Thursday, September 30, 2010
Breakfast at Tiffany's - The Book and the Film
My book club's next assignment is Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. The movie version with Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorite films. Its a movie I own in its dvd version and one I watch once every two years or so. It's the film I'll choose when I'm ill with the flu and I just want to curl up on the sofa during the daytime with a beautiful movie. I love it. I love Audrey and George Peppard and the whole atmosphere of the film. New York in the 1960s, the parties, Tiffany's and the crazy neighbours and suitors. Oh and the music....it's a poignant moment when Audrey sings Moon River with her guitar. I was curious how this novella would compare to the film.
I was surprised that Capote's version is different. It's not a love story and you learn that practically in the first page where the unnamed narrator (George Peppard's character) is remembering his old neighbour Holly Golightly. From the first few sentences, I already knew the book would have a different ending from the film. The narrator is a friend who was never in love with Holly. It's been hinted in reviews that he might even be gay if Capote was basing the character on himself. Certainly, there's no romantic love for Holly; fascination and friendship - yes, but that's it and it's perfectly ok. I loved the novella on it's own just as much as the film. Capote's writing is pitch perfect with not a word wasted. It flows wonderfully and it's so easy to just read this 111 page novella in one sitting. The dialogue is charming and witty and the atmosphere that was played out in the film is all there: the parties, the crazy neighbours and the suitors. The only difference is that it's New York in the 1940s. Oh and the Cat! One musn't forget the Cat who's quite an integral part of this whole book. In the end, the Cat finds a home to belong to and it's assumed that somewhere, somehow, Holly does too.
Holly is delightful but sometimes also sad. In fact, because I've read the book, I appreciate Audrey's excellent and very nuanced acting even more. She really did a fantastic job and is completely the Holly Golightly that Capote created. And though Hollywood changed the ending and made it partly a romantic movie, I think it's perfectly ok too. Both are beautiful works of art.