The Washington Post

‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ turns 50 today


GALLERY: Click the image to view memorable moments from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Fifty years ago today, cinema's original manic pixie dream girl lit up the silver screen. The film adaptation of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," starring Audrey Hepburn as the fun-loving call girl Holly Golightly, was released on Oct. 5, 1961 — and it has influenced fashion and romantic comedy ever since. A remastered Blu-Ray edition of the film was recently released in honor of the anniversary.

The role was Hepburn's most iconic. She'll forever be associated with a little black dress, oversize sunglasses, a tiara and faraway look in her eyes. It’s hard to think that the role almost was given to Marilyn Monroe. But it was the gamine Hepburn who made the Givenchy-clad Holly one of the most famous cinematic images of the 20th century.

Decades later, Hepburn’s Holly Golightly still captivates — perhaps because she was so far ahead of her time. Before Carrie Bradshaw showed women what single city life and sexual freedom could be like, Golightly did it — and years before the birth control pill was made accessible. She didn’t have much money, but she could dress like a million bucks. She was guarded with her emotions, because she valued her freedom over everything else. The fact that she is also a prostitute who shoplifts and consorts with mobsters is, of course, played down.

We absolve Holly Golightly of all of her sins, because she more than makes up for them with her charm and glamour. As ditzy and callous as she could be, she was a girl who just wanted to make a life for herself in the city and to fall in love, just like women all across America. In the book “Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Modern Woman,” Sam Wasson writes:

“Audrey’s Holly showed that glamour was available to anyone, no matter what their age, sex life, or social standing. Grace Kelly’s look was safe, Doris Day’s was undesireable, and Elizabeth Taylor’s — unless you had that body — unattainable, but in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ Audrey’s was democratic.”

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.


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