Howdy! Welcome back to Catching Up on The Classics! Hope you’re well and are surviving as best you can. This volume I’ll be discussing my thoughts on ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, ‘The Fly’ and ‘Dracula’!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Literally DRIPPING in iconic nostalgia, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ remains Audrey Hepburn’s most memorable film. She plays the naïve socialite Holly Golightly, a girl with huge ambition, expensive taste and unfortunately, very little cash. After she meets her new neighbour, writer Paul Varjak, she’ll be whisked away on a whirlwind romance filled with mobsters, cats and that beautifully iconic song (Moon River).
Blake Edwards, of ‘Pink Panther’ fame, expertly directs this masterpiece so that every line is filled with wit and every scene oozes authenticity. The story is simple but effective, and was a real pioneer of today’s ever-popular Rom-Com structure. The contemporary 60’s setting is filled with vibrant colour; Henry Mancini’s big band score swings around and the costumes are fun and stylish. The overall effect is totally transportive.
Unfortunately, the film also features one of the most offensive and unnecessary portrayals I’ve ever seen – that of Mickey Rooney’s Asian landlord I. Y. Yunioshi. This film is a fabulous and very funny, but this characterisation hugely distracts. Even at the time, I can’t see how it was funny, and it seems a very strange decision to have such a random and racist addition to a film that otherwise worked perfectly.
If you can ignore the glaring misstep, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is a brilliant film. Lighthearted, fun, romantic and starring an actor at her very best, it’s totally worthy of its classic status.
The Fly (1986)
Anybody who knows me knows I LOVE Jeff Goldblum. He is fantastically enigmatic and demands total attention when he’s on screen. Having not seen his first major film until now, it’s clear that he has always been the same mysteriously charismatic guy.
‘The Fly’, directed by David Cronnenburg, is a Sci-Fi body horror film that also stars Geena Davis and John Getz. After scientist Seth Brundle (Goldblum) suffers from an experiment gone horribly wrong, he’ll slowly begin to turn into a terrifying creature.
As is expected, Goldblum absolutely shines in the role; he is wonderfully quirky in his portrayal of the eccentric scientist, and offers both comedy and emotion to the role. The film also features groundbreaking special effects that included state of the art prosthetics, puppet work and CGI. Rightfully, they won an Oscar, and though a couple of shots have somewhat aged, the majority of the film still fully holds up.
What makes this film so genius however is its decision to make the film not about the transformation, but about how that transformation tears about a blossoming relationship. The beautifully tragic love story perfectly juxtaposes the horrific images on screen, and makes for a unique and touching horror film.
The first official adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic story, ‘Dracula’ features an iconic turn from Bela Lugosi, and dated special effects to match. It tells the age-old tale of Count Dracula, a Vampire who travels from Transylvania to England to prey on the blood of the living. At just 75 minutes, it romps through its story, though it also feels slightly too rushed.
This film is arguably one the of the most iconic and important horror films ever made. The first of the hugely successful Universal Monster films, it’s certainly ambitious in its scale and story. The performances are traditionally hammed up and this provides a fun theatrical mood to the piece. However, the story moves at such a rushed pace that often key story beats don’t get the satisfying attention they deserve. Most crucially, the ending to the film is incredibly rushed, and feels both hugely anti-climatic as well as wholly unsatisfying.
Interestingly, a Spanish-Language version of this film was shot simultaneously at nights while this film shot in the day, and having watched both I can guarantee that if you’re happy to read the subtitles, the Spanish language version is far better. At 1hr 40mins, it sports a far richer story that feels not only more satisfying, but also one that’s better thought out. While basically the same film, it features much more creative cinematography choices as well as equally entertaining performances. If you’re fancying a classic Vampiric-romp, then the Spanish-language version is the one to watch!
For the English version ‘Dracula’:
For the Spanish version ‘Drácula’:
Thanks for joining me on another volume of Catching Up on The Classics. See you next time!