21 April 2005 | gftbiloxi
A Real Charmer: Comfort Viewing At It's Best
The celebrated author on whose novel it was based despised the film version, describing it as "mawkish." The star wasn't much more enthusiastic; she never considered it among her best work. And the reviews were mixed. But regardless of what Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn, or the critics thought about it, the public adored it--and the image of Audrey Hepburn wearing a black evening dress, nibbling pastry, and window shopping has passed into our cultural iconography.
The film is indeed lightweight stuff. Audrey Hepburn is a New York good-time girl who makes a living by clipping her wealthy escorts for fifty here and fifty there. When she meets handsome George Peppard--a writer who makes ends meet by trading favors with society matron Patricia Neal--can love be far behind? But Audrey's mysterious past and her determination to marry rich, George's status as a kept boy-toy, and their occasionally questionable associates provide plenty of complications to fill out the story.
What makes the film work is the remarkable charm of its two stars. Most of the attention goes to Audrey Hepburn and the film shows her to remarkable advantage: she is a remarkable actress, personality, and beauty, and she works wonders with the ultralight script. But when it comes to charm, George Peppard is no slouch either: the film catches him at the height of his early golden-boy good looks, and he is the perfect foil for Hepburn in both their comic and dramatic scenes. Mickey Rooney's excessive performance as Yunioshi aside, the supporting cast is also very entertaining, with Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Dorothy Whitney all give enjoyable turns. The film looks great (make sure you get the widescreen version), the score (which includes "Moon River") is excellent, and director Blake Edwards keeps everything moving at a pleasant pace. This a great film to cozy up with on a cold night--romantic, entertaining, and as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate. Recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer