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Film Criticism by David O'Connell

Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina

July 16th 2008 03:22
Though not normally the type of film I’m likely to be drawn to, this romantic comedy from 1954 is actually a treat with its stellar cast and, of course, the great Billy Wilder at the helm – one of cinema’s true giants, and director of some of the greatest films ever made like Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity. His films are always worth seeing but somehow this one had never appealed to me, but as all good men can attest to - with a member of the female persuasion around we sometimes get led down new paths of viewing……………..i.e. the remote control is often no longer in our hands! (;


Audrey Hepburn is Sabrina Fairchild, the depressed chauffeur’s daughter, living on the same property as the wealthy Larrabee family, including 2 sons - the pompous, superficial playboy David (William Holden), who Sabrina adores, but he doesn’t even know she’s alive. Then there’s his older brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart), who saves Sabrina from taking her own life one night at the height of her depression but seems interested in little in life other than his business fortunes.


The beautiful Sabrina


To give her a taste of new experiences she’s soon sent by her father all the way to Paris to learn how to cook from those notorious master Frog chefs, and returns home transformed from an immature and insecure young girl to a beautiful young woman of sophistication, who looks and dresses differently, dazzling everyone with her new found confidence and grace. All her friends and Larrabee servants can hardly believe it’s their Sabrina, and when David chances upon her waiting at the station he offers her a lift without even recognizing her, so little has he ever paid attention to her in the past.


So, who will Sabrina end up with eventually? Will she choose the superficial man of her dreams who she’s always loved? Or is she after somebody with a little more substance? And who could that man possibly be!??


Will Sabrina fall for playboy David Larrabee?


This witty romantic comedy may be reasonably predictable, especially for those (not including me) who’ve seen Sydney Pollack’s 1995 remake with Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford, but it’s still a worthwhile experience. Even though it’s ultimately lightweight, it does have quite a few poignant dramatic scenes which dwell on one of the film’s main themes – that of class distinction, and how its unwritten rules of interaction are adhered to, often to the detriment of people finding true love or their ultimate happiness in life.

Or will she fall for the less obvious charms of Linus?


Audrey Hepburn is radiant and very memorable as Sabrina, though that posh accent was starting to rub splintered nails up my personal blackboard just a little by the end!!

Bogart is typically classy in a role which goes strictly against type for him...........it’s not a gun in his pocket anymore!

Holden’s playboy is a fairly unlikeable sort but he plays his part to the hilt and you can’t help being a little envious of him…………..until he sits on those champagne glasses!

Overall, Sabrina is an unexpected delight from the golden days of Hollywood; I wouldn’t have said this a week ago, but with a straight face I can now say - I recommend it!



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3 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Nathan 1

July 24th 2008 04:02
Hi David,

This film was very enjoyable and one of Audrey's best I think. She has always been good at playing the flaky roles and her depression in this is never taken to seriously which adds to that charm. It's definitely nice to see Bogart playing a less maverick role in this one.

Comment by David O'Connell

July 24th 2008 04:20
Thanks for the comment Nathan, it's definately up there with her best roles. The attempted suicide scene is actually very funny! It's a beautiful light-hearted film that really won me over in the end.

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