Monday, January 5, 2015

Movie of the Week – Sabrina

This week’s movie: Sabrina (1954)

Sabrina Fairchild, the chauffer’s daughter, grew up on the outside, always looking in on the very rich Larrabee family, falling deeply in love with playboy David Larrabee, though he never noticed her. The night before she is set to leave for Paris to take a two-year cooking class, Sabrina foolishly attempts suicide because she is invisible to David. Her plot is foiled when David’s older brother Linus discovers her. Now, two years later, Sabrina is back from Paris, and has matured into a beautiful woman. Now, she has David’s attention; however, David is engaged to the heiress to a grand sugar cane empire. If David were to mess things up with her, it would mess up Linus’s latest business venture. Thus, Linus schemes to steal Sabrina’s affections to keep his business deal live, but will he actually allow himself to fall in love too?

The film is  written and directed by auteur Billy Wilder, who is responsible for many of American Cinema’s greatest romantic comedies (like: Some Like It Hot and The Apartment). He also had a deft dramatic hand (with films such as: Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Ace in the Hole, Stalag 17, and Witness for the Prosecution). He worked with great cinematographer Charles Lang, art director Hal Pereira and wonderful costume designer Edith Head (who won Oscar’s for both Sabrina and Roman Holiday, dressing Audrey Hepburn).

The film stars Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. It features Walter Hampden and John Williams in support.

Sabrina is a lovely romantic comedy, led by its wonderful lead actors. Today, a lot is being made of the difference in age between male and female leads in Hollywood films. Here in Sabrina, Hepburn is eleven years younger than Holden and thirty years younger than Bogart (in Roman Holiday she is thirteen years younger than Gregory Peck and in Charade she is twenty-five years younger than Cary Grant though she is three years older than her How to Steal a Million co-star Peter O’Toole, by comparison). It seems to be a phenomenon, for better or worse, that has always existed in Hollywood and not a modern occurrence. Maybe, now, filmgoers are more conscious of it, so it sticks out more. Anyway, back to Sabrina. Audrey Hepburn burst into stardom with Roman Holiday. She could not have had a better follow-up than Sabrina, as she aptly holds her own against two of the era’s greatest actors (she was nominated for her second Oscar for her performance). The film has many memorable moments (the scenes in the Paris cooking school, Oliver Larrabee’s epic battle with a jar of olives, and pretty much every scene with Hepburn, who glides across the screen). It is a must-see for fans of Hepburn and classic Hollywood films.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

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