Book vs. Movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Blake Edwards (1922-2010) directed the famous movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s based on the novel by Truman Capote.

Holly is played by the iconic Audrey Hepburn & the narrator is played by George Peppard.

This movie shows a lighter, more positive adaptation of the novel. Creating an interpretation with a more satisfying ending for the general public.

Personally, I am a huge (to say the least) Audrey fan. I dare say, I have watched this movie easily over 50 times since I was pretty young. & I still watch it ever now & then, when I get the mean reds, sort of to keep my hand in.

I watched the movie repeatedly before reading the novel. For this reason, I happened to thoroughly enjoy it without being able to compare it with the book. Being a big film fan, I understand that movies cannot pretend to interpret novels, nor do they intend to.

Novels are created for a different kind of enjoyment; the images are up to us. Therefore, they tend to express slow & detailed descriptions. The same scene in a book could take us 20 minutes to read, for example, while the final product of that same scene in a movie could go by in seconds (& in some cases, vice versa). Of course, films can play with this creativity, changing rhythm richly, like Capote’s writing. Or choose another fast-paced road.

Even though I realise that the novel was much more representative of a sadder & truer -whatever that means- reality, I enjoy the fact that the movie is done in a lighter manner. Making it feel like a short movie. In strict terms, the novel is quite short, too. & in this, they are similar. It can be read in less than a day & is under 100 pages long (depending on the version, of course).

Despite the fact that Audrey manages to provide a delicate & vulnerable girl with a fabulous exterior, the novel shows us a more complex girl, rich in details about her life, while simultaneously maintaining things blurry.

On another note, if anyone is comparing the movie to the novel, I think there is something that must be mentioned; the treatment of the narrator’s name. Something quite distinctive about Capote’s novel is his lack of naming the narrator. He remains unnamed throughout the book. & paradoxically, although it literally doesn’t mention his name, that in itself says a lot about the character. Some hopeless man who struggles to define himself as an author & a person. He often gives the impression of an outsider, an observer, & an admirer. Which creates mixed feelings for the reader, whether they identify with him or not. We can’t help but empathise & often times even pity him.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie!

While this is a cliché comment to make when it comes to movies versus books: I would like to stress the fact that (having done it in an opposite manner) I advise you read the book before you watch the movie.

In no way am I saying that one is better than the other. However, I am saying that they fulfil entirely different entertainment purposes. I don’t doubt that a more similar representation of this novella could be created for film, trying to stick to the somber reality depicted.

You can easily find the movie through Netflix. Though, if you’re anything like me, you’ll like to know that it can easily be found on DVD to add to your physical collection.

Stay curious,

B.

 

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