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Immensely charming comedy set among the Long Island homes in which a
Cinderella-type role gets closely involved with the wealthy Larrabies
.While she was growing up, Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn's suitable
charming), the chauffeur's (John Williams) daughter , spent more time
perched in a tree than she ever did on solid ground watching the
Larrabee family , one of the US wealthiest families and she covets the
dissolute David (William Holden).As she is the chauffeur's daughter on
their lavish Long Island estate . Sabrina was invisible behind the
branches, but she knew them all below... There is Oliver Larrabee
(Walter Hampden), the modern patriarch of the Larrabee Corporation;
Linus Larrabee (Bogart), the serious older son who expanded a
successful family business into the world's largest business company;
and dashing David, the handsome, fun-loving Larrabee, who was the
center of Sabrina's world and still harbors feelings for her crush: a
carefree playboy, but not before his business-focused brother has
something to say about it.. Until she was shipped off to Paris and she
blossoms into a swan . After two years stay on Paris, she has just
returned from a French cooking school managed by a likable cooker
(Marcel Dalio) . Sabrina has gone back to the Larrabee estate, but now
she has blossomed into a beautiful and sophisticated woman. Linus
decides to trans Sabrina's affections from his feckless brother David
to himself in order to protect a business merger . But also David falls
in love for Sabrina . Then enter older brother Linus who plays a risked
game when he proposes to entice Sabrina from David taker her back to
Paris and dump her.
Amusing and funny movie based on the play ¨Sabrina fair ¨ by Samuel Taylor . This romantic comedy is intelligently and pleasingly written to gives us lots of fun , laughters and smiles . The hit of the show is undoubtedly Audrey Hepburn who gives one of the best screen acting as ugly duckling having undergone a remarkable change ; Holden seems more relaxed and sympathetic than usual and of course Humprey Bogart is awesome as grumpy older brother and workaholic business mogul . Emotive and romantic musical score by the classic Friedrich Hollander and atmospheric black and white cinematography by Charles Lang . This slick, smooth comedy is stunningly written and directed by the genius Billy Wilder . It belongs his first and better period during the 40s and 50s when realized sensational and acerbic films as ¨Double indemnity¨, ¨Ace in the hole¨ , ¨Sunset Boulevard¨, ¨Stalag 17¨ and ¨Seven year itch¨ ; subsequently in the 60s and 70s he realized nice though unsuccessful movies as ¨Buddy buddy¨,¨Fedora¨ , ¨Front page¨and ¨Secret life of Sherlock Holmes¨. Rating : Above average , essential and indispensable watching ; extremely funny and riveting film and completely entertaining . It justly deserves its place among the best romantic comedy ever made . It's the kind of movie where you know what's coming but , because the treatment , enjoy it all the same .
This fairy tale is remade in 1995 in inferior version directed by Sidney Pollack with Harrison Ford (Bogart's role) , Julia Ormond (Hepburn's character) and Greg Kinnear (William Holden) .
This mayn't be the best of Billy Wilder's films, but it is one of his most underrated. As a romantic comedy, it is funny, sophisticated and moving, with beautiful production values, a delightful script and sparkling performances. Wilder's direction is great, while the story is clever and engaging. I also love the cinematography and especially Audrey Hepburn's dresses. The score is romantic, and the script is wonderful and sparkles like bubbles and champagne. I heard this film had a difficult production, if that were the case I don't think it showed. The performances are equally wonderful. The lovely Audrey Hepburn is radiant and charming, William Holden shows real star quality and despite the claims he hated doing Sabrina Humphrey Bogart(or so I think) is perfectly cast. In conclusion, this film is a gem. 10/10 Bethany Cox
Audrey Hepburn is a chauffeur's daughter who sets her sets her sights
on the playboy of the manor (William Holden) in "Sabrina," a 1954
comedy directed and written by Billy Wilder and starring the above plus
Humphrey Bogart as Linus, Holden's brother. Holden plays David - and
he's the man Sabrina has loved from childhood. When she returns from
studying cooking in Paris, she's grown into a beautiful, chic young
woman, and David notices her for the first time. Because David is
engaged to a "suitable" woman and fearful of him causing yet another
scandal with a woman, Linus tries to distract Sabrina by making a play
for her himself.
All the actors are superb, of course, if the casting is a tad odd. As usual, Hepburn is playing opposite men many years her senior - Holden by 11 years and Bogart by 30. People often ask the reason for this occurring again and again with Hepburn. The answer is easy. Though she is actually of the Tab Hunter-Robert Wagner era, which is the first group after the Golden Age of Hollywood, Hepburn was a much bigger star and much more sophisticated than anyone of her generation of actors - as big and sophisticated, in fact, as stars of the golden age. Therefore, she was always cast with equals. Can you see her costarring with Tab Hunter? No. Sabrina is a perfect role for her - gamine, sophisticated in her Givenchy gowns, wide-eyed with that amazing smile. Bogart wanted Bacall in this role - she was too worldly to play Sabrina.
Originally the Bogart character was to be played by Cary Grant, which makes a little, if not a lot more sense. Holden's hair was dyed blond to give him a younger appearance. At 35, he is disarmingly handsome, very charming and quite funny. He and Bogart don't look much like brothers. A bigger problem, in my opinion, is that Hepburn and Bogart don't really click, as good as they both are in their roles, and they are great. When Wilder was asked about how difficult Bogart was, he shrugged it off. "Didn't he make fun of your accent?" the interviewer pressed. "Oh, everyone did that," Wilder said. "It doesn't matter. All was forgiven" - and he made reference to Bogart's dreadful death from esophageal cancer.
I know many will not agree, but the only downside of this film for me was the ending - without giving anything away, I just didn't buy it. However, it is highly recommended and a wonderful movie. You might not share my feelings about the ending, which will make it even more enjoyable.
Wilder told a story about not having the script finished and asking Hepburn to stall for time in filming the office scene where she pretends to be holding a board of directors meeting. "She would say she forgot a line..." Wilder recalled. "You see, what Marilyn did naturally, Audrey had to work at."
In "Sabrina" (1954) Audrey Hepburn plays the role of a chauffeur's
daughter named Sabrina Fairchild. Sabrina has always had her eye on a
man by the name of David Larrabee (William Holden), but David never
paid any attention to her. He lives in an estate with his wealthy
parents, his brother Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) and many
servants, as well as Sabrina and her father. Sabrina's father, Thomas
Fairchild (John Williams), sends her to Paris for several years to
study Culinary Arts, where at first all she could think of was David.
When she returned, she had matured, and David is still on her mind.
David finds her stunning and loves her. However, David is engaged to be
married, so Linus proposes a plan to ship Sabrina back to Paris without
David's knowledge. After spending several days together, Linus and
Sabrina fall in love with each other. Their love affair cause chaos and
confusion for everyone.
"Sabrina" is a classic romance movie with a twist of comedy and drama. This movie tells people everywhere that they can find love in places they would have never expected, even their own backyards. In many ways "Sabrina" follows the same format as the classic Cinderella story, in which a young, poor child grows up and falls in love with a rich, handsome prince, or in this film, a business man and his chauffeur's daughter who eventually fall in love.
Billy Wilder could not have chosen a more perfect person to play the role of Sabrina. Audrey Hepburn's innocence and charm makes Sabrina seem realistic. Hepburn's wardrobe for that time period makes her look the part of a young child turned fashion icon. Humphrey Bogart, on the other hand, seems a few years older than the character he is trying to portray, unlike his co-star William Holden. Holden does a wonderful job of playing the role of the wild, promiscuous male. Together the trio make a great team.
A wonderfully enjoyable Billy Wilder comedy-romance, 'Sabrina' works so
well because of the perfect casting of Audrey Hepburn as the lovestruck
chauffeur's daughter, Sabrina Fairchild. This is Hepburn's production,
and she is a delight in every scene. William Holden and Humphrey Bogart
are two of the most mismatched brothers you'll ever see on screen, but
they both turn in their customary solid performances to assist in
making 'Sabrina' one of the most lovely films of the 50's.
Sabrina Fairchild is a chauffeur's daughter who lives at the Larrabee estate. She has always been infatuated with handsome younger son David (Holden), a playboy and heart breaker if there ever was one. But he simply does not care for he nor notice her, and poor Sabrina has to watch on from a tree as he romances pretty ladies at a family party. Unhappy with her present state, she locks herself in the garage and turns on all the car engines, hoping the fumes will engulf her. Good old reliable Linus (Bogart), the elder brother to David, finds her in the nick of time, and saves her from what could have been a very nasty fate. After all, Sabrina is off to Paris soon.
In Paris she enjoys herself and meets a wealthy old Count who is only too happy to escort her to balls and buy her pretty things. She returns from Paris the epitome of glamorous perfection- just like the Audrey Hepburn we are used to. She's beautiful and sophisticated, and David does recognize her at first. Of course, she still wants David, and suddenly his blinders have been taken off and he starts to fall for her. A big problem crops up when Sabrina beings to fall in love with the sensible, less exciting yet kind Linus. Linus has feelings for her too, so what we have is a very intriguing brother-girl-brother love triangle! Hepburn is luminous as Sabrina, this may well be the film in which she looks her most beautiful. Her costumes by Givenchy are STUNNING, and Hepburn also proves her unique quality as an actress, turning in a very good performance. The early winsomeness and charm is there in droves, and everyone who sees this will very likely fall in love with her, just like the Larrabee brothers.
Holden and Bogart are good in their roles, with many viewers having a query with the significant age gap between Bogart and Hepburn. Yes, he is a lot older than her, but Bogart's control and skill as an actor make this seem less so. By embodying his character as a busy man who has not found the time to fall in love or the right girl who understands him to fall in love with, Bogart oversteps the trap of playing just a simple 'old guy looking for a young pretty girl to wait on him'. Bogart didn't like himself in the role, or the film, but many fans sure did and still do! Wilder's direction and script also contribute to making this film a classic. Beautiful, enchanting and romantic, 'Sabrina' is a wonderful film. I can't use enough superlatives to describe it, unfortunately.
The three stars, , Bogart Hepburn and Holden enliven this very cute romantic comedy. Hepburn (Sabrina) is lovesick over the carefree David Larrabee (Holden). She even attempts suicide but fails over her grief. So her father ships her off to Paris to learn about the world, sophistication and cooking. She returns a lovely and charming young lady. Hepburn looks absolutely breathtaking. I even rewound the DVD to catch a glimpse of her in her shorts. And those stems of hers, whoooieee! Just a little eye candy for 1954. Anyhow, Linus Larrabee (Bogart) courts Sabrina in an effort to distract her from David. He eventually succeeds. The reason was to prevent the wealthy Larrabee family from a scandal of getting hitched with their chauffeur's daughter. However, Linus finds himself falling in love with Sabrina, but tries desperately to hide it. Bogart is good as the dour and business-like brother. He even has some cool delivery with dry humored one-liners. Hepburn is absolutely luminous and doesn't miss a beat. Holden is good at times, although I wish they could have cast someone else. This is a cute romantic comedy of the 1950's and I hope it can be shared with the younger generation.
And, how would I sum up 1954's Sabrina in just one word? - Well - How
about the word "YUCK!" - Yeah - "YUCK!" pretty much covers it all for
Uh.... Please, allow me to elaborate a little bit on Sabrina's yuck-factor for you here.
And, it goes like this.... Single parent, Thomas Fairchild, has been a trusted, live-in chauffeur of the super-rich Larrabee family for many years now. Fairchild has a pretty, teenage daughter named Sabrina.
The mega-wealthy Larrabees have 2 grown sons. David (the dashing, alcoholic, playboy) is twice Sabrina's age. Linus (the dreary, alcoholic workaholic) is 3 times her age.... At different stages in this film's story both David and Linus go lusting after Sabrina.
And, when it comes to Sabrina's integrity - Does her father take a firm stand and adamantly object to the carnal pursuits of these 2 randy rich-brats?.... No. He doesn't.
Being obviously more concerned about his job rather than his daughter's virginity - Fairchild tells each of the lusting Larrabee boys that if they are going to pursue Sabrina, then (get this!) kindly do it in a way so that he can turn a blind eye to it.
Hello!? - If that kind of scenario isn't total "YUCK!", then I don't know what is!.... Need I say more?
And, speaking about actor Humphrey Bogart - Up until now - I had always
thought of him as being a cut-above-the-rest. But after reading what
went on behind the scenes of this picture - I've now changed my mind
about him, totally.
And, here's how the story goes - When Bogart found out how gutless his part as Linus Larrabee in this picture was he immediately turned into a big suck, sulking constantly and finding all sorts of ways to come into conflict with director, Billy Wilder, whom he blamed for this.
From hurling racist insults at Wilder, to refusing to take his direction - The huge rift that took place between these 2 on the set lasted for the entire duration of Sabrina's production.
This isn't the only reason why I gave this picture such a low rating - But it's one of the biggest reasons. And, I now think Bogart is a total ass. I can never watch another one of his pictures without being reminded of how childish he behaved here in this one. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't deserve the admiration that so many of his fans give him.
Sabrina, on the surface, is very much like a fairy-tale, but in that
context Billy Wilder gets to play around a bit. Not so much that the
material gets too dark- this isn't Sunset Blvd after all- but just
enough so that you and I know who the devil made it. It's a story of a
girl, dreamy-eyed Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn), a chauffeur's daughter, who
has had a crush on one of the two brothers of a prestigious/wealthy
family on Long Island all her life. But she is sent off to France to
learn how to cook, and she returns as a strikingly beautiful woman to
the brother David, who before saw her as just the chauffeur's daughter.
But before he can toss away his (next) marriage on Sabrina- not to
mention a merger of a plastics deal- the older, loner brother Linus who
runs the company, wants to try and sway Sabrina from being with
David... and in the process falls in love himself.
There is the romance, and the comedy, but also a firm study of class. It's interesting that it's Sabrina's father, Thomas Fairchild (John Williams) is even more opposed to her daughter dating a Larrabee than the patriarch Larabbee is. Why can't she just become a cook, he says, and be apart of that class? The patriarch has his concerns as well, but even Linus, after a momentary look at David thinking "what are you doing dancing with Sabrina" realizes David should be able to whatever he pleases - "It's the 20th century after all", he says. To which the father responds, "Why, I could pick a century out of a hat, blindfolded, and come up with a better one." And yet for Wilder's commentary, via the original play and screenplay, he also serves up some classic Hollywood escapism. What woman wouldn't want to have a kind of story like Sabrina's where love is just so much in or out of reach as to be unattainable, but things always seem bright (that is unless one has to sail off to Paris all by your lonesome).
And Wilder casts just perfectly well to suit the wonderful dialog; Hepburn makes this film, even more than her male co-leads, as an adorable figure, irrepressible but with some deeper subtext to her (watch her as she quietly contemplates her lot before her silly botched suicide letter/attempt in the garage). Bogart, despite criticism of being too old for the part, plays his notes of comedy, sincerity and uncertainly just right (I loved the scene on the sailboat where she asks about his past loves, and his response being classic Bogie). And despite his original misgivings with Wilder's sense of comedy, he rises to the occasion just as well as the naturally charming William Holden, who is given one of the longest but funniest ass-jokes in movie history.
Sabrina isn't the stuff of super-academic or intellectual movie-going. It's a perfect example, however, of how to do a fluffy-but-serious romantic comedy right. Writers (err hacks) who are assigned the drek that is meant to pass as the rom-com genre today should take a look back at Sabrina to see what makes characters likable or just meaningful, what makes a story work in such a context, and what the right casting can do even when the material is 'light' in nature.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sabrina (1954): Starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, William
Holden, John Williams, Nella Walker, Martha Hyer, Francis X. Bushman,
Walter Hampden, Marcel Hillaire, Joan Vohs, Marcel Dalio, Ellen Corby,
David Ahdar, Marjorie Bennett, Colin Campbell, Charles Harvey, Nancy
Kulp, Kay E. Kuter, Paul Harvey, Bill Neff, Emory Parnell, Marion Ross,
Emmet Morgan, Kay Rieh....Director Billy Wilder.
"Once upon a time in the north shore of Long Island".......
Released in 1954, director Billy Wilder's "Sabrina" was a highly popular romantic comedy and yet another smash hit for actress Audrey Hepburn, who was still a new star in the Hollywood firmament, having won the Oscar for her debut film Roman Holiday" in 1953, starring opposite Gregory Peck. She had been born in Belgium to a wealthy British banker and a Dutch baroness, survived the horror of siege and starvation in WWII. In the years following the wars, she delved into ballet and modeling. Before long, Hollywood became enamored of her. With her exotic voice, elfin charm and impossibly thin body, she was a different creature from the other Hollywood female stars of her day. Here she plays, Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of a chauffeur to a wealthy family, the Larrybees, in Long Island, presumably in the early to mid 50's. She has always nurtured a secret crush on the spoiled and careless playboy David Larabee (played by William Holden who dyed his hair blonde for the role). To get over him and to learn a trade, her father sends her to a cooking school in Paris. There she meets an old Baron who teaches her to be sophisticated and worldly, in hopes she'll return to attract David. She returns to discover that David is engaged, although he is now drawn to the new Sabrina. Before long, David's uptight, workaholic businessman brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) also falls for Sabrina. The tide turns when Sabrina returns Linus' newly-sprung affection. The romantic comedy was quite modern in its theme of social climbing and going after what you want, making Audrey Hepburn a very modern heroine in the movies. But the touchy subject of class and social status, as well as liberal ideas such as going after what you want, is never drilled into the viewer's brain with sharp pain but is instead beautifully handled as a romantic comedy and leaves a good taste in your mouth. Audrey Hepburn, who would become a fashion icon, wears the gorgeous Oscar-winning costumes by Edith Head and her long time French designer Givenchy quite well, but her acting is always above reproach, making her more than simply a model in front of a movie camera. She was able to suffuse the otherwise bland role with enough wit and punch as to make her sympathetic. Veteran star Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) is simply wonderful and in the latter scenes with Hepburn there is quite a lot of chemistry between them. This "Cinderella" type story is incredibly well-written, with an unabashed satirical commentary on the pretentious upper-class and the social class barriers, which was as much a problem in the 50's as it is today, believe it or not. Sabrina is far from being a gold digger, for she is capable of really loving both David and Linus and if she is going after what she wants, this is a modern trait that women at the time would applaud. Hepburn's charm and girlish spirit keeps her from appearing like some cold-hearted gold-digger. Rather than pulling a few tricks to get the rich man of her dreams, she merely blossoms into beauty and "becomes who she really is". As usual, she is paired with an older man, Bogart in this case, as she was to do in later films- with Fred Astaire in "Funny Face" ('57), with Cary Grant in "Charade" ('63), etc; this always done to emphasize Hepburn's youthful appearance. As in "Funny Face" and even "My Fair Lady" (64), Hepburn goes from plain, unattractive girl to beautiful woman in a classic ugly duckling/swan transformation. This film is greatly responsible for the inspiration of later films, such as Gary Marshall's 1990 movie "Pretty Woman". In 1995, a re-make of "Sabrina" was released, starring Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford, a beautiful if strangely diverse updated and modern tribute to this classic film. Original music by Frederick Hollander, providing the movie with romanticism and nice melodies, art direction by Walter Tyler and Hal Pereira and fine cinematography by Charles Lang. This is a great movie with lots of heart and a classic of 50's American cinema. Look for such interesting tidbits as Humphrey Bogart's "Casablanca" fedora hat, a mention of "The Seven Year Itch" which was a play at this time and would be director Billy Wilder's next film, a film which would make a greater star out of Marilyn Monroe and look for a small bit part played by Marion Ross (the mother in "Happy Days").
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