Receive Me Falling Erika Robuck
This wonderful romantic comedy featuring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard and adapted from a novella by Truman Capote is as complex as it is touching. As we meet Holly Golightly (Hepburn), she appears to be a quirky girl of modest means who yearns to lives the jet set lifestyle. She window shops at Tiffany's and throws wild parties in her apartment. Her chief source of income comes from weekly visits to a Mafia don in prison, relaying "weather reports" to his lawyer on the outside. She seems to be the picture of superficiality, described by O.J. Berman (Martin Balsam) as a "real phony", a person who is not what she appears to be, but is convinced she is.
Paul Varjak is an apathetic writer with one book and no ideas. He moves in upstairs from Holly and they immediately strike up a fire escape friendship. His only source of income comes from being a gigolo to his wealthy interior decorator (Patricia Neal) who pays him handsomely for his services every chance she gets. Paul and Holly seem to be two of a kind, abject losers pretending to be what they are not.
However, as the story unfolds, the layers are peeled away and the motivation for Holly's go-lightly personality is revealed in her difficult past. She is far more complex and deep than we first believe, using her lifestyle as a defense mechanism, a way of running from herself. The friendship and love that grow between Paul and Holly make better people of each and ultimately help them to transcend their personal flaws, but not without great difficulties.
For director Blake Edwards, who became most renowned for a spate of Pink Panther movies, this film was probably among his finest moments. These were complicated characters and he revealed them slowly with nuance. They were also developing as people and his treatment of this effect was both subtle and powerful.
The film was not without controversy. Truman Capote was adamant about having Marilyn Monroe in the lead, but the studio went with Audrey Hepburn, who was far less popular but who was probably better for the complexities of the character. They had selected a very young John Frankenheimer as director, who at that point had only TV credits on his resume. Hepburn refused to work with him and he was dumped in favor of Edwards. Capote wanted the film to remain true to the book's dark and depressing ending, but the studio chose to play to the masses and end it on an upbeat. Personally, I'm glad they did.
The film has been roundly criticized in the present day for the character portrayed by Mickey Rooney. Rooney played a caricature of a bumbling Japanese neighbor that was extremely unflattering to Asians although admittedly it was hilarious. This is considered a shocking portrayal in today's politically correct society, but it stirred little furor at the time, when everyone was far more insensitive and far less oversensitive. When the film was released, the biggest criticism was that Edwards overused the character to the point of making him nauseating, which was an obvious error in judgment. If Rooney only had one or two scenes rather than roughly a dozen, it probably wouldn't have become such a lightening rod.
Hepburn and Peppard were both terrific in the leads. Hepburn, who was nominated for best actress for the role, gave Holly a lovable quirkiness that belied her deeper troubles. When it was time to broaden the character, Hepburn gave her intricacy and depth that I feel Marilyn Monroe never could have accomplished. Peppard was more than just a dashing and handsome foil for Hepburn. He played Paul with sensitivity and refinement and had incredible chemistry with Hepburn, making the romance very natural and believable.
One of the best things about the film was the soundtrack, which brought the film its only two Oscars from five nominations. Henry Mancini's musical score was marvelous and film's theme song, "Moon River" written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer is an enduring classic.
The DVD version brings new life to the original Technicolor photography and brings fullness to Mancini's fabulous soundtrack.
This richly textured film has both depth and range. It has just the right balance of lightness and heaviness, with well-explored characters that change before our eyes. I rated it a 10/10. It is an intelligent and affecting film that is worth seeing.Get your Receive Me Falling Erika Robuck Now!