Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden
Director: Billy Wilder
Distributor: Paramount Golden Classics
It’s a scientific fact that Audrey Hepburn graced every film that she was in with a unique angelic quality. Well… maybe it hasn’t been proven in a laboratory but her natural enthusiasm and unbridled inner glow seems to add an extra dimension to even the most predictable screen story, making cynicism melt and eternal optimism blossom. Sabrina was only her second screen appearance following on from her Oscar winning debut in Roman Holiday and in it she radiates la vie en rose, even in black and white.
Paramount Studios bought the rights to Samuel Taylor’s stage play Sabrina Fair with Hepburn in mind before its Broadway opening and it’s the perfect star vehicle. In the title role she morphs from inconsequential chauffeur’s daughter to irrepressible worldly woman right before our eyes. The transformation is the result of a two year trip to Paris and a radical change of wardrobe. Before her departure, legendary costume designer Edith Head dressed her in childlike pinafores (and won an Oscar for her work too). Then, under Hepburn’s own instructions, the budding French couturier Hubert Givenchy took over, creating an absolument tres chic look with gorgeous cocktail frocks and kooky little hats to go with them – one in particular makes her look like an ab fab pre fab cat woman.
Her nouveau style can’t help but captivate the attention of playboy David (William Holden), youngest son of the Larrabee family whose Long Island estate has also been Sabrina’s home. For her entire life she has lived with her father above the enormous garage but until now, David has been oblivious to her presence, even though she has always had eyes only for him. But David is about to be betrothed (for the fourth time) and his new attraction threatens to spoil a big plastics deal that is riding on the marriage. So elder brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) intervenes putting David temporarily out of action and squiring Sabrina himself. Calculating though it appears, Linus soon feels a stirring in his heart which, until this point has only flowed with stock market ticker tape. And Sabrina, too, is confused. It may seem a little strange that the 22 year old ingénue would start to fall for this crusty old chap, 32 years her senior but this, after all, is Bogart and his charms always prove irresistible.