My Huckleberry Friend

It’s pre-dawn on 5th Avenue. The normally bustling shopping thoroughfare is improbably empty. As the morning sun peaks over the horizon, a taxicab pulls up and a vision in black emerges from the backseat.

In a stunning Givenchy black gown, upswept hair, black arm gloves, five strands of pearls, and sunglasses, Audrey Hepburn gazes longingly up at the name “TIFFANY’S” inscribed in the polished marble, and a 1960s icon of glamour and elegance is born.

The main titles for BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961) contain one of the most famous openings of any film. The visuals tell us everything we need to know about Hepburn’s Holly Golightly for the moment: she is a woman of impeccable–and expensive–taste. Yet Mancini’s music plays against that image with a heartbreaking melody that tells us the jewels hide a deeper pain underneath.

A gently strumming orchestra and a barely audible chorus back the plaintive sound of a harmonica playing Henry Mancini’s classic melody for “Moon River.” The tune’s gentle strains set the proper elegiac tone for this simple, and somehow lonely, scene. Johnny Mercer’s famous lyrics haven’t been heard yet. It all relies on Mancin’s music.

No one but Hepburn could make a Danish and coffee seem like breakfast at the Four Seasons. And no one but Mancini could tell the emotional story behind that simple meal with such understated grace.

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