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Sabrina is a movie that was made for Audrey Hepburn. She is simply charming
as the title character. The story is Cinderella like in that Sabrina, a
chauffeur's daughter with a crush on the playboy son of her father's
employer, goes to Paris and returns as a mature sophisticated lady who
charms everyone she meets.
The picture is enhanced by the direction of Billy Wilder and the casting of Humphrey Bogart and William Holden (Why did they make him blond?)as the Larabee brothers who vie for Miss Hepburn's affections.
But the film is clearly Miss Hepburn's and one can see why she was one of the most beloved actresses of her time. Watch Sabrina and you too will fall in love with her. A marvelous film.
Billy Wilder, a genius when it came to adapting films from another
medium, teamed up with Samuel Taylor, who wrote the play, "Sabrina's
Fair", and Ernest Lehman, to create a a delightful comedy that will
remain an old favorite because of the great charm the creative men
imbued this movie with.
Some comments on this forum remark about the disparity of age between Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. They all seem to forget that Ms. Hepburn played opposite with men much older than her, namely, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, Fred Astaire, Gregory Peck, just to name a few. The actress was always effective and showed she had an enormous charisma no matter who was her leading man.
"Sabrina" looks as good today, as when it was first released thanks to the timeless black and white photography of Charles Lang. The big asset of the film was the unusual pairing between Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. Both actors were wonderful together, as we witness in the film. William Holden, as the younger Larrabee, is excellent as well.
The film is a delightful comedy that, in comparison to Sidney Pollack's misguided and undistinguished attempt to bring it to the screen can't even compare with the witty and elegant film Mr. Wilder gave us.
A lot of things work together to make this an entertaining and
satisfying picture. With Billy Wilder's story-telling skill, Audrey
Hepburn's unsurpassed charm, plenty of talent in the rest of the cast,
and a worthwhile story, there is a lot of credit to go around.
The story is based the kind of interesting but slight premise that Wilder handles masterfully, and as a result the story is filled with both funny moments and thoughtful moments, all of which work well. There is a variety of well-chosen settings, always interesting but never pretentious.
Bogart and Holden both play their roles flawlessly. The two of them make an interesting combination with Hepburn, and it works even better than you could hope. John Williams also plays the proper English chauffeur as few others could have. There are also a number of good moments for the others in the supporting cast.
With all the other strengths, it may still be Hepburn's picture most of all.
In "Sabrina", she has a role that allows her quite a variety of scenes as her character grows and changes. It plays to all of her strengths, and makes Hepburn herself the most appealing aspect of an enjoyable and well-crafted picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, as I can't see it
stated anywhere else; I just have to write it down and see if anybody
at all agrees with me. It's very unwise for a Hollywood production to
have the stars they've cast shoulder all of the burden of trying to
make the script seem convincing.
I don't think the screenplay did a very good job at all of explaining just why these two men were so attracted to Sabrina (save for the fact that she happens to be played by one Audrey Hepburn... ) The character of the chauffeur's daughter behaves in the manner of an entitled brat - just because she can't have the man she wants, she writes a bitter little suicide note until she's shuffled off to Paris.
Upon her return, only her appearance has changed; her character still remains somewhat aloof, but she's discovered how to utilise her looks to twist men around her little finger. This has the effect of making the two vying suitors we're shown seem shallow. This is a perception that is only confirmed when one of them attempts to woo her using the same seduction techniques he's already tried out on dozens of other girls (yet Sabrina seems amused by this, rather than dissuaded!) Meanwhile, the older brother takes advantage by trying to kiss her under the pretence that he's acting in his missing sibling's stead (as if that type of advance would really go over smoothly... ?!)
Throughout the entirety of the film it felt like we were meant to harbour affection for these characters just by virtue of who was playing them; Sabrina/Audrey because of her elfin beauty and gauche naiveté, Linus/Bogart because the payoff is a reversal of what happens in Casablanca and he gets to be with the girl for once. I didn't buy their motivations as anything recognisably human, and therefore didn't derive much satisfaction from the resolution of the story...
I think that established persona's and star wattage should only be relied upon to achieve so much. The underlying construction of what they were given to work with just didn't seem solid enough to me. The one benefit to casting icons is that there are very few 'boring' scenes, there are just quite a few scenes that don't appear to make much narrative sense.
All I can say is Audrey Hepburn was the most attractive actress that I've ever seen, and she certainly proves this in this movie.Even in the beginning of Sabrina,Hepburn's voice-over instantly draws your attention to this attractive,well mannered actress.Then when you see Audrey for the first time,it is love at first sight-what a beautiful lady she was!Billy Wilder gets a thumbs up for selecting Hepburn as Sabrina-you could say that Hepburn was Sabrina.She had that unusual charm and magical beauty that very few actresses have(even today).If you get this movie,you'll fall in love with Audrey-just like I have.If you compare this movie to the 1995 remake,this movie wins hands down.Sadly,they don't make movies like this anymore.Am I an Audrey Hepburn fan?Of course I am! I always have been and I always will be.
The master of many genres, Billy Wilder, does his magic here with this
delightful comedy. Although maybe not one of his best, it still holds
up after over 50 years.
There has been a lot said about the casting of Bogart as Linus, the stuffy businessman and I disagree with most of it. I think that Bogart is perfect for the part of the seemingly humourless, financial wizard older brother. Granted, he is not the prettiest actor....never was.....he's a generation older than Audrey Hepburn.....and reportedly hated the movie and his co-stars. All that aside, he rose to the occasion and his playing of the role is subtle. Seeing him come to the realization that he is falling in love with Sabrina is so well done that it sneaks up on you.
Audrey Hepburn is just magical, as she always was.....there is nothing more to say about her....words fail me.
William Holden is surprisingly good in a comic role but why the blonde hair?
He's breezy, unreliable and thoroughly likable and it becomes obvious that Sabrina is much too good for him. However incongruous it may seem, she belongs with Bogart.
The support in this film is top notch.....John Williams....what a great British character; Walter Hampden is a scream as the drinking, cigar smoking father who just wants an olive for his martini. Look for Nancy Kulp as one of the service staff before her days as Jane Hathaway on Beverly Hillbillys.
This is a wonderful film........watch it, you won't regret it!
This is the reason why you watch movies. This is why people feel so
strongly about them, make them part of their lives, and love to talk
about them. It reminds us of what is good about the movies and makes us
long for a time when you can have this kind of talent, both in front of
and behind the camera, make wonderful,touching, hilarious films.
"Sabrina" may not be the best film that Wilder, Bogart, Holden, or Hepburn made, but it came along at a time when all four of them were going through the best part of their careers.
Holden was not too far removed from winning the Oscar for "Stalag 17" and was about to enter a "golden" period, starting with "The Country Girl" and continuing on until "Bridge on the River Kwai. Bogart ( a last minute replacement for Cary Grant), had just completed "The Caine Mutiny". Hepburn had just won the Oscar for "Roman Holiday", and Wilder had "Stalag 17" and "Sunset Boulevard" completed, and would have a string of hits that started with "Sabrina" and continue on until "One, Two, Three" in 1961.
All of the stars were properly aligned for "Sabrina". Although I think Grant might have been better in the part, Bogart worked hard to be semi-tough and likable. I'll be honest and say I found it disturbing to see him try to win over Hepburn. His features were too worn and hard to be completely winning. He and Holden worked well together, which is amazing when you consider they couldn't stand each other off screen.
Hepburn, of course, is gorgeous. She's the perfect combination of charming, elegant, tom-boyishness, and beauty.
Wilder does it again with his screenplay and directing. First he assembles an excellent supporting cast, especially Walter Hampden and John Williams. Then he keeps the comedy coming and seldom lets up for us to catch our breath. His use of the camera is terrific too. I love the shot of Bogart at his desk in the distance, while the camera shoots through several doorways.
Top notch production, first rate cast and wonderful screenplay and directing add up to a classic every movie lover should own.
9 out of 10
Audrey Hepburn as a mousy chauffeur's daughter? Yes, and she's beguiling trying to gas herself in the garage (before quickly cracking a window) because gorgeous, rich playboy William Holden doesn't notice her. But it's nothing that a little time away in Paris won't cure... Hepburn is absolutely radiant in this picture: dark brows over big Bambi eyes, sensual, flirtatious lips, and that long, long neck. She embodies the spirit of the Cinderella heroine, and director Billy Wilder milks her gamine appeal for all the millions it is worth. Holden is blithe and lively, and Humphrey Bogart manages to make his stuffy unease rather charming. Clever, biting, romantic, sweet, this version of "Sabrina" has it all. ***1/2 from ****
Audrey Hepburn plays Sabrina Fairchild, who goes to Paris as a girl and returns as a woman.Before she left Sabrina was interested in David Larrabee (William Holden) but he didn't show any interest on her.But things have changed as she comes back from Paris.She's not the same teen girl anymore.She's an attractive woman.And David notices that too.And so does David's brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart). Sabrina (1954) was directed by one of the greatest directors of all time, Billy Wilder.The acting work is unique.Audrey Hepburn, who is one of the most beautiful women of all time, does her job very well.Not only was she beautiful, she was also extremely talented.You could always trust on William Holden and Humphrey Bogart.They were both brilliant.This is a very well written movie.The comedy and the romance both work just great in this movie.Sabrina was made fifty years ago but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work today.Great romantic tales will always work.
Sabrina (Hepburn) is a chauffeur's teenage daughter, who longs to live a
life of luxury. David (Holden) is the younger of her employer's two sons,
and has been married a number of times. Linus (Bogart), the older one, is
interested only in the stock market, having no time for women. Sabrina has
loved David her whole life, but he "doesn't even know she exists". Trying
to rid herself of him, she decides to leave for Paris, where she attends a
cooking school. Sabrina returns later, looking like a glamorous woman of
the world, and David falls for her.
I don't want to say any more, but I advise everyone to immediately go rent this movie. I promise you that if you are a fan of any of the cast members, enjoy old movies, or have seen the remake, you will thoroughly enjoy this classic.
Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart give fabulous performances in "Sabrina" (1954).
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