Things We Saw Today: Revisiting Holly Golightly’s Assumed Heterosexuality
I have been an Audrey Hepburn fan since I was a child.
I have so many memories of sitting on the couch with my father watching My Fair Lady and dancing on his toes to all the songs. I have had Audrey Hepburn calenders for almost a decade and I like to collect postcards and art books of her throughout the eras. All this to say that I love Audrey Hepburn … but I despise the movie Breakfast at Tiffany‘s. It is such a frustrating movie that when I finally picked up the novella it was based on by Truman Capote, I was wondering if the story would be any better.
It’s a lot better. At least for me. I know its a classic and beloved, but for me the romance makes me want to eye roll because Holly needs a good emotional support system and maybe some therapy, not a husband.
Beyond just content, there was also a lot of homosexuality that was cut out and romance added. As explained in this excellent piece in the Paris Review by Rebecca Renner, while not explicitly stated the narrator, Paul, is a gay man like Capote was and his delight and enchantment towards Holly is purely platonic. Holly herself also comes off as someone who … shall we say protests too much about not being a lesbian in the book. I don’t say that in judgment, but more as someone who has made those same protestations. The piece asks if there was a possibility that Holly was a bisexual woman referencing the following lines from the book (I am editing the slurs out):
“Of course I like d***s themselves. They don’t scare me a bit. But stories about d***s bore the bejesus out of me. I can’t put myself in their shoes.”
“Of course people couldn’t help but think I must be a bit of a d**e myself. And of course I am. Everyone is: a bit. So what? That never discouraged a man yet, in fact it seems to goad them on.”
When talking about remarrying, Holly says, “I’d settle for [Greta] Garbo any day. Why not? A person ought to be able to marry men or women or—” and then she moves on with the conversation, the comment dropped lightly.
Renner’s piece is excellent with the full breakdown of historical, film and academic context. I don’t want to spoil it all for you here so please go check it out! Also, if you have never read the novella, I suggest giving it a read, especially if you didn’t like the movie. Plus, in the novella, Mr. Yunioshi doesn’t have that terrible racist affectation because he isn’t being played by a white guy in yellowface.
Ugh, that movie.
Shout out to my favorite Hepburn film Roman Holiday:
- We might be getting a Lois Lane comic book series, which is in many ways fitting for the longtime Superman love interest and reporter and I hope she will have some fun work meetups with all the other female reporters across the DC Universe. (via Bleeding Cool)
- Bumblebee is so good it is literally alternating all the bad mythos of the prior Transformers movies. (via CBR)
- Cheo Hodari Coker has signed a deal Amazon, which means Netflix’s loss is Amazon’s gain as he will now be developing and produce new TV projects for the streaming service. (via THR)
- Kal Penn shared how both he and Maggie Q had to deal with racist bullshit on the set of Designated Survivor. (via IndieWire)
- After trolling people so heavily and getting so much attention Sasha Baron Cohen admits there is no way to do a season two now. (via SlashFilm)
Hope you are enjoying your Saturday and staying comfortable Bobby Hill style.
(via Paris Review, image: Paramount Pictures)
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