or face the consequences of her thrill a minute life style.

    I dare any man who watches this picture not to fall in some way for Audrey Hepburn or Holly Golightly. Hepuburn’s flirty casting of her eyes and lightness in her movements suggest innocence coupled with suggestiveness that attracts every man to her. She’s the greatest challenge; the unreachable prize and the man who gets her shall be something truly special. Underneath it, we can see the phoniness of Holly, how she is not only running from her responsibilities, but her own inability to commit. Holly is perfectly summed up in the line, “She’s a phony, but she’s a real phony.” I couldn’t help but see the similarities between Holly and Paris Hilton, although I don’t think either is quite the prize they seem to be. You can also see the legacy of Holly in Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw, the update for our generation (booze and cigarettes included).


    Video:
    The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 picture is accurately presented here. Flesh tones are natural and colors are vibrant and distinct. There is some minor muddiness in the background details, but foreground detail comes across quite nice. Edge enhancement is minimal, and there is some video noise. Black levels are deep and show good detail and this is especially noticeable in the black dresses worn by Holly. Overall, this is a very nice picture.

    Audio:
    You can chose between a Dolby Digital 5.1 or mono track. For this review, I listened to the mono track as it is a more accurate representation of the original presentation. As could be expected with a mono track, there isn’t much to it. It is, however, clear and free from any hiss or dirt. Voices and effects are natural with very little bass. I went back and listened to parts of the movie with the 5.1 track engaged and it proved to be a very pleasing listening experience, particularly when the music selections were present. The soundtrack stayed mostly in the fronts and expanded out for ambient effects.

    Note: I was unable to find a copy of the previous release. There are a couple posts on HTF commenting on the improvements of this new release, so please seek them out. If I am able to find a copy of the original, I will make the addition to this review.


    Bonus Material:
    Feature length commentary by Producer Richard Shepard:this is a fairly basic commentary with long stretches where Shepard says nothing. He provides some background on the actors and production, but nothing too exciting.

    The Making of a Classic (16:10 ): Richard Shepard, Blake Edwards and other cast and crew give a background of the history of the making of the picture. Interesting was how Edwards and Shepard admitted it was a mistake casting Mickey Rooney in the role of Mr. Yunioshi.

    It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon (8:13): Crewmembers and friends comment on Hepburn’s clothing, personality, physicality and style. They also emphasize how Hepburn was able to merge the clothes and the woman and how she maintained her style even during her time with Unicef.

    Brilliance in a Blue Box (6:03): some history of Tiffany & Co. department store and the Tiffany diamond. Also a discussion of what Tiffany’s place in the American landscape.

    Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany’s (2:28): Jack Loring discusses the writing of his book on the history of Tiffany & Co. and Hepburn’s contribution.

    Original Theatrical Trailer (2:38): Anamorphic, but a fairly dirty transfer.

    Conclusions:
    I can’t recommend this disc enough. Having never seen it before, I was instantly captivated by Holly’s story. We also get to witness a star-making role from Hepburn, and Paramount has done a great job on the transfer and extras. Run right out and get this one!
     
  2. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Great review! I have the new DVD and I'm very impressed with it. It's like I fell in love with the movie all over again. I guess that's what DVD is all about.

    Andy
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I love Audrey, but I could just never get into this one. Maybe the plot was too bizarre -- and Mickey Rooney's performance didn't help. I mean, I'm no PC fiend, but good lord was that offensive!

    Glad to hear it's a good disc though, as I know a lot of people really like this film. Great review!
     
  4. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    Shepard makes several comments about the casting of Rooney, and he goes so far as to say that's the only thing he would change about the picture if he could.
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I bought this blindly just because I know it's
    a "classic."

    Look forward to watching this for the first time
    over the next few weeks.
     
  6. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i bought the first edition blind and greatly looked forward to finally seeing it, after years and years of hearing it referenced.
    Mickey Rooney was the least of my problems with the film.
    10 minutes in and i couldn't stand Hepburns character. Almost every word out of the mouth of the insipid, insufferable, self delusional Holly Golightly had me grinding my teeth and digging my fingernails into the arm rests.
    AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!

    usually i won't waste both my time and my money, and if something isn't working for me, i'll walk out or shut it off and chalk it up as a loss and be wiser- but i must have been feeling really cheap that day so i stuck it out, and then something really bizarre happened in the last very few minutes of the film. I found myself really caring about her character and the ending got me. I honestly hated the first 3/4 of the journey, but at the end i was with it completely. i looked back as i was taking it out of the tray and putting it back in the case, and i couldn't get over the transformation of my attitude about the material in the span of 90 minutes or whatever. i don't recall any other movie experience like that.

    i'll be curious to hear what Ron thinks of it.
     
  7. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    I like the film but feel it does go on a bit. I see Rooney's casting as more of a sign-of-the-times thing than anything to get concerned or upset over. It would never happen now and that is a good thing.

    I'll be sticking with the original disc as there's nothing really wrong with it.
     
  8. willyTass

    willyTass Supporting Actor

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    There was something wrong with it- marred by horrible digital noise/ excessive grain

    The new transfer is much more beautiful.

    I buy IMPROVED transfers of classics as a way of rewarding studios for investing large sums of money wisely
     
  9. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    Robert Harris's thread on it also has a link to the DVD Beaver comparison.
     
  10. Marcel H.

    Marcel H. Supporting Actor

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    Just one question. Is this release uncut? I've read that there is one scene/frame missing during the strip show involving a dancer and her bra. I got this information for the German release but I can imagine that this scene is also missing on the old RC1? I hope you can enlighten me.
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Ditto.

    I've heard SO much about it, I'm really looking forward to it. I was also sold on this new edition by the DVDBeaver shots. HERE they are!
     

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