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The Centennial Collection of Breakfast at Tiffany's" is the definitive version to own on DVD!
on January 5, 2009
A word that can describe the Centennial Collection release of the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's", the classic romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard.
Having reviewed previous versions of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" before on DVD, I'm sure many Audrey Hepburn fans are probably wondering how else can Paramount improve from the 2006 45th Anniversary Edition on DVD? Well, I can tell you right now... plenty! Please read on.
A film that stars quite a bit of talent, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" remains not just one of the most memorable romantic films of all time but a film that exemplifies the beauty of Audrey Hepburn, the chic style of the times and more (which I will discuss more in the special features portion of my review).
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The film is presented in widescreen format, enhanced for 16:9 TV's. A lot of the Centennial Collection releases have been remastered for high definition and having the previous DVD's, I can tell you that the DVD looks great. But I can only imagine how this film would look in 1080P if released in Blu-ray.
Audio is featured in Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround/English, Restored Mono, French Mono and Spanish Mono. The film of course is dialogue-driven but sure enough, the music of Harry Mancini is alive and well when blaring through your speakers.
As mentioned before, there have been several releases of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" prior to this Centennial Collection, the older DVD's really hardly came with anything but the trailer until the 2006 "Special 45th Anniversary Collector's Edition" which came with a good number of special features and a commentary by producer Richard Shepherd.
Well, what I can tell you is that the Centennial Collection contains all of the special features from the Anniversary DVD release but also adds quite a few new lengthy featurettes as well. On the first disc, the first disc contains the movie and the same commentary from the Anniversary disc by Producer Richard Shepherd. You can tell that Shepherd gets drawn in to the film and doesn't speak in the commentary until he feels necessary.
So, for those wanting a verbose commentary, Shepherd doesn't do that. But it's actually quite fine because when he does speak, you learn a lot of things from him about the filming. For example, the opening shot featuring Audrey Hepburn in front of Tiffany's in Fifth Avenue. Where the place is typically packed with cars and people, for that time... there was hardly any traffic and no people. So, a very lucky time in filmmaking for the crew.
Also, Shepherd is quite apologetic about casting Rooney as Mr. Funiyoshi and he does that quite a bit in the commentary. You realized he didn't want the yellow face routine (Caucasian actor looking like an Asian stereotypical character) but it was kept in. Also, commenting of how certain scenes worked then but would never fly now. But most of all, his continued feeling of Audrey Hepburn as a class act. Overall, a very good commentary that you learn a lot from.
The special features on disc 2 are as follows:
* A Golightly Gathering - A 20-minute featurette that reunites the talents who were in the cocktail party scene from "Breakfast at Tiffany's". One of the coolest parties ever on film, it's great to see the talent from the film reunite and discuss their experiences of filming that part scene 40-years later. I had no idea the party-scene took 8-days to film but it was great to hear everyone talk about their scene, working with Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Blake Edwards. But what a great featurette and so happy of it's inclusion.
* Henry Mancini: More Than Music - This nearly 21-minute featurette is a wonderful featurette that features interviews with Henry Mancini's wife, daughter and son. Seeing private photos and even videos of Henry and having their family talk about him and what they remember about him, winning the two Academy Awards for "Moon River" and working on other films is just wonderful.
* Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective - A 17-minute featurette. Despite the popularity of the film, the black cloud that has lingered on this film was the casting of Mickey Rooney as "Mr. Yunioshi". A talented actor, the "yellow face" role was just wrong and acknowledge by the director, producer and a cast member was just terribly wrong in casting Rooney for that role. This feature has interviews with representatives of the Media Action Network of Asian Americans. I'm glad that Paramount did include this featurette on this collection.
* The Making of a Classic - Originally from the Anniversary release, this segment features interviews with Producer Richard Shepherd and Director Blake Edwards. A 16-minute featurette and you definitely learn a lot about the film, especially from Blake Edwards. One could image how his director's commentary would have been if included, especially with what he had to say on this featurette.
* It's So Audrey: A Style Icon - An eight minute featurette with interviews with designers, Hepburn's son and companion. How Audrey Hepburn made simple things quite sexy. How Audrey never thought of her body proportions that sexy but she did have a good eye for style and how she became a fashion and style icon.
* Behind the Gates: The Tour - This 4 minute featurette gives people a look behind the gates of the Paramount lot. A good promotional for those who would like to tour the Paramount lot.
* Brilliance in a Blue Box - A six minute featurette about the history of Tiffany's. Originally featured on the Anniversary DVD.
* Audrey's Letter to Tiffany - A two minute featurette about the letter Audrey wrote for the preface of the 150th Anniversary book for Tiffany's.
* Original Theatrical Trailer - The original two minute trailer with its dust, scratches and all.
* Galleries - Featuring production stills, movie stills and publicity shots for the film.
The Centennial Collection also comes with a booklet that features information of facts of the film, from how Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe for this film, information on Orangey the cat and how the "New York Site" that was filmed at the Paramount lot is now forever lost due to the big Paramount fire back in 1983 that destroyed historical sets.
And the DVD is just classy with it's black and gold packaging (which most of the Centennial Collection are packaged) and ditching the pink and white packaging.
I absolutely love this film. From the memorable dialogue, that first scene with Holly standing in front of Tiffany's, the cocktail party, Holly Golightly singing "Moon River" on her guitar, the cat and of course the final scene between Holly and Paul.
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is a classic Audrey Hepburn film that is a must-own. I know that the film has been re-released many times on DVD and the 45th Anniversary was just a pleasure when it first came out and at the time, it was a definitive release. But now, with this "Centennial Collection" featuring a remastered version of the film and the new (and quite lengthy) featurettes that is included on this collection, this is the definitive version on DVD.
Personally, I can only imagine how this would look once it becomes available on Blu-ray but for now, these Centennial Collections from Paramount are just wonderful. Especially "Breakfast at Tiffany's", I'm really amazed how far Paramount went in order to make this release much more special.
The addition of "A Golightly Gathering" featuring the actors who took part in that cocktail party was awesome, the Henry Mancini featurette for those who just love his musical work will love this featurette and of course, for those who have felt the pain of the "yellow face" segment in the film, Paramount going the extra step by including a featurette dedicate to that on this DVD.
But in the end, this DVD is indeed a special tribute to Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn is just an icon of style and elegance and this DVD does a great job of giving special attention to such an incredible film. And after seeing this film so many time times, I still have not grown tired of it. It's one special film that I highly recommend