Half a century on, Holly Golightly is as fresh and compelling as she was the day Truman Capote first skated her across the page.
Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, turns 50 just as holiday shopping gets going in earnest. Vintage has published an anniversary volume that goes on sale today. The film, of course, won’t join the anniversary for another couple of years. According to The New York Observer, Capote didn’t want Audrey Hepburn for the part:
Conjure Audrey Hepburn, if you like, but my Holly Golightly has less polish, more sizzle. (Truman Capote thought Hepburn was wrong for the part; he wanted Marilyn Monroe, which is maybe too much sizzle, if there can be such a thing.) Yes, she’s beautiful, but what makes her irresistible is the wild jumble of words that comes pouring out of her mouth:
“I’d never be a movie star. It’s too hard; and if you’re intelligent, it’s too embarrassing. My complexes aren’t inferior enough: being a movie star and having a big fat ego are supposed to go hand-in-hand; actually it’s essential not to have any ego at all. I don’t mean I’d mind being rich and famous. That’s very much on my schedule, and some day I’ll try to get around to it; but if it happens, I’d like to have my ego tagging along. I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
Also on sale today, the paperback edition of the very splendid Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote (Modern Library), another good holiday gift giving choice.