Friday, April 24, 2020

#2020PopCultureResolution - Sabrina


Director: Billy Wilder

Length:  113 minutes

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden

Release Date:  September 91954

Synopsis: Chauffeur's daughter Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) returns home from two years in Paris a beautiful young woman, and immediately catches the attention of David (William Holden), the playboy son of her father's rich employers. David woos and wins Sabrina, who has always been in love with him, however their romance is threatened by David's serious older brother, Linus (Humphrey Bogart), who runs the family business and is relying on David to marry an heiress in order for a crucial merger to take place.


Sabrina is one of those movies that pops up on all those must see movie lists. It's considered one of the must sees as part of your classic Hollywood education.

Audrey Hepburn is luminous in that way she so often is. Her delicate beauty felt highlighted here, particularly when her returns from Paris. You can see how both of the brothers would have their heads turned by her. She radiates such a presence on the screen and you instantly care about her character.

The rest if the cast is equally well suited to their roles. William Holden nails the flighty, entitled playboy role. I have not seen many Bogart movies but this (and Casablanca) made me appreciate his particular brand of charisma and swagger. He is suited to the role of the more serious brother who is more than a little guarded.

The movie definitely has elements that showcase it has a product of the time it was made in. The only moment that shocked me is the casualness in which they present a suicide attempt. It was the element that most felt like a product of the time the movie was made in.

The romance for me was the crux if this movie. I was not sure I was going to be invested in it st all. Sabrina is in love with David and has been for as long as she can remember. It is easy for the viewer to see that those feelings are misplaced. David has barely glanced in her direction and seems every inch the rich, spoiled, self involved playboy. I instantly felt Sabrina could and should do better. It is a testament to Audrey Hepburn's charm that you want Sabrina to get what she wants, even if the object if her affection seems unworthy.

David's about face when a more polished/glamorous Sabrina returns from Paris only served to generate more eye rolls from me (especially as he is already involved with someone else). It is not that it is not believable. Audrey Hepburn is probably the on actress I believe would have that sort of impact but it just continues to display the type of guy he is. It isn't until Linus enters the picture that I felt anything in regards to the romantic plot.

The chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart was one of my favourite things about this movie. There is a scene where he asks her how to say some phrases in French that are particularly swoon inducing. Their ease with one another and the way in which they play off eac other made watching them a delight. They both cause the other to reflect and change in ways that I really liked as well. Their chemistry is made all the more striking against the rumours that they did not get along on set.

The ending is as smile inducing and satisfying as one could hope for. There is even evidence of character growth and sibling love between the two brothers. It worked for me on so many levels and feels picture perfect for the story being told.

This may not be my favourite Audrey Hepburn movie (Roman Holiday is superior in my opinion) but it is up there on the list. There is plenty of charm, humour, and charisma to make this a worthy watch. It's also one I would consider on my own essentials of classic Hollywood list if I were to make one.

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