So as a disclosure of sorts, my wife and I chose Moon River as our first dance at our wedding. We actually picked it from a CD of waltz music as we were taking dancing lessons for the wedding.

I hadn’t really known that the song was from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We just happened to pick it out from a stack of DVDs at my parents’ place.

  • Nearly the entire score is built on the Moon River theme. You really don’t need a lot of material to win the Oscar for Best Score. The theme returns at different tempos, with different arrangements (including a wicked bossa nova on a record player). Audrey Hepburn even sings it on her fire escape.
  • Moon River is nearly perfectly constructed for Holly Golightly’s character. The title music begins with opulent strings, harp, and vibraphone. We see 5th avenue at dawn. Then melody enters…on harmonica. The contrast expresses Holly’s character – a New York society girl who came from humble roots in Texas (it also happens to be very sad, very romantic, and a real masterpiece of a song). Instrumentation can be a useful tool when planning a score – these kinds of choices can support the story and give the movie a unique sound.
  • As I’m watching more classic films I’m continually amazed at the borrowings and influences. Don Draper and Carrie Bradshaw are obvious examples of Holly Golightly characters. Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama is more explicit in its homage, with a marriage proposal inside Tiffany’s. Even 9 1/2 weeks borrows – you see shades of Holly and Paul’s shoplifting adventure when Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke are fool around in department stores and smoke shops.

Here’s the title sequence. What an opening shot.

Posted 9 years ago by John Piscitello

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