I finally watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s the other day. In fact, it was my New Year’s Day I-am-not-taking-a-nap strategy. I have been meaning to watch this movie for ages and have heard no end of effusive compliments and hyperbolic praise.
I am not sure what I think of it. I mean, George Peppard is a pretty hot tamale and of course Audrey has it going on, but I don’t know. The party scenes and the campiness of the whole Blake Edwards shebang was fun, and Mickey Rooney… shit, he would probably be sued if he did that ridiculous Japanese caricature now… (though RDJ managed to get away with blackface this summer, so perhaps people are finally starting to lighten up.) It did not seem at all Capote-ish and I read somewhere that Capote himself hated the movie, so I think going into it thinking it would be his style might have been my mistake. There were some good lines and some amazing visuals, but my favorite scene was the scene with the Cracker Jack’s. Paul sits with Doc and hears for the first time some of the missing bits of Holly’s background…
Eating his Cracker Jack’s Doc says:
“Son, I need a friend.”
“You’re Holly’s father?”
“Her name ain’t Holly. She was Lula May Barnes. Was till she married me. I’m her husband, Doc Golightly… When I married Lula May she was going on fourteen. Now you might think the average person goin’ on fourteen wouldn’t know his own mind. But you take Lula May. She was an exceptional person.”
Doc passes the Cracker Jack’s to Paul.
“I tell ya son, she just plumb broke our hearts when she run off like she done. Just plain had no reason…”
The two men share the Cracker Jacks and Paul takes the prize.
“It’s the prize in the Cracker Jack, you want it?”
Paul pockets the ring and the two men, both in love metaphorically with the same silly prize, walk off.
The prize happens to be a ring… (Of course this has to have given way to the deprecating comment that something looks like it may have “come from a box of Cracker Jack’s.” I remember obsessing over the prizes in Cracker Jack’s, my favorites were always the tattoos… go figure. But it is still fun to look and see what they have thrown in there. [I do really hate when people refer to Cracker Jack’s in the singular though like Paul does. As if you want a single piece?]) And I am sure there could be all sorts of deep analysis as to what the ‘prize symbolizes or where it came from and what this means and everything.
Eventually the ring comes back in the Tiffany’s plot… twice. When the salesman at Tiffany’s is presented with the ring as something to engrave he has a surprising response, pleased to learn that prizes are still included in the boxes. He says, “gives one a feeling of solidarity, almost of continuity with the past, that sort of thing.” Then of course at the end, which I have a really hard time imagining Capote tolerating, the ring is what brings Holly back to her senses. But that scene hardly matches the quality of the others.
Really it is just nice to remember that you can find something pretty meaningful in your literal or metaphorical box of Cracker Jack’s.
“I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together.”