Movie Monday: Sabrina 1954

I’m not really much of an Audrey Hepburn fan, to be perfectly honest. What?! Say it ain’t so! Oh, it’s so. I once had someone forego the usual “What’s your favorite movie” question (always impossible to answer!) for a better one. “What popular movie do you dislike?” My answer? Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Don’t hate me. It’s partially Audrey’s character (and a little bit just Audrey), partly the slap-you-in-the-face-with-symbolism, and maybe just all of the hype surrounding the movie. But to be fair, there are a select few Audrey movies I unabashedly enjoy. Sabrina is one of them.

Sabrina Fairchild grew up in a somewhat lonely existence with her chauffeur father on the expansive estate of the Larabee family- a big business American family with two sons Sabrina finds immensely interesting. As she comes of age, she had already developed an intense crush on the younger Larrabee son, David (William Holden), but can only watch from a distance as he makes love, and consequently weds, one girl after another. Her  father sends her away to cooking school in Paris, hoping she will grow up a bit while she’s gone, forget her hopeless crush, and gain a useful skill for someone of her station. In Paris, she makes friends with an old baron who makes her his pet project, and returns her to America with trunks of glamorous French clothes, a new fashionable hair style, and loads of sophistication. She’s still in love with David. But this time she might have a chance.

Elated over David’s sudden attention to her, Sabrina thinks her girlish dreams might have a chance of coming true, after he breaks off his engagement, of course. But her father fears David isn’t serious about Sabrina, and the older Larrabee brother, Linus (Humphrey Bogart), is worried about maintaining an important business alliance that would be formed with David’s marriage- enough for Linus to try to make Sabrina fall in love with him, to keep her away from David. So while Sabrina’s head stays in the clouds of her romantic whims, she’s actually being strung along for the ride- just a pawn for the two Larrabee brothers’ game. And she’s finding herself quite confused. Which brother is it that she loves? And do either of them love her in return?

So why do I love this movie so much? The cast is varied and each actor plays very well against the others- even despite the age gap between Hepburn and Bogart. The storyline is engaging, the characters are more complex than you’ll find in an average romcom, and the omniscient point of view the audience is given really enhances the tension that Hepburn already makes quite palpable as her character develops through the film. You’ll find a delightful amount of humor and wit sprinkled through the whole movie, without any silly scenes, or cringe-worthy shtick. It’s no surprise that Billy Wilder (a favorite of mine) directed and worked with playwright Samuel Taylor to adapt the story to film, because it’s done quite wonderfully and stands on its own as a memorable, endearing film that far outshines the 1995 version in every way.

Watch Sabrina instantly here (free for Amazon Prime members).

21 Responses

  1. Kayla says:

    If I recall correctly, it was Sabrina where Audrey had a line something like, “I hate girls who giggle all the time.” That line has always resonated with me, not only because I feel the same way, but that was such a strong statement at the time to a) be made by a woman, and b) to be made by a woman about another woman! I’ve never been one of those girls to just kind of ‘fall into place,’ so hearing that statement made me feel a little better about being so… un-ladylike. :)

    • Mandi says:

      Yes! This is the one. And I related to that line as well. Even though part of why she said it (probably most of why she said it) was because the girl who was giggling, was giggling over David’s flirting with her. And Sabrina was jealous. Although, to be fair, after Sabrina’s return from Paris, she is far more sophisticated and held-together than the giggly blond at the Larrabee party that one night.

  2. I reviewed this and posted about it yesterday myself (not as much as you did though). I had never seen it until a week ago. I am not a big Audrey Hepburn fan either, but I do like some of her films . I never saw the remake at all, but this was a very sweet movie. I loved the storyline.

  3. Courtney says:

    I just added this to my Netflix queue! Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t care for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I was super excited to see it because of how much everyone raves about it, but I just wasn’t terribly impressed. In general I think I prefer Katharine Hepburn to Audrey.

    • Mandi says:

      I used to really dislike Katharine Hepburn. I think it was because of specific roles I had always associated her in from my childhood. I really disliked her in Philadelphia Story. But since then, I’ve watched more of her later movies, and really love her! Funny how opinions can change. :)

  4. Candace says:

    I’ve always liked Audrey, but never liked Katharine Hepburn – can’t handle her voice! But, to each her own, ya know? Sabrina is such a good one…I love the scenes when she’s in chef school.

    Rented one of your other recommendations: Pillow Talk…excited to watch it this week! I think I’m going to love Doris Day.

    • Mandi says:

      Yes- her voice can be a bit grating at times! ha! She is my favorite actor to impersonate, though. Whenever someone says something about “pants,” I always say, “They’re not pants, they’re slacks. And watch your language!” I think that line was from Pat and Mike, but I’m not even sure any more. Anyways… she was quite a character!

      I hope you enjoy Pillow Talk! I think it is a lot of fun. :)

      • Candace says:

        Ha ha! She did have some good lines, that’s for sure. I actually did like her in the film Holiday, I had forgotten about that one.

        Watched Pillow Talk last night with my man, and we both loved it! Rock Hudson is completely irresistible in it, and so funny! Great movie!

        Good luck with everything this week – and early congratulations on your little bundle!

  5. Kristian says:

    Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one who dislikes Breakfast at Tiffany’s (I feel like the movie isn’t sure what type of genre it is. Also Hepburn was miscast. It would have been interesting to have seen Monroe in that role though…)

    Sabrina was reviewed over on my blog just a week or so ago (Great minds?). Its one I like because of how charming it is. Some of the messages about love are rather awful (though it makes for complex characters), but everyone and everything is so charming it carries you away…

  6. Meredith says:

    (When it comes to movies) In most cases, but not all, I prefer the original to the remake. Not so with Sabrina. Blasphemy, right? I stinking LOVE the 1995 Sabrina starring Julia Ormond. I don’t know what it is…maybe because Greg Kinnear is so cute, or maybe because I think some of the comedic moments are really spot-on (“I was up to my elbows in your underwear drawer…it was like touching the shroud of tourin!”)….or, maybe I just need to watch the original one more time.

    • Mandi says:

      I didn’t mind the remake, but I had to agree with the critics I read that the original was the best. Buuut I am not a movie critic, and everyone is, of course, entitled to like what they like! :)

  7. Deanna says:

    Ooooh! I ADORE this movie. It was my first introduction to Hepburn years ago. It’s one of those films that I keep on watching.

  8. kendra says:

    I don’t like Breakfast at Tiffany’s either. I tried.
    My all time favorite Audrey movie is Charade. But Sabrina is a very close 2nd. The older i get, the more i prefer Katherine Hepburn to Audrey.
    But Audrey’s clothes in this movie…my word. The gown she wears is so gorgeous. Especially when I found out the dress was pink and the layers of tulle were multi colored!

  9. Lea says:

    Oh I love this movie. I’ve seen all Audrey Hepburn movies (Have a DVD Collection) and this is one of the best ones ?.

  10. Sabrina is excellent, I wrote a post a while back about Audrey Hepburn movies. I do like them, Charade and How to Steal a Million are my favourites. I do love Sabrina too. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a weird one, I always feel like it never really gets moving, but there are some scenes I love. x

  11. Suzy8track says:

    Sabrina is such a fun film…but my favorite Audrey film has to be Roman Holiday. I will agree with you that Breakfast at Tiffany’s has some cringe-worthy moments (especially Mickey Rooney), but I do adore the scene where they are in the five and dime store and steal those masks…just too bad the movie doesn’t have more moments like that.

    • Mandi says:

      Roman Holiday is my favorite Audrey movie too! We just love Gregory Peck in our family, though. :) I know it’s somewhat of a chick-flick movie, but Phil (my husband) says that Roman Holiday is one of his favorite movies. That made me a happy wife. :)

  12. Letty says:

    I love the scene in Paris where she’s taking a cooking class and forgot to switch on the oven altogether. Hilarious moment when the chef reviews and comments on the different soufflés and how they are just a mirror of the character’s personalities. (And how he immediately poinpoints she “suffers” from unrequited love!) I’m definitely a Hepburn fan but must admit that Breakfast at Tiffany’s has always puzzled me. I agree with the previous comment, Roman Holiday is brilliant and probably fits Audrey Hepburn best.