Please spoil Breakfast at Tiffany's for me

At the risk of sounding as if I’ve spent the last 50 years in a bomb shelter, I have never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Always meant to catch it but just never did. Can someone please describe the plot to me?

Here ya go.

Thanks, Friedo. I appreciate your sharing the link. I followed it, but the wikipedia description was a little vague on important details. It hinted at plot elements rather than describing them and left me wondering, for example, how Holly Golightly came to be married to Jed Clampett.

From the American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures:

Doc Golightly was an animal doctor. Truman Capote explained the heart of their marriage, in the novel:

Doc Golightly on how he met Holly (née Lulamae) when he was a widower with children:

The best part about Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the music by Henry Mancini.

Too late, OP. Mickey Rooney already spoiled it.

Mickey Rooney’s buck-toothed chinaman was a product of the times. Embarassing now, funny then. Watch it in context.

I’m pretty good at considering the context in such situations; Stepin Fetchit in Judge Priest, almost all women in almost all pre-60s movies, etc. But Rooney’s performance (as a Japanese, not Chinese) in *BaT * just makes me cringe. I cannot watch it.

Thank you all very much! This has been very helpful. I can see I’ve been missing a very good movie, apart from the Mickey Rooney role.

Re Rooney playing an Asian character: casting Westerners in Asian roles seems to have been a trend in bygone days.

  • Alec Guinness played a Japanese man in A Majority of One,
  • ditto Marlon Brando in the Teahouse of the August Moon.
  • Peter Lorre played the Japanese detective Mr. Moto.
  • Several non-Asian actors, among them Warner Oland, Sidney Toler and J. Carroll Naish, played the Chinese detective Charlie Chan.
  • Shirley MacLaine played a Hindu woman in Around the World in 80 Days.
  • Jacqueline Malouf, who was of Middle Eastern descent, was cast as a Polynesian princess in Donovan’s Reef.

Actually the fact that a western man played an Asian man is not the issue I have with Rooney’s performance. The fact that he is cringeworthy while playing a cartoonish stereotype - one that was outdated even back then (it was the '60s, not the '40s for God’s sake) - is what I and many others find icky.

The cat was damn cute, though. I can’t get through the last scene when Holly tosses him out without sobbing.

As was casting actors of Italian descent as American Indians in movies and television series, including the famous Iron Eyes Cody.

Almost all of those performances (save perhaps the Brando, one of his most embarrassing moments) were played essentially for realism. Rooney’s performance is an astonishingly over-the-top caricature of every racist stereotype you could possibly imagine.

The oldest living Oscar winner is Luise Rainer, a German Jew who fled the Nazis, settled in Hollywood, and won her second Oscar as the Chinese peasant Olan in The Good Earth (1937). They’ve been puttin’ the Asian in Caucasian ever since.

As for Breakfast, Capote loved the notoriety and name recognition the movie brought but hated the movie because they made the Capote character not only straight but Holly’s love interest. He also wrote the part for Marilyn Monroe, though he later claimed the character was a composite of his mother (an Alabama farmgirl who eventually got to Park Ave. by way of a rich Cuban husband [she killed herself when he went broke], Carol Matthau (wife of Walter M. and ex-wife of Wm. Saroyan), Gloria Vanderbilt (?! no idea how), Babe Paley, Slim Keith (more likely than the others save for Mrs. Capote), and whoever else he was flattering at the time.

Rooney was cast essentially as an act of charity. He was dead broke (gambling, high living, bad investments, big and multiple alimony and multiple child support payments, IRS problems, etc.) and on his ass careerwise at the time (he was working, but not in high profile vehicles- he had been, as he recounts in every single interview, the biggest star in the world just a few years before, but when he fell it was very far and very quick). During the early 50s he had a TV sitcom that went nowhere, but he hired a young (30-ish) Blake Edwards as a writer. Edwards’ wife was pregnant at the time and he was strongly debating becoming a teacher or businessman in order to provide for his family, and it was the paycheck for The Mickey Rooney Show that allowed him to remain in show business and thus ultimately for all his later success. After he turned to directing TV shows and had an unexpectedly huge hit with Operation Petticoat (it was a Cary Grant vehicle so it wasn’t low budget, but because Grant had negotiated such a ridiculous contract [something like 70% of the gross] the studio didn’t expect to make a dime on it so they tossed it to Edwards) he was given Breakfast at Tiffanys, his first really big production. He used the chance to toss Rooney the role of Mr. Yunioshi as a payback for his own big-break, hoping a “special guest star” role in an Audrey Hepburn vehicle would help jumpstart the obnoxious hobbit’s career. It didn’t- Disney and TV a decade later helped more- but he’s certainly never hurt for work.