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Featured Blu-ray Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's

September 17th, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Blu-ray: Buy from Amazon

Breakfast at Tiffany's is considered one of Audrey Hepburn's best film, if not her best. It is certainly her most iconic film. It has been released on DVD a few times, but this week it is making its Blu-ray debut in celebration of the film's 50th anniversary. But how well will the movie shine on high definition?

The Movie

This will be a rather short review, because I previously reviewed the film when it came out on a Centennial Collection DVD a couple years ago. There's not much more I need to add to that review.

Audrey Hepburn plays Lulamae Barnes, who goes by the name Holly Golightly. She's naïve, to be generous. She gets by going on dates with rich men and passing along information to a convict in jail. Her goal in life is to marry a rich man and live happily ever after. George Peppard plays Paul Varjak, who is not a rich man; in fact, he gets by going on dates with rich woman. The two meet and get to know each other, but while there's chemistry, Holly is dead set on marrying someone rich.

My previous opinion of the movie still stands. The film is excellent, for the most part. I still cringe at Mickey Rooney's portrayal as Mr. Yunioshi. That said, the performances by the two leads more than make up for that unfortunate casting choice.

The Extras

Extras on the Blu-ray are a combination of the extras on the previous Centennial Collection DVD and an earlier release. Things start with an audio commentary track by Richard Shepherd who does give quite a bit of information, but there are a lot of dead spots in-between. A Golightly Gathering is a 20-minute featurette that talks about the famous cocktail party scene and includes a reunion of many of the cast members. This film won two Oscars, both for the music, and Henry Mancini: More than Music celebrates the man who made that possible. Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective talks about that character from an Asian-American perspective. Those three featurettes are presented in high definition. The remainder are not. The Making of a Classic is a 16-minute making of featurette, It's So Audrey! A Style Icon is an 8-minute look at Audrey Hepburn's sense of style, Behind the Gates: The Tour runs 5 minutes and talks about the studio where the film was shot, Brilliance in a Blue Box is a 6-minute featurette on Tiffany's, and finally Audrey's Letter to Tiffany is a 2-minute featurette on Audrey Hepburn's contribution to the 150th anniversary book for Tiffany's. There are also images and a trailer.

Moving onto the technical presentation, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is DNR. Digital Noise Reduction is used quite heavily at times, and that destroys a lot of fine details. This should have been a premium release, one that deserved remastering, not heavy-handed manipulation. However, when DNR is not used, there are a lot of details, and even at its worse, it still has great colors and deep blacks. The audio includes a new 5.1 surround sound track, as well as the original mono. Don't expect your surround sound speakers, or your bass, to get much of a workout, as the action will be mostly limited to the score. However, having the score envelope you is quite nice.

Finally, we get to the price, which is $19.99. That's a little higher than I would like to pay for this type of release, but not unacceptably so.

The Verdict

Breakfast at Tiffany's' Blu-ray debut does have a couple issues. It's mostly shovelware, the audio and video are showing their age, and the price is a little high for this type of release. However, it's still worth picking up for fans of the film. And if you've never seen it, at least give it a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, Breakfast at Tiffany's