i like old movies. (i like movies in general but that's a different story.) my friend simon turned me on to them. he rented Key Largo one night and it conjured a powerfully weird mood. soon we were renting anything with Humphry Bogart in it. before i got into them, i thought old movies would transport me back in time. that rarely happens. the classics are surprisingly modern. i guess that's true of all good stories.

this is my favorite scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's. i saw a portion of the movie when i was in college but Mickey Rooney's character turned me off. i saw more of it last year though. i enjoyed it enough to see it again (as one half of a double feature with Sabrina) at an artsy fartsy theatre on Valentine's Day. i expected a quaint, predictable love story. it was not that. one critic, i recently read, described it with cynical accuracy as a love story between whores. it captures a strange sort of young, urban love. it captures a lot of truth actually. i have met girls like Holly GoLightly and fallen for them the way Paul does. feeling that I could take care of someone so beautiful and needy made me feel strong and resourceful. thankfully, i got over that sort of thing quickly enough. i've met so many other Pauls and Hollys though. i've begun to think that most people go through a stage like that: a stage where one looks for his self-worth in other people. Paul and Holly both do this. that's why i enjoy this scene so much. it represents each of the main characters at their most genuine moment. also, it is followed by one of the sexiest film moments that i can remember: when Holly finishes playing, she notices Paul watching her. "watchya doin'?" she asks. "writing," he answers. "good," she says in a barely audible coo.

the biggest problem with Breakfast at Tiffany's, i'm told, is the ending. the movie was based on a book by Truman Capote. i've heard people complain -like they do of most movies- that the book was so much better. the film lacks the tooth that the novel has. the hollywood ending, i'm told, is a disappointment. i disagree. see, i don't think that Breakfast at Tiffany's ended happily. i interpretted the ending as bittersweet. yes, Holly and Paul are together in the final sequence. good for them but, geez, am i the only one who thought who it might not last? maybe that explains why i at least consider the movie a success. it captured a peculiar the hopeful qualities of a hopeless romance. and it made me want to read the book.

my hopeless hope is that George Lucas will swing by and erase Mickey Rooney from the Breakfast at Tiffany's Special Edition.

© 2004 rama hughes