Lion of the Blogosphere

Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Nominal GDP per capita is 18 times greater today than it was in 1961. So when you we are informed that Holly Golightly gets paid $50 by men “for the powder room” she’s actually getting $900. So is she some sort of prostitute or something? Except for the mysterious $900 payments, the movie presents no other evidence that she has sex with anyone.

A girl like Holly would not exist today, at least not as presented in the movie. A “wild” girl today would act a lot less naïve and have many visible tattoos.

People in 1961 probably found Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of the Japanese upstairs neighbor funny, but today it’s more funny for how racist it is than for its inherent comedy. Indeed, some people think that Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the most racist movie in the history of post-WWII Hollywood.

The story: Paul Varjack, a guy who receives substantial amounts of money (given the 18-times ratio) from a rich somewhat-older woman for unspecified reasons, spends the movie being a white-knight friend-zoned cuck to Holly Golightly (played by the anorexically skinny miscast Audrey Hepburn), and is rewarded for his good beta behavior by finally winning the girl. I guess nothing was much different in “romcom” movies 55 years ago.

But I was more concerned about the cat. In order to leave some suspense for people who haven’t watched the movie, I won’t give away the most important part of the ending.

To be fair, the movie was full of quirky and unusual characters and some pretty humorous social situations. I found it quite entertaining despite its shortcomings. And there are some great shots of New York City in 1961.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 9, 2016 at 12:00 am

Posted in Movies, New York City

38 Responses

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  1. A female relative is visiting and was watching Wuthering Heights when I came home. I ended up watching the last half of it. The lead male character, Heathcliff, dies of oneitis. Really, he dies from it!

    Why do women love watching movie about men who get oneitis yet they don’t reward it in real life?


    February 9, 2016 at 12:26 am

    • Because the book can simultaneously present the character as alpha and give them oneitis. An alpha who gets oneitis because that girl is just that special is the the ultimate achievement of femininity.


      February 9, 2016 at 8:33 am

    • “Why do women love watching movie about men who get oneitis yet they don’t reward it in real life?”

      Most marriages and the resulting children in the world are more or less cases of oneitis. I think the big problem for my younger brethren is not oneitis, so much as zeroitis, not obsessively trying to get any girl at all. Such as being friends for years without ever moving to close the deal.


      February 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm

  2. What are you Costanza now?


    February 9, 2016 at 12:30 am

  3. “Nominal GDP per capita is 18 times greater today than it was in 1961. So when you we are informed that Holly Golightly gets paid $50 by men “for the powder room” she’s actually getting $900. So is she some sort of prostitute or something?”

    Yes. Or well, quasi prostitute. Side piece might be the more current slang.

    It’s implied. Maybe better in the book. The author didn’t want to point it out too boldly. He wasn’t judging her, he was appreciating her hustle. (IMHO).


    February 9, 2016 at 12:54 am

    • The usual approach is to use the Consumer Price Index to convert the buying power of dollars in the past to dollars today. An online calculator says $50 in 1961 would be worth $397 today.

      Mark Caplan

      February 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm

  4. Trump supporter Ted Nugent posted an anti-Semitic message on his Facebook:

    “Ted Nugent posts anti-Semitic image slamming supporters of gun control ”

    Right-wing rocker Ted Nugent posted an anti-Semitic message Monday charging that Jews are trying to take away his precious guns.

    The wacko posted an image on Facebook of prominent politicians like Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Charles Schumer, Rahm Emmanuel and others, each beside an Israeli flag under the banner “So who is really behind gun control?”

    “Know these punks. They hate freedom, they hate good over evil, they would deny us the basic human right to self defense & to KEEP & BEAR ARMS while many of them have tax paid hired ARMED security! Know them well. Tell every1 you know how evil they are. Let us raise maximum hell to shut them down!” Nugent wrote.


    February 9, 2016 at 1:20 am

    • Nugent has a point.

      Hunting is forbidden by kosher laws, and these fringe jews are trying to project their religious biases on other people.

      Lion of the Turambar

      February 9, 2016 at 8:57 am

      • Only Orthodox Jews believe that stuff, and Orthodox Jews believe in all sorts of weird stuff but they still vote Republican. My grandfather’s rabbi supported George W. Bush.

        It should also be note that the Hasidic hats are made from real animal fur, so Hasidic Jews obviously don’t have a problem with small furry animals being killed.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 9, 2016 at 9:22 am

    • Trump supporter Ted Nugent

      Cruz supporter.


      February 9, 2016 at 10:40 am

  5. O/T Political idea:

    The recently introduced term “person of color” is designed to create solidarity between non-whites, and make it harder to discuss differences between non-white groups. Obviously this is important for leftists, because it stops people from asking tricky questions about how white privilege seems to benefit asians more than whites.

    Here’s an idea for a counter-proposal: start using the word “white” to collectively refer to whites and East-asians. So you would start using the term “European white” and “East asian white”, with “white” referring to both. It’s a great rhetorical trick because it allows one to make statements like “whites faced discrimination with the Chinese exclusion act” technically correct, in the same way that leftists benefit from the term “person of color”.

    The idea sounds crazy, but the alt-right has really been missing out on all of the opportunities that could come from shaping and re-framing the language, which leftists have used to great effect.


    February 9, 2016 at 2:09 am

    • So race is a social construct after all.


      February 9, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    • I think people should just start pointing out that person of color and colored person are basically the same phrase.

      Lloyd Llewellyn

      February 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      • That’s lying saying that nigga and nigger are the same word. In both cases, the latter usage is racist.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 9, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      • ***I think people should just start pointing out that person of color and colored person are basically the same phrase***

        Benedict Cumberbatch got in trouble for using the latter. Was interesting to then hear people try to explain the distinction.


        February 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

  6. I don’t know why you’re reviewing this, but I (an inveterate racist) had to stop watching as soon as the Jap stereotype went on screen. Holy hell what rubbish. At least Andy Williams saved the film from total abandon.


    February 9, 2016 at 2:36 am

    • That music never made sense to me for that movie. It would have been a better fit for “Mayberry RFD”.


      February 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm

  7. Have not seen the movie, but your description of it reminds me, as some wag said, that the past is another country. We would be as out of place and alien in 1961 New York as we would in Mumbai.

    Mike Street Station

    February 9, 2016 at 6:44 am

    • No we wouldn’t.


      February 9, 2016 at 10:31 am

  8. Yes, great shots of the city and nice music. Now you need to watch Manhattan.


    February 9, 2016 at 7:29 am

  9. You’re right about the casting of Hepburn, no juice there at all. Also, I always considered George Peppard to be the most wooden of all the “leading men” of that era.

    Cal Worthinton

    February 9, 2016 at 10:00 am

  10. And I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
    She said I think I remember the film
    And as I recall I think we both kind of liked it
    And I said well that’s the one thing we’ve got


    February 9, 2016 at 10:04 am

    • And that was the whole sing, refrain 10X…


      February 9, 2016 at 12:11 pm

  11. A pretty good modern take on the Holly Golightly type is Chloe from “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.” It was played by Krysten Ritter, who is now in the Netflix graphic novel adaptation of “Jessica Jones”.

    She is more overtly sexual than Holly but hits the attitude pretty squarely.


    February 9, 2016 at 10:09 am

  12. According to Truman Capote, who wrote the novella on which the movie was based, Holly was not a prostitute.

    A March 1968 interview with Playboy contains the following exchange:

    Playboy: Would you elaborate on your comment that Holly was the prototype of today’s liberated female and representative of a “whole breed of girls who live off men but are not prostitutes. They’re our version of the geisha girl…”?
    Capote: Holly Golightly was not precisely a call girl. She had no job, but accompanied expense-account men to the best restaurants and night clubs, with the understanding that her escort was obligated to give her some sort of gift, perhaps jewelry or a check …if she felt like it, she might take her escort home for the night. So these girls are the authentic American geishas, and they’re much more prevalent now than in 1943 or 1944, which was Holly’s era.

    Norden, Eric (March 1968). “Playboy Interview: Truman Capote”. Playboy 15 (3). p. 51–53, 56, 58–62, 160–162, 164–170.


    February 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    • Anyone here ever have an expense account like that?

      I keep reading about the Wall Street guys who entertain at strip clubs. I find it hard to imagine the clients who would want to build relationships at a place like that, but it gets repeated enough it must be true.


      February 9, 2016 at 11:50 pm

  13. I read the book a few years ago after seeing the movie. I recall it being clearer that they’re both prostitutes.


    February 9, 2016 at 11:01 am

  14. Although the movie has a contemporary setting, the Truman Capote short novel was a period piece of sorts. Capote wrote it in 1958 but set it about 15 years earlier during World War Two. I would guess that the movie used a contemporary setting to reduce filming costs.
    It seemed pretty obvious to me that Paul was a male hooker.



    February 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

  15. Cat’s name IRL was Orangey, and apparently enjoyed a productive film and television career.

    Laguna Beach Fogey

    February 9, 2016 at 12:06 pm

  16. Laguna Beach Fogey

    February 9, 2016 at 12:53 pm

  17. Gays love this movie. Maybe someone can explain to us why. I am not sure. Maybe they like being friend-zoned, or they like having a closeted sex life, or they like the personalities. I am just guessing, but I have heard gays rave about how good this movie is.

    George AngryDad

    February 9, 2016 at 2:05 pm

  18. today i learned that the lion prefers his girls thick and meaty.

    that’s okay, so did alex rodriguez.


    February 9, 2016 at 4:31 pm

  19. The best part of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was the scenery.


    February 9, 2016 at 6:35 pm

  20. Thanks for using the phrase “white-knight friend-zoned cuck”. Hilarious!


    February 9, 2016 at 7:16 pm

  21. The only good parts of BaT are the opening scene (a masterpiece) and the ending, and maybe the jewelry counter scene with John McGiver. Throw in lots of closeups of classic Detroit iron, plus period shots of NYC, and that’s it. The characters are bizarre and the storyline not very believable. And it hasn’t aged well at all.

    Ned C.

    February 10, 2016 at 9:59 am

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