Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

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Released 8-Jun-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1961
Running Time 109:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Blake Edwards
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Audrey Hepburn
George Peppard
Patricia Neal
Buddy Ebsen
Martin Balsam
Mickey Rooney
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
French
Italian
Spanish
Greek
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Finnish
Dutch
Turkish
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The romantic comedy Breakfast At Tiffany's is one of Audrey Hepburn's signature films. It was the winner of two Oscars; Best Score for a Drama or Comedy and Best Song. It was also Oscar nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Set Decoration and Audrey Hepburn was nominated for Best Leading Actress.

    It tells the story of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), a New York socialite who is looking for a rich eligible man to marry. Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a struggling writer, moves into the apartment above Holly and they quickly become friends. As Paul's career is currently on hold, he is sponsored by a wealthy married woman Mrs. Falenson (Patricia Neal).

    As time progresses, Paul finds himself falling for Holly, who is constantly involved in short unfulfilling relationships. Unfortunately, Holly is determined to marry a rich man so that she will be able to easily support herself and her brother (who is soon to leave the army) in the lifestyle which she has become accustomed to. After a disagreement, Paul moves out of the building and Holly begins to date a Brazilian millionaire whom she plans to marry and move to Brazil with. Paul must convince Holly that they should be together before it is too late.

    Breakfast At Tiffany's is based on the best-selling novel by Truman Capote and depicts the care-free high life of the New York social scene at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a highly enjoyable romantic comedy and despite the fairly shallow plot is a pleasure to watch.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer is of high quality considering the age of the source material, but unfortunately is let down by a small number of problems.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio for this film was 1.85:1. I was unable to determine whether the transfer is slightly panned and scanned or, as I would assume, the matte opened slightly. The disc is Auto Pan & Scan Encoded. Engaging Auto Pan & Scan mode cuts off the logo and title information and provides an excellent example of why Pan & Scan should not be used.

    The transfer is at no point razor sharp and during a number of scenes appears quite soft. This can be blamed on the source material and is very common in films of this age. There is no low level noise visible during this transfer. During the few darkly-lit scenes, shadow detail remains acceptable for a film of this age and at no time poses a problem for the viewer.

    During a number of shots, edge enhancement has been used. This may have been done to compensate for the slightly soft shots but the results are quite distracting to the viewer.

    The colours presented in this transfer appear slightly muted as you would expect considering the age of the film.

    MPEG artefacts do not pose any problems for this transfer and only one is visible, at 12:05 during a shot of a intricate screen. This shot lasts only a couple of seconds and the artefacts are unlikely to be noticed by most viewers.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts can be seen during this transfer with examples at 44:38, 48:28, 91:20, 94:17 and 97:48. The duration of these artefacts is only a few seconds each and they are only slightly distracting to the viewer.

    The main area where this transfer is let down is in the presence of grain. The opening shot of the film shows copious amounts of grain which continues for the duration of the film. Initially, this is very distracting to the viewer but as you watch the film you become accustomed to, but can never ignore, its presence throughout. There are also numerous scratches and flecks present during the transfer as you would expect from a film of this age. Examples of these can be seen at 0:09, 7:44, 24:14, 42:00 and 69:57 but at no stage are they distracting to the viewer.

    The subtitles present on this disc are white with a black outline and are presented in a slightly thinner font than most other transfers. While I had no problems reading these subtitles at any stage, I did find them slightly harder to read than the thicker fonts present on most discs.

    The layer change occurs at 76:00 at the start of Chapter 11 during a natural fade-to-black and is not disruptive to the viewer at all.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The only English audio track present on this disc is a remastered 5.1 Dolby Digital 448 kbps track. There are also German, French, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 192 kbps mixes on the disc. It should be noted that the 2.0 mixes are approximately 6db louder than the 5.1 mix. I listened primarily to the English mix and briefly sampled each of the others.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand during this transfer. There was no discernible problems with sync at any stage during the film. No dropouts or other problems were detected at any stage of the transfer.

    The Oscar winning score by Henry Mancini significantly consists of the Oscar-winning song 'Moon River' played with many different variations. Personally, I found this to be quite annoying and repetitive as the film progressed but others will undoubtedly enjoy it.

    The 5.1 mix is highly focused across the front three audio channels with the surrounds being minimally used to support the score and provide ambient effects during the numerous crowd and party scenes.

    The .1 channel is used minimally to support the score and its presence at any other time was not detected.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The only extra provided on this disc is the original trailer which is very disappointing. The addition of some biographical or production information would have been highly appreciated.

Menu

    The non animated menu is 16x9 enhanced and has also been encoded with 4:3 pan and scan information. The result of this information is that both 16x9 viewers and 4x3 viewers, including letterbox, are presented with a full screen menu.

Trailer

    The original theatrical trailer (2:31) is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. A large number of film artefacts can be seen but this is to be expected for a trailer of this age. The trailer provided an interesting insight into the changes that have occurred in film marketing over the years.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     If you are interested in the additional language choices, then the Region 4 release is the clear winner.

Summary

    Breakfast at Tiffany's is a romantic comedy that remains highly enjoyable for viewers today.

    The video presented on this disc is acceptable for a film of its age but is let down by excessive grain and the use of edge enhancement.

    The 5.1 English mix for this film is very effective and thankfully has not been aggressively remixed.

    The extras presented on this disc are extremely limited and could have been greatly improved upon.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Deserves a better transfer - cztery REPLY POSTED