“The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there” Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
There is lots about this movie that I love and I am very glad George Axelrod changed so much of Capote’s original novella – which was altogether a rather more real and depressing affair. Having said that, I can see why Capote may have felt betrayed by Paramount, particularly since he really didn’t envision Hepburn as his Golightly . He has always said he wanted Marilyn, that when he wrote the character of Holly it was a vision of Marilyn that danced in his head. Two more dissimilar people would be hard to find, and it would have been a very different picture with Marilyn. One that would have probably reflected the original more accurately, but one that would have been far less sweet and fluffy.
For Hepburn it became her most defining, most memorable role, and the iconic shot of her standing in front of Tiffany’s having her breakfast on the go perhaps one of the most recognizable movie shots of all times. BatT’s did heaps for the LBD, cigarette holders , rows upon rows of pearls and big high chignons. And big wide brimmed hats and male escorts. And gosh George Peppard was so……young and light years away from “Hannibal” and the The A-Team. And of course we can’t forget”Moon River”.
Okay so there is lots to love but there is also the whole Mickey Rooney cringe-worthy Mr Yuniyoshi. It offends on so many levels that I feel sorry for him, and I know he has had to defend himself on more than one occasion, and in all truth it was probably more a sign of the time, and ignorance ,than any deep seated bias. Nonetheless it is bloody awful and blights what is other wise a perfectly acceptable movie about call girls, boy toys and Italian mobsters.
While on a serious level I love the whole bit about “The mean reds” it is another of her lines I want to draw attention to today. The bit about how wonderful it all feels once inside a place like Tiffany’s, abut how nothing ever bad could happen to you once there. Golightly knew what she was talking about, and recently in a very high luxury department store my sister, not a BatT’s fan, expressed the exact same sentiment. And I agreed. Yes, there is something about being in these environments that can make you feel safe, protected from the harsh unpleasantness of life.
And you don’t even have to spend any money to benefit from the exposure. Although when you do there is something rather magical in such affairs, which I know is pure business, and someone has spent a lot of time and money on creating this ‘magic’ , it still makes you feel special. Recently I made a purchase in this store- nothing too dramatic but the way the transaction was performed was entrancing. I then mad a similar purchase in a different store, and although in both instances I was forking over my hard earned money, the latter left me feeling empty, whilst the former somehow managed to make me forget that this was my money and instead I was participating in something that was something unique, a privilege almost! Yeah I know- can you spell sucker?, but it doesn’t matter. In each instance I wanted an item and I received said item after an exchange of money. And I didn’t pay extra for completing the transaction in the luxury store so where’s the harm?
Purchases aside, you can still feel content in these places simply because of what is around you. Is it a confidence thing? The assurance and certainty money affords? T he opulence? The scent of money? Clever marketing and professional interior designers?
What it is, possible all of the above, it doesn’t matter. The point is it is extremely pleasurable to step inside and feel a wave of quietness wash over you. To feel , albeit briefly, as though enveloped in cotton wool. Safe.