Friday, December 17, 2010
On Blake Edwards, Breakfast at Tiffany's and happy endings
Dear Mr Blake Edwards,
May you rest in peace. For now, I never will.
You died before I could ask you the one question that has been killing me ever since I watched your Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Why? Why did you change Capote’s novella ending for your film? Why did your capricious Holly Golightly had to have a sudden change of heart, character and temperament in the last five minutes of the film and agree to… agree to what… a nice, suburban life with our writer hero?
It was to give us a happy ending, wasn’t it?
Was it worth it? Was it worth killing everything that Golightly stood for – free spiritedness, eccentricity, independence, risk, adventure and total and utter selfishness? Didn’t you know that she couldn’t have been as charming, funny and unique if she wasn’t all those things first? What kind of a story-teller were you to not know that?
No, no, no. I am not a pessimist. I like happy endings too. And I believe that they happen in real life. What I don’t believe is that life has sudden delightful surprises in store for us. No, no Mr Edwards, happy endings have to be worked for and people seldom escape the price of their actions or their patterns of behaviour. Capote understood that, why not you?
But you did understand that, didn't you? But you decided to go with a happy ending anyway because you thought we girls are silly, right? And you thought we wouldn’t have loved your film as much if you had Holly leave her cat and lover in a filthy alleyway and embrace the life of a fugitive. But then, if she was that sort of girl wouldn’t she have still been Paula Mae Burns married to Doc Golightly tending to animals in hick ol’ Texas?
Perhaps, we girls are silly. Perhaps, we want our cake and eat it too. But why were you silly enough to reinforce our rainbow-washed dreams?
I wish, instead, you had taken a chance on us. I wish you had given us a real ending. Perhaps, we would have come through for you and loved Golightly anyway. But now we will never know.
Rest in peace, Mr Edwards.
For now, I never will.