In today’s entry, at the 34th annual Academy Awards (which were hosted by Bob Hope), Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin present the Oscar for Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture to Henry Mancini. This is one of two Oscars that the film ultimately received (the other being for Best Original Song “Moon River”, co-composed by Johnny Mercer). It was also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Art Direction and Best Adapted Screen play.
Over his long career, Mancini (who died of pancreatic cancer in 1994) won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and twenty Grammy Awards. He became well known for his collaborations with director Blake Edwards. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is often cited when speaking about Mancini (though The Pink Panther is widely considered his most famous score) and is also considered the defining role for Audrey Hepburn.
The film is loosely based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name and follows the romantic mis-adventures of the utterly naive socialite Holly Golightly (Hepburn) who is also unwittingly caught up in a mobster’s drug ring. At the same time, Holly juggles multiple suitors while also flirting with her neighbor Paul (George Peppard). The film was well-received upon release and continues to re-appear in “classic” movie marathons from time to time though it has received increasing criticism over the decades for employing a notorious use of ‘yellow-face’ (Mickey Rooney plays “Mr. Yunioshi” with the help of makeup and a prosthetic mouthpiece). Nevertheless, the film was deemed worthy of preservation in the National Film Registry in 2012 and for better or worse, there it remains.
If you’ve seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, what did you think about it and Mancini’s music for it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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