Song of the Day: The Honey Trees, “Moon River”

My father and aunt did musical theater in high school; as a result, we watched a lot of musicals growing up. So, I first encountered Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, but it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s that made me into a fan. It’s zany humor, moments of poignancy, complicated sexual politics, and 1960s stylings were captivating. Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s sadly sweet song “Moon River” encapsulated the movie for me, so much more so than if they had used tunes from Oklahoma!, which was what Holly sang on her fire escape in Truman Capote’s novella.

Indeed, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of those rare films that is better, so much better, than the text upon which it is based. Capote’s brittle ire and bombasticism is tempered by George Axelrod’s script, and Hepburn infuses Holly with a traumatic pathos that is still warm and hopeful. I can see why Capote was angry at the casting of Hepburn in the role; the character she creates is not his Holly. It’s a much more compelling version than I think Capote was capable of creating. All of this to say Friday was the anniversary of Breakfast at Tiffany’s release in 1961. Go rewatch it and then read Sam Wasson’s excellent Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. about the making of the film.

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