Sabrina – Bogart, Hepburn and Holden

I finally watched the 1954 version of Sabrina last night. (I haven’t seen the 1995 version and don’t plan to. I don’t see how any actress can hope to outshine Audrey Hepburn).

I say I finally watched it because I’d heard about the movie for some time but hadn’t seen it. Since I’ve cancelled my DVD plan over at Netflix (I still have the streaming plan), I’m getting all my DVDs and Blu-Rays from the library now for FREE. Yes, I have to wait awhile before I can get the recently released movies, but I’ve got no lack of other stuff to watch and read while I wait.

Sabrina stars Hepburn, William Holden and Humphrey Bogart. Directed by Billy Wilder and written by Wilder and Samuel A. Taylor, the movie is pretty much a remake of the Cinderella story. Hepburn plays Sabrina Fairchild, the only daughter of a chauffeur who works for the wealthy Larrabees.

Holden is David Larrabee, the younger brother who is a bon vivant playboy. Bogart play Linus Larrabee, the older, stoic and more business-focused brother. Sabrina has been in love with David since she was a girl, but it’s unrequited love because David barely notices she’s around. That is, he doesn’t notice her until she goes off to Paris to a cooking school and returns all grown-up as a stunning beauty with impeccable fashion sense.  Seriously, Hepburn looks heavenly in every scene she’s in.

She doesn’t wear a lot of outfits in the movie, but the ones she does wear? Wow!

Audrey Hepburn’s looks in Sabrina

Even that last outfit, which is nothing more than a high-necked black top with a plunging back, slim black capri pants and ballet slippers is gorgeous. If you want to read more about the clothes in the film, click here.

I’m not a clothes horse by any means. I have about as much fashion sense and fashion style as a bowl of oatmeal. But I love looking at beautiful clothes and the costumes in this movie were stunning and, also, very evocative of Sabrina’s growth through the movie.

As for the movie, well, I’m afraid I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I really wanted to love this movie. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I’m a big fan of Billy Wilder. I love Sunset Boulevard (which also starred William Holden), Some Like it Hot, The Lost Weekend (still one of the most harrowing depictions of the deleterious effects of alcoholism) and Witness for the Prosecution, but Sabrina, despite how charming and effervescent Hepburn is in it, didn’t quite do it for me. I didn’t hate it, exactly. Not at all. But it didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.

Maybe it was seeing William Holden with blond hair, or maybe I just couldn’t get past how old Bogart was in comparison to Hepburn. I believe he was 30 years older than her at the time, with him in his 50s and she in her 20s. It didn’t exactly creep me out, but it was hard to get past.

So, all in all, I’ll have to give it only three popcorn boxes. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not my favorite of Wilder’s movies.

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I will, however, give five popcorn boxes for Audrey Hepburn. She was fun to watch, lovely as always and her outfits were tres bien.

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