The Blake Edwards film that made Audrey Hepburn an icon sweetens many aspects of the Truman Capote novel on which it is based
This October marks the 60th anniversary of the US premiere of ‘Breakfast at Diamonds’, the Blake Edwards film based on the famous novel by Truman Capote, which contained different autobiographical aspects. As is known, the film starred Audrey Hepburn (whose image smoking with a long mouthpiece became an icon that went around the world and that still lasts), George Peppard and Patricia Neal, and won the Oscars for best song. (‘Moon River’) and the best soundtrack. In the United States it was released on October 5, 61, but in Spain it did so two years later.
The film portrays the glamorous and nocturnal life of the New York society of the early 60s, through two misfits and trapped by the fake bustle of the Big Apple: Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is a girl with an apparently happy life but with sad soul, that after much fruitless search will end up finding love where it is least expected, on its own staircase. Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a single book writer seeking success that never comes, lives in the same building as Holly, although he hardly knows the crazy girl downstairs, the one with the melancholy guitar, the one who has a sleepy breakfast. in front of the window of the luxurious Tiffanys jewelry store after long nights on the streets of Manhattan looking for love from party to party.
This plot contains notable differences with Capote’s novel, which was not set in the 1960s but in the early 1940s. Capote disliked many aspects of the film, beginning with Audrey Hepburn, since the writer wanted to be the protagonist to her friend Marilyn Monroe. In addition, the film downplayed the novel’s powerful sexual content, which at that time the Hays code would not have allowed to be shown on screen.
Another fundamental difference between film and novel is in its outcome: bitter in the book and happy in the cinema. In fact, two endings were written for the film, one that ended badly and the other well. The happy ending was chosen and Capote did not like it at all since the opposite happened in his book: Holly, the protagonist, abandons the cat and does not return to look for it, in addition, she goes to South America in search of someone with money to support her. In fact the literary character was not so naive and yes much more procacious – and even bisexual – than as shown in the film. Of course, Hollywood chose the happy ending, which greatly displeased Truman Capote, who, having sold the film rights to his book, could do nothing to prevent this final outcome. In addition, the film greatly enhanced the tone of a romantic comedy full of humor and romance, which was not liked by the writer whose book was much cruder.
George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Diamonds’.
The film’s famous theme song, “Moon River,” which Audrey Hepburn sang sitting at a window with freshly washed hair, was about to be dropped: Edwards was very hesitant to include it. Of ‘Moon River’ composed by Henry Mancini, which won the Oscar, 148 versions were recorded and the one performed by Audrey Hepburn was not included in the film at first, although it was added, given the importance of the song, many more years later, in a special reissue of the film, to which up to nine extra recordings were added, including four more versions of ‘Moon River’.