Breakfast at Tiffany's was about as far away from the book as you can get, but combine Audrey Hepburn, a cat and the recurring theme of Moon River and you have a wonderfully engaging film that still lingers today like a soft refrain. Hard to believe it was 53 years ago that this film premiered. A nasty literature teacher might assign this novel to her students and see what she gets back in the way of book reports.
As the story goes, Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe for the lead roll in the adaptation of his novella, but rather than a big blowsy blonde that would have been more in keeping with Capote's Holly Golightly, Blake Edwards went for a soft charming brunette in Hepburn. But, the biggest character makeover was the creation of Paul Varjak, played by George Peppard. In the novella, "Fred" was gay and had no love interest beyond that of "older brother" in the novel. Hollywood wasn't ready for such a character, so Edwards rebuilt this relationship in the movie, turning it into a classic romance.
Nevertheless, the film is a gem in its retelling, pulling bits and pieces from the novel and reassembling them into a wonderful movie that has captivated audiences for generations. So much so that no one has tried to remake the film, even though a director today could tell Fred's story as it is in the novel. The image of Holly Golightly has been indelibly stamped by Audrey Hepburn.
There are many memorable characters from the film, ranging from Mickey Rooney's oddball Mr. Yunioshi to Martin Balsam as O.J. Berman, who remade Holly from a country girl into a New York "socialite." We won't say call girl, which is what she was in the novel. You can't beat the party scene. It is as hip as it comes. However, it is Audrey's movie from beginning to end.
Happy Birthday, Holly!