The Same Rainbow’s End

September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tonight’s Final Jeopardy!:

Classic Films
The first scene of this movie was shot on the first day of filming, October 2, 1960 at 5 A.M. at 727 5th Avenue at 57th Street in New York City.

A: What is Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

I own the film on DVD, and perhaps the most remarkable thing about the scene is how empty the streets are when the taxi carrying Holly Golightly pulls up. I haven’t checked my copy, but I believe there’s an interview with Blake Edwards in the extras in which he says that the lack of traffic was an uncanny stroke of luck. Edwards’ widow Julie Andrews confirmed as much at a celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary in 2011:

She said that in filming Tiffanys, [sic] Edwards said he had an amazing stroke of luck. He shot the iconic opening sequence of Hepburn staring in the window of the legendary jewelry store shortly after dawn in the hopes of getting a key scene without any traffic- a feat that would have been impossible even in 1961. Nevertheless, the minute the cameras started rolling the traffic disappeared for a couple of crucial minutes, allowing him to get the shot he needed.

I am fond of both the book and film, though they don’t belong in the same conversation. Turning Capote’s unnamed first-person narrator (we only know him as “Fred” because he reminds Holly of her deceased brother) into George Peppard’s dashing leading man, with the made-up character name Paul Varjak, shifts the focus from dreamy writerly obsession to a more standard formula of man’s pursuit of woman and his dismay at her complicated past.

She kept her promise to Mr. Yunioshi; or I assume she did not ring his bell again, for in the next days she started ringing mine, sometimes at two in the morning, three and four: she had no qualms at what hour she got me out of bed to push the buzzer that released the downstairs door. As I had few friends, and none who would come around so late, I always knew that it was her. But on the first occasions of its happening, I went to my door, half-expecting bad news, a telegram; and Miss Golightly would call up: “Sorry, darling—I forgot my key.”

Though I like the gag of Huckleberry Hound getting a sort-of cameo in the mask shoplifting scene, coyly alluding back to the theme song’s lyric.

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