Hold the Kleenex, There’s a Different Way To Read This Film.


Just watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Of course, I’ve watched it before, but I always enjoy it, right up to the last three minutes, which is an awful awful, tacked on, sentimental, Hollywood ending.


And of course, that wasn’t the only rewrite. Truman Capote’s novel was rewritten, partially by him, to make it a story of an odd couple, a gigolo and a hooker. Originally, the narrator was one pair of eyes, and Holly Golightly’s story was one of several. I said Paul and Holly were an odd couple in the film. They were odd because in real life, had their relationship worked on any level it would have ended in disaster. I actually knew someone who was like Holly. In fact, I think that she modelled herself on “Holly Golightly: Travelling” as the fictional woman styled herself. The real life ‘Holly’ called herself a free spirit. And she did have unrequited loves. Tragically, she died, alone, and — I guess — unloved. I suppose we have to pity such women; beautiful, graceful, intelligent, but absolutely barking mad. The film makes much more sense if one notes the gay subtext; for Truman Capote was gay, and even as George Peppard plays him, Paul Varjak’s character makes more sense as a repressed homosexual. The real tragedy that we, from our twenty-first century viewpoint can appreciate, is that a better ending would have been if Holly had helped Paul to find himself, like a loving sister that she clearly identified herself to be. Why else did she insist on calling Paul by her brother’s name, ‘Fred’? Why was it that she could lie in bed with him and feel no sexual tension? And why didn’t director Blake Edwards read the signs and follow it through to its logical conclusion. Alas, this was Hollywood in 1961. William Wilder’s far superior film, The Children’s Hour, which also starred Audrey Hepburn and which was released in the same year had the emotional depth and maturity to tackle such issues and its director may well have given Truman Capote a rewrite worthy of him. But of course, it wouldn’t have had the tear-fest ending. And I suppose that both Capote and Edwards knew which side their bread was buttered.

About Zoe Nightingale

I am a writer of short stories, novels, poetry and non fiction.
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