The film Breakfast at Tiffany’s has captivated romantics since it was first shown in cinemas in 1961. The American Rom-Com classic directed by Blake Edward has stood the test of time. It was screened at the Duke of York’s Picture house on Sunday 10th February as part of the cinema’s Vintage Sunday showings. I was immediately attracted to this series of screenings of old-school classics, being an old-school cinema fanatic myself, I have always nostalgically longed to have been able to see movie classics when they were first shown in theatres; to experience that buzz. Would Duke of York’s showing of the film evoke the same magic I imagined if I were to have seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961? I was intrigued to observe what type of audience this showing attracted midday on a grey Sunday and how Breakfast at Tiffany’s would resonate and sit with a modern-day audience?
Watching the ever-iconic opening scene on the big screen certainly evoked delight across the audience. Holly Golighty, the protagonist, eating her croissant from a brown paper bag and slurping on coffee outside of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue to the instrumental of Moon River never tires. Those pearls. That black dress. The notion of having breakfast outside the most famous jewellery store having not slept yet from the night before; the word ‘style’ is most fitting. Audrey Hepburn stars in the film as Golighty and George Peppard plays Paul Varjak or “Fred Baby.” Golighty is a naïve, eccentric and happy-go-lucky socialite. She is a “phoney” but a “real one” and as viewers we all fall into her fantasy world with her. Golighty is perhaps Hepburn’s most memorable and identifiable roles. According to Gerald Clarke, Truman Capote’s biographer, the author who wrote the novella the film is loosely based on, never liked the representation of Golighty, deeming it the film a ‘Valentine” to free-spirited women. However, the film and book share Golighty’s sentiment that a place like Tiffany’s will solve the “mean reds”, when you’re feeling scared and confused. The film induces the same feeling as going to Tiffany’s. There was a sense that everyone left the cinema uplifted.
The film is one of Manhattan opulence, funny colloquialisms and enchanting characters. For me, it is the characters that make this film so charming to audiences, even today. The now all too familiar Hollywood-Manhattan characters make this film extremely funny from Mr. Yunioshi, the angry neighbour to Sally Tomato, the crook at Sing Sing Prison. Humour is integral to the film, a kind of humour that hasn’t been lost through the passage of time. Ironic, relatable with a touch of slapstick. The score by Henry Mancini plays a huge part of the film’s reception today, lifting its romance, comedy and drama. It does not feel outdated, only reminiscent of mid-20th century cinema. It is timeless. That is the very word to describe both Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Duke of York’s: Timeless.
There is no better place to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s than at the Duke of York’s. The plush rouged velvet seats, gold- accented decoration and heavy curtain that opens up to the cinema screen plays to the sense of nostalgic glamour. Going to Vintage Sundays, is a romantic thing to do. Not solely because this viewing fell close to Valentine’s day, but because it feels perfectly sentimental and, I surmise, it did in fact appeal to the to the ‘free-spirted’ viewer, alone, with friends, family or someone special. Duke of York’s have successfully selected films that continue to capture us today.
The answer to who was in the audience? Everyone and anyone. A girl no more than 8 had visited the cinema on her own to a group of gaggling sixty-going-on sixteen-year olds, men and women. I guess everyone has a bit of Golighty in them. If you’re stuck for a weekend activity, I highly recommend a Vintage Sunday. There is nothing better than collectively sharing timeless films in such a space. A true treat; just like the feeling of going to Tiffany’s.
Image source: IMDB