If I had to choose my Top 5 favorite movies starring Audrey Hepburn, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S would most definitely be in the list. Blake Edwards directed the 1961 film and George Axelrod wrote the screenplay. On many a lazy summer afternoon in New York City, I played the CD soundtrack with all that wonderful original music by Henry Mancini. He won an Oscar for that tasty score. He and Johnny Mercer won Best Song Oscars for the wistful "Moon River," tenderly introduced in the film by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. She got a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her rich, elegant, complicated -- and brave -- performance.
This dynamic in Audrey Hepburn movies was sort of a European sensibility. Also, it enabled Audrey Hepburn to be paired with Hollywood's top established leading men. We saw Audrey Hepburn with Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire and Henry Fonda. I know some narrow-minded folks feel that it's "creepy" to see fresh, young Audrey Hepburn with an older leading man. They never pay attention to the specifics in the those screenplays. Audrey's character is the one who's initially attracted. She's the one surprised at her own feelings of blossoming romance for the mature gent. The older guy is not chasing her like he's an old dog trying to pick up a new trick. She makes the first move.
It's been written and said that Truman Capote had Marilyn Monroe in mind when he wrote his novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's. You can see that if you've read it. It's easy to imagine the early 1950s Monroe as the basis for Holly. The screenplay is an adaptation that allowed Hepburn to flip the script on her lucrative Hollywood image. In the movie, she not the smart young woman with character. She's in danger of going pleasantly to seed. In the movie, Hepburn is elegantly outfitted but notice the darkness behind her fabulous fashion statements as Holly. When she gets hooked up with visiting businessmen for dinner in Manhattan and they give her "fifty dollars for the powder room," that money is not a tip for the ladies' room attendant. Holly is being paid for sexual favors. That's how she pays her rent. She gets dinner. The men get dessert.
George Peppard's character, Paul Varjak is an aspiring writer who lives in Holly's apartment building. He's also being paid for sex. He's being kept by a wealthy married woman. She's just in it for the sex. He's like a paid employee boy-toy to her. The married woman is played with rich bitchiness by Patricia Neal. She keeps Paul on the down-low. This is my favorite outfit she wears when she drops over for some horizontal recreation.