On a recent Saturday night, I had the opportunity to waste some time in front of the TV with some German food and my cat. I had been watching a lot of drama on Netflix, sad stuff that made me despair for the world. (This was two weeks ago so my despair was about to grow much worse.) I wanted to feel joy again, to laugh and possibly also feel at awe of the beauty of the world and the multitude of people who live in it. I have very specific moods when it comes to my movie-watching needs.
And for some reason, I picked Breakfast at Tiffany’s. My cat was sitting on the sofa next to me, and cats’ minds are too nimble to create a picture out of the zillions of little dots on television screens, so she was cool with whatever. The spaetzle on my plate wanted to watch Run Lola Run, but then I shoved it in my mouth. I’d never seen BaT before in all of my life, although back in high school the song my Deep Blue Something was one of my top five favorite songs, and I even bought the album and listened to it a lot so that it was probably one of my favorite albums, too.
If you’d asked me, I would have said I am not the target audience for this movie. I knew that it was based on a book written my Truman Capote, who I have complicated feelings about, because while I think he’s a cool dude I also think I would probably want to not be friends with him. I also have complicated feelings about New York City, and it seems like a lot of people are always like, “I wanted to go to NYC and be like Holly Golightly.” Also, I have uncomplicated feelings about jewelry, and those feelings are that I don’t like jewelry and the sight of it makes me gag a little. Lately, I’ve also become one of those people who sits down to watch an old movie already preparing herself to be angry at how sexist it is.
What I did not expect (or did not remember) is how racist BaT is! Obviously it’s chock-a-block with white people, including the one Asian character, Holly’s landlord who is played with subtlety by Mickey Rooney. I’m sure I could google a picture of Mickey Rooney in this movie and paste it here, but just the thought of it is offending me, so I won’t. Just know that Holly is constantly not bringing her key with her and then demanding at all hours of the night for her landlord to let her in, not caring a whiff that dude was in the bathtub. And we are supposed to be like, “Hahaha, Asian people are so funny to mess with and so silly to be angry when they’re bothered in the bath.” Also, why is he in the bathtub so much? Was that a fun stereotype for Japanese/assorted Asian people back in the day?
What I also did not expect is that Hannibal from the A-Team was a stone-cold stud back in the day!
And that photo takes me easily into the main topic of this post: the cat. When I started watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I didn’t even know a cat featured in the film, so I was pretty delighted to see that sweet little orange tabby. He looked a lot like the very first cat I ever had, so I loved him. The cat lives with Holly (Audrey Hepburn). Holly tells Hannibal from the A-Team that he is a former stray and she just calls him Cat instead of a real name because they don’t belong to each other or something? Pfft, I don’t know about that shit, and I’m going to call him Tony. (I just looked it up and the actor-cat who played Tony was named “Orangey.” Come on. But also please read that little bio of Orangey. What a perfect cat!) Nan (my own formerly-stray cat) loved Tony, too, even though he was pretty quiet and to her he was just a blob of pixels. She probably loved him because every time he came on the screen I would pet her and coo at her. Nevertheless, I’m sure she had a favorite scene in the movie, and it’s been helpfully gifed by the internet.
Nan’s like, “That scene is fucking true-to-life.”
So the plot of the movie is that Holly is a young, free-spirited lady in the big city, doing what she wants. What she really wants though is money, and because it’s the 1960s the only way for her to become fabulously rich is to marry a rich guy. Sad, but probably true. Holly and her handsome neighbor (Hannibal) fall in love with each other, but he is poor so she won’t let herself believe that they are more than friends.
Then a whole bunch of crazy stuff happens–including the reveal that Holly is actually married to the dad from Beverly Hillbillies–and the longshot of it is that she ends up in a taxi cab with all her earthly possessions, about to get on a plane to South America to marry some rich South American dude who will never understand her, but Hannibal jumps in the taxi cab with her and confesses his love. AND THEN HOLLY THROWS TONY OUT OF THE CAB INTO THE RAIN. Oooh, I was fucking PISSED. I was also relieved that Nan couldn’t see the details of this scene, because no doubt it would have stirred in her memories of being rejected by a former owner.
Hannibal says a lot of things about how Holly belongs to him, which was maybe the most overtly sexist part of the whole movie and made me hate him quite a bit. But saying that about belonging to someone makes Holly rethink everything. She follows Hannibal out of the cab, they hug in the rain and then find Tony. I think maybe at the end the two of them get married (Holly & Hannibal, not Holly and Tony) , but I’m honestly not sure, because once Tony was back in Holly’s arms and safe, I was so relieved I couldn’t pay attention to the plot.
My Rating: Not as horribly dated as I feared it would be, but Katherine is still my favorite Hepburn.
Nan’s Rating: Was offended that they cat didn’t have a name and also not enough ceaseless meowing. A++ waking-up-owner routine, though. Respect.