Monday, July 19, 2010

"It's useful being top banana in the shock department..."

I spent the first half of last Saturday night in a black dress and pearls. Since I am one of the world's biggest slobs when it comes to dressing up, it takes something special to make me stick on a pair of heels, let alone pearls. Something like Breakfast at Tiffany's on the big screen. With champagne and canapes!

Nearly 50 years on, Blake Edward's sparkling comedy is as fresh as ever. Yes, Holly Golightly's call-girl activities are referred to coyly as "trips to the powder room". George Axelrod excised Truman Capote's dykes, whores and major drug references from his screenplay. But we still have Holly's 50 dollar gentlemen, a male gigolo and an impromptu house party that still looks like the best night ever.

Holly may be broke, existing on tips and the kindness of gangsters, but she has the most mouthwatering screen wardrobe ever created. Every pearl-clad girl in the cinema practically chewed their fists with envy when Holly paraded across the screen in the famous black Givenchy gown. Holly has a line of suitors hanging on her every word, among them devoted, if dumb, handsome neighbor (George Peppard in his only rom-com part).

My favourite character is irascible Hollywood agent O.J. Berman (She's a phony, but she's a real phony...."). But this is a film where even bit parts have great lines - witness the scene in Tiffany's where a salesman finds himself agreeing to engrave a Crackerjack ring. Or Doc Golightly's summing up of Holly, "Real talky, like a jaybird. Better than the radio".

The only sour note is Mickey Rooney's appalling comedy Japanese neighbour. But even this can't ruin a movie where the dialogue zings along, making you laugh one minute, ripping your heart out the next. I challenge anyone to stay dry-eyed during the final scene with the cat, in the rain...

Congratulations to the fabulous Fernanda for organising the whole thing, including the party afterwards. If only every Saturday night out was as chic!

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