Caroline Glassblock 2

Breakfast at Tiffany's

In the book, Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote, the narrator who is nameless in the book, falls in love with a spirited young woman named
Holly Golightly. When Holly moves into his apartment building, she is constantly annoying the neighbors with her loud parties and music and she is always asking one of them to let her in because´╗┐ she is always forgetting her key. Despite her wild and rowdy personality, she often appears in the narrator's window, having just climbed out of her own room via the fire escape, to escape from the latest drunk person who has accompanied her home at the ridiculous hour of the morning. She is loud and boisterous most of the time, but as their friendship develops through out the book, the narrator realizes that she is actually sad, lonely, having been on her own since the age of fourteen, and doesn't really know what to do with her life. He tries to help her, but she resists, not even seeing, herself, that what she needs is a true friend and companion. And then, at the end of the book, after she is accused of being involved in drug trafficking, she takes a plane to Brazil, despite the narrator's protests and pleas that she go somewhere and escape with him, and he never hears from her again. It's the end of Holly Golightly for ever.

The movie adaptation, directed by Blake Edwards, with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard as Holly and the narrator, who they name Paul Varjak in the movie (a major change from the book) is very faithful to the book. It is hard to notice the changes that the movie makes because they are very slight. I think that the changes in the movie actually improve the plot instead of taking away from it. Most of the changes in the movie fall in the category of scenes and characters being added or taken away. One of the more noticeable changes is that there is a character that is completely made up in movie. This is the "sponsor" of Varjak's writing "business." He is a pretty unsuccessful writer, and the woman who he is friends with is incredibly wealthy and gives him money often because he isn't making much of his own. She is the one who pays for the rent in apartment building where Holly also lives. She basically pays him to do nothing; maybe try his hand at writing a little. Once, Paul meets Holly, however, he actually starts to write more because she liked what she'd read of his, and this inspires him. Also, once he meets Holly, he breaks off the relationship with his sponsor, played by Patricia Neal, and begins to be more successful. Some other changes are scenes being added in such as Paul and Holly going into Tiffany's; in the book they don't go together, the fight between Paul and the woman who gives him money; this is completely made up in the movie, and when Paul and Holly go to the library together and Paul shows Holly the one book he's written called Nine Lives. In the book, there is no library scene.
There were also characters and scenes from the book that were cut. The woman, Madame Spanella, from the book who lives in the same apartment building that Paul and Holly do is not in the movie. She is the one who is always complaining about Holly's parties being too loud or her coming home, making a lot of noise, at all hours of the morning. In the movie, the complainer is another neighbor of theirs, who only complains about Holly a little in the book named Mr. Yunioshi, a photographer. Another character that was cut from the movie was the bar tender, Joe Bell, who both Holly and Paul were friends with. Some scenes that were taken out of the movie were the scene where Paul and Holly go horseback riding and Paul falls off his horse, the scene where Paul goes to visit Holly in the hospital after she's been arrested for being involved in a narcotics scandal, and the scene at the very beginning with Joe Bell and Paul where Joe is telling Paul about how Mr. Yunioshi says he thought he saw Holly in Africa while takimryunioshi.jpgng pictures there. Holly had left New York years before, and Paul hadn't had any word from her for all that time, so when he hears from Joe that Mr. Yunioshi might have seen her in Africa, he wonders what she was doing there. This then leads off the whole story, which is a flashback of his time with Holly. The order of the scenes was true to the book, it's just that some were new and some were taken away.

Another major difference from book to movie was the way it was told. As mentioned before, the book is told as one big flashback and told in first person by the narrator they name Paul in the movie. In the book, the reader never finds out his name because he always refers to himself as "I", and no one else ever says his name. In the movie however, there are no voice-overs to represent first person, it is entirely third person. This gives Paul more of a chance to have dialogue instead of just being relaying his thoughts. Even though the director made no attempt to keep the movie in first person, I think this did not take away from the movie at all, and in fact, made it more interesting. I think that by giving Paul more of a speaking part in the movie, it added to the plot and probably made the movie easier to make. It also gave him more of a role in the story rather than being a bystander like he sort of is in the book.

There was also a theme song for the movie that was, obviously, not included in the book. In the book, Holly often gets out her guitar and plays a song that has a "plaintive, prairie melody" according to the narrator. She often plays this song. The words are, "don't wanna sleep, don't wanna die, just wanna go a-travelin' through the pasture of the sky." The times in the book where the narrator hears Holly singing are significant because this is one of the only times he sees her just as is; no glamourous covering or entourage of friends and endless parties. It is her expressing her emotions when she thinks no one is listening. In the movie, the reoccurring song that Holly sings in the movie won an Oscar for best soundtrack. Holly only actually sings it once, but it is the theme song for the movie and plays during other scenes. The song is called "Moon River" and is very empowering; it shows Holly's desire for freedom and her constant hunting for "the perfect" place. So far, Tiffany's is the only place she feels totally relaxed, safe and comfortable, but the words of the song represent her search for a real place to settle down in that gives her the same feeling as Tiffany's. It is no wonder the song won an Oscar for best soundtrack because it is really empowering and moving. I feel that the addition of this song really adds to the overall feeling of the story and really brings the movie together. I feel it was a great addition, having a song that reiterated the theme of the story.

Finally, as regards the text or dialogue of the movie, the script stuck very closely to the text of the book. Over the course of the movie, I recognized many of the same lines from the book being said in the movie. Because some scenes were added in and taken out, the text was obviously altered from the book, and some parts were rearranged, but the text and dialogue generally stuck closely to the text in the book. Paul Varjak, the narrator in the book, may have had a few more lines in the movie than in the book, but other than that, there wasn't much difference. There was nothing really important from the book that was lacking in the movie, or that took away from the movie.

In conclusion, while there were some noticeable changes in the movie from the book, they didn't take away from the story at all; in fact, they added to the story and made the movie version slightly less depressing and sad than the book. The final big difference between the two is the ending, which was probably the biggest change between book and film. At the end of the book, Holly takes a plane to Brazil, and the narrator only hears from her once to tell him she's arrived. After that letter, she disappears from his life forever. I found that ending to be sad and abrupt. In the movie, however, Holly is driving to the airport to get on the plane to Brazil that she takes in the book. Along the way, Paul tries to convince her to stay in New York. Holly protests, and to show her determination to leave everything from her life in New York behind, she dumps her cat on the sidewalk and tells it to go away. She wants to prove to Paul she doesn't need anyone in her life and is fine being alone. However, she soon regrets her decision to get rid of her cat, so she and Paul tell the taxi driver to go back so they can look for him. It start to pour, and Holly gets more and more desperate to find the cat. Eventually, she finds him and it overjoyed. She then reaches the decision to stay in New York, because the need for her cat made her realize she loves Paul and needs to have company in her life and its better not to be alone. She ends up not going to Brazil and remains in New YOrk with Paul. This ending is happier than in the book. In the book, she doesn't even bother to look for her cat again. Overall, I liked the movie version better than the book. While I enjoyed the book too, the movie was more uplifting and the ending was more happy and satisfying. While I enjoyed aspects from both the book and movie, I enjoyed the overall feeling of the movie better, and the soundtrack was really good to. It was a good addition to the movie to make it seem more hopeful.


I highly recommend the movie and the book Breakfast at Tiffany's for its sad, but hopeful nature. I recommend both reading the book and seeing the movie, but if you want a more uplifting story, then I recommend the movie. I think, however, it's important to read the book as well because it is less known than the movie, so it's important to see where the movie is coming from and what the original plot is.