Sabrina (1954)

SabrinaSuggested by Brad Nelson • Bogie and Holden are the mega-rich Larrabee brothers of Long Island. Bogie’s all work, Holden’s all playboy. But when Sabrina, daughter of the family’s chauffeur, returns from Paris all grown up and glamorous, the stage is set for some family fireworks.
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3 Responses to Sabrina (1954)

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    A classic? Yes. Great? I don’t think so. But it’s a movie all film fans should see at least once…and leave it at that.

    I didn’t find my second viewing of this after many years to go over that well. The stars certainly shine with Bogie, Hepburn, and Holden. But Holden’s character is very one-dimensional. He’s your basic sock-puppet to the needs of the plot. Hepburn is elegant, but we don’t experience anything significant from her transformation from rough girl to sophisticated woman.

    Bogart is the draw here. And you may realize how much of his career was wasted on one-dimensional gangster or thug roles, as good as he may have been in them. He fleshes out his character very well, never playing the simplistic stereotype of the all-business businessman as we are kept guessing about his true thoughts and motivations regarding Sabrina.

    The second star of this film is Bogart’s high-rise office. Art direction is central in this film as much of the action takes place there. Pity that the movie’s in black-and-white. But we see the cool (for the time) high-tech gadgetry that is at this captain-of-industry’s command, as well as the best architecture and furnishings of the era.

    I consider Hepburn’s best film to be “Charade” with Cary Grant where there is wonderful chemistry between the two. One must simply guess about the chemistry between her and Bogie. It’s assumed at the end, but it doesn’t quite make the screen. But there is plenty to admire about Hepburn’s perfect face and neck line. Again, pity this movie was in black-and-white and that she didn’t have a few more change of clothes. But no one has ever made black-and-white look better than Hepburn.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Oh . . . Audrey Hepburn, not Katharine. I would agree on the merits of Charade (I can also recall some of the promo for it I saw back at the time), but I don’t know if that’s her best performance. Check out the superb thriller Wait Until Dark, in which Hepburn as “the world’s champion blind lady faces the effort of drug gangster Harry Roat (Alan Arkin) and a pair of con men (played by Richard Crenna and Jack Weston) to recover a doll stuffed with heroin. (One wonders how many people, if they were blind and broke every lightbulb in order to be on even terms, would remember the bulb she crucially forgot.) I once alternated between this movie and the 7th game of the World Series, purely on the recommendation in King’s Danse Macabre</i.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I mean to screen “Charade” again because it’s been quite a while. But I remember this as one of Cary Grant’s best films as well. This may be sacrilege, but I find many of his comedic roles to be tiresome. But not this one. And I think he’s great in “It Takes a Thief” as well.

        The thing about Audrey Hepburn is that she’s elegant in a way few other screen women have ever been. And she’ll never be mistaken for a boy as many fashion models could be these days as the androgynous look is in (or the heroin look). But I’ve never found her drop-dead boom-boom sexy. I guess there are all types of female appeals. But what she’s got, she’s got like few others have ever had.

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