Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book review - "Breakfast at Tiffany's: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion" by Sarah Gristwood (2011)

I often shy away from coffee table books about movies and worried this one would simply be an excuse for lots of pictures of Audrey Hepburn looking stylish, and to be sure there are plenty of those but Gristwood has also done her scholarship on other areas: she looks at the novella, the script, the producers, the production, etc. Its a solid, thorough look at the movie.

I was particularly interested in the stuff about the screenplay. Aussie expat Sumner Locke Elliot was hired to do the first treatment, to save money as much as anything, but the producers didn't like his work so hired George Axelrod who distorted things but made it work as a rom com - playing down Holly's profession for censorship reasons but keeping things sexy by making the writer a kept man, and thus also providing a reason for the two leads to be kept apart.

Other behind the scenes stories aren't so surprising, but I still enjoyed reading about them: Hepburn was a dear (though in a controlling relationship with Mel Ferrer who would "pillow talk direct"), George Peppard was a pain, the supporting cast were great, Blake Edwards delighted in doing the party scene especially, the role Huckleberry Finn played in writing the lyrics. I would have liked to have read more about the disastrous musical version but that's probably being a little unfair.

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