Breakfast at Tiffany's

DVD

I had a streak there for a few years as nearly woman I was interested in had a poster of Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” hanging in her apartment or house. For a while I thought all women in their 20s had such a poster, that they must be issued them, or that maybe I had a type, and that type happened to be those likely to own Audrey Hepburn posters. But even after seeing that iconic image so many times, I didd not seen the movie until recently.

Loosely based on the Truman Capote novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is Hepburn’s most iconic role. Her performance is light and ephemeral yet steals every scene she is in, as her Holly Golightly recreates herself in the big city, going from party to party and fending off the wealthy males pounding on her door late at night.

She becomes friends with her new neighbor Paul Varjak, a struggling writer who becomes enamored with Holly, and the two strike up a friendship that begins to have amorous feelings. But Holly is determined to marry someone rich, originally pursuing wealthy American heir Rusty Trawler, but then going after the Brazilian Jose, who has second thoughts about Holly after she becomes embroiled with the police because of her relationship with a mobster in Sing Sing. 

The movie is a fun and stylish romantic comedy that really only suffers from Mickey Rooney’s cringe-worthy and racist portrayal of Holly’s Japanese-American landlord Mr. Yunioshi. Fast forward through those parts, and what remains is a charming story about a young woman from Tulip, Texas, using questionable means to get ahead. I guess I understand what prompted all those posters now.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) Directed by Blake Edwards, starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen. Not Rated, 115 minutes.  

— Don Iler

BOOK

What a well-crafted book “Gentlemen and Players” is, carefully plotted to have the maximum impact not only at the end, but all the way through. It’s no wonder the sections are labeled like parts of a chess match — passant, check, mate — and the character have names such as Knight and Bishop.

The two narrators, Keane/Pinchbeck/Snyde and Straightley, alternate chapters as they would take turns at the board. And slowly the tension builds ...

Straightley is a long-tenured teacher at a high class boys’ school in England, St. Oswald’s. He’s known as much for his strictness as for his Latin lessons. But his students also love him, and he loves them, almost as deeply as he loves the school’s rituals and the institution itself.

Readers will appreciate Straightley, who gives us a window not just on his school, but on the frustrations of being one of the “old guard” as young upstarts trample on the traditions he holds dear.

They’ll feel for the other narrator, as well; the perpetual outsider yearning to be welcomed.

This narrator, a newly hired teacher, uses the pseudonym “Keane” as a current surname. With the birthname Snyde, Keane grew up the child of the St. Oswald porter, a sort of handyman/groundskeeper — a position considered lower in status than that of the school’s other staff and students.

Bookish and smaller than boys his age, Snyde is tormented by bullies at the public school. But after sneaking onto the grounds of St. Oswald’s and donning, he becomes Pinchbeck — and fits right in. Pinchbeck is accepted as one of the boys as he takes part in classes, joins intramural competitions and makes his first friend.

Pinchbeck loves St. Oswald’s for all it represents — and hates it, as well, because he can never be a real part of it. And so Pinchbeck, now Keane, returns as an adult to destroy the thing Snyde could never have.

“To be seen is all I ever wanted; to be more than just a fleeting glimpse, a 12th man in this game,” Keane writes. “Even an invisible man may cast a shadow, but my shadow, grown long over the years, has been lost among the dark corridors of St. Oswald’s.”

“Gentlemen and Players,” by Joanne Harris, 2006, Harper Perennial.

— Starla Pointer 

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