A couple of weeks ago I posted about a Japanese TV program based on a premise that I found a bit strange, a young woman supporting her father marries a rich man so she doesn’t have to sell herself into prostitution to cover her father’s gambling debts. I’ve just watched a classic American movie that I found almost as strange. I wonder what the Japanese would think of it?
The movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, from 1961, with Audrey Hepburn in her best-known role (& Henry Mancini’s theme song, “Moon River”, has long since entered “the American songbook”). Holly Golightly is a young woman-about-town who lives off the spending money of rich men. She also has a regular Thursday ‘date’ at Sing Sing prison. She gets $100 a visit for chatting with a mob boss doing time there; the man gives her a “weather report” which she then delivers to the man’s “lawyer”.
We learn this within 10 or 15 minutes after the film opens. She tells it to her new neighbor, Paul Varjak (played by George Peppard). He’s a writer who hasn’t had anything published in five years. He’s being supported by a slightly older matron.
What kind of premise is that? And yet it seems to be an “all American” film. Strange.
* * * * *
P.S. Mickey Rooney has a small recurring role as a Japanese photographer and landlord of the building. He’s outfitted with bucktooth prosthetics and plays the role rather broadly, shall we say, offensively so. Very offensively, like he was doing anti-Japanese propaganda for World War II.