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Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

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Patricia Neal

As it turns out, although Mrs. Failenson (Patricia Neal) did decorate Paul's apartment, she is not a decorator by profession.  Instead, she is his benefactress, and Paul is her young male protégé. Holly discovers this when she hides on the fire escape outside Paul's window in an effort to evade a drunken "rat" who has become a little too adamant in his attentions and is tearing up her apartment.

Holly and Fred talk.

(Knock knock. Click here a .WAV file.)

Fred (as she continues to call him) and Holly talk about their common vocation.  Fred tells her about his "angry, sensitive, intensely felt and promising" book, Nine Lives, and Holly observes there is no ribbon in his typewriter.  Holly tells Fred about her brother Fred who is in the army, and how she hopes to save enough money to buy a ranch in Mexico where they can live together and raise horses.

More Memorable Quotations:

  • "I suppose you think I'm very brazen or très fou or something." --Holly.
    "I don't think you're any fou-er than anyone else." --Fred (Paul).
  • "It's useful being top banana in the shock department." --Holly.
  • "I'm a writer, I guess." --Fred (Paul).
  • "She's a real phony.  You know why?  Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes." --O.J. Berman.
  • "You know what's going to happen to you?  I'm going to march you over to the zoo and feed you to the yak... just as soon as I finish this drink." --Mag Wildwood.
  • "Son, I need a friend." --Doc Golightly.
  • "It's a mistake you always made, Doc -- trying to love a wild thing... You mustn't give your heart to a wild thing" --Holly.
  • "Please, Doc.  Please understand.  I love you, but I'm just not Lulamae any more.  I'm not... (Doc leaves.)  You know the terrible thing, Fred darling?  I am still Lulamae.  Fourteen years old, stealing turkey eggs and running through a briar patch.  'Cept now I call it 'having the mean reds.'" --Holly.
Holly and Rusty dance.

After supplying Paul with his much-needed typewriter ribbon, Holly invites him to a party at her place -- and what a party!  Guests of all types, shapes and sizes dance, drink, talk and genuinely amuse themselves.  Paul chats with O.J. Berman (Martin Balsam) about Holly's aborted film career, while Holly spends her time romancing Rusty Trawler (Stanley Adams, left), "the ninth richest man in America under fifty."

Mag passes out.

Among the party crashers is Mag Wildwood, "a model, believe it or not, and a thumping bore."  Mag has a little too much to drink and gets upset with Holly for lavishing so much attention on Rusty, her date for the evening.  Just as she's about to make a scene however, she passes out.  "Timber!"  Mr. Yunioshi (Mickey Rooney), Holly's landlord, doesn't appreciate all the noise however, and the police soon arrive to break up the party.

Fred hears singing.

After a trip to Sing Sing with Holly to visit that "darling old man" Sally Tomato, Paul returns home and begins to write a story called "My Friend" based on his experiences with Holly.  His typing is interrupted however, by Holly playing the guitar and singing on the fire escape:

"Moon River" sung by Audrey (a .MP3 file courtesy Paramount). (For help opening the above file, visit the plug-ins page.)

"Moon River," written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, appears throughout BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, from the opening titles to the final scene, in various arrangements.  And although it earned its authors an Academy Award for Best Original Song of 1961, it diverges from what Capote wrote.  In the book, Holly sings a quite different song: Don't wanna sleep.  Don't wanna die.  Just wanna go a-travelin' through the pastures of the sky.  (Read the lyrics to "Moon River".)

Audrey singing "Moon River"

Because Audrey's voice was dubbed for MY FAIR LADY (1964), and because Andy Williams' recording of "Moon River" became a hit song, it is often speculated that Audrey did not sing in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.  This is not the case however.  Not only did Audrey do her own singing for the film, she also learned to play the appropriate chords on the guitar, so that, although the song was pre-recorded (standard practice for musical numbers in films at that time), she could at least strum the guitar accurately while lip-syncing to the playback.  (For more on this practice, see Tech Talk: Recording Musical Numbers for Films.)


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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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