Second Time Around

Breakfast at Tiffany's
When Audrey Hepburn broke through in 1953's Roman Holiday, studio flacks dubbed her "the screen's most adorable new star." But "adorable" doesn't come close to capturing her wit and winsomeness; she had a bounty of spontaneous humor and emotion that made her the princess of slacking off. The centerpiece of Roman Holiday was a day the royal heroine spent doing whatever she wanted with a commoner, and in 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's, playing Saturday night at Oakland's Paramount, a flaky but self-assured Hepburn leads George Peppard (as a struggling writer) on a similar day off in Manhattan. As brought to the screen by director Blake Edwards, screenwriter George Axelrod, and Hepburn, Truman Capote's gold-digging Holly Golightly is little more than a lovable "kook" with a tragic past. But her glamorous, metropolitan silliness hit a responsive chord in the loosening climate of Camelot. Months after the film's release, girls from grade to grad school put down guys with Golightly phrases like "quel beast" -- a tribute to Hepburn's elfin delivery. Hepburn also introduced the song "Moon River," which swiftly became the slow dance of choice at platter parties, proms, and sock hops.

-- Michael Sragow

Breakfast at Tiffany's screens Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. at the Paramount, Broadway & 19th Street in Oakland. Tickets are $5; call (510) 465-6400.

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