Sabrina DVD Cover

This is one of these movies that has always been alluded to breathlessly, as the epitome of a certain kind of 50’s romance, especially after the remake! Why, oh why, rose the piteous cry, why did Hollywood have to remake a movie so perfect, and with any actress but a perfect reincarnation of Audrey Hepburn at the height of her appeal in the title role?
I had never actually seen the original version of Sabrina all the way through and looked forward very much to watching it – and yes, it was a rather charming movie, and yes, indeed, that was rightfully one of Audrey Hepburn’s best playing-of-herself-movies, but there were some elements of the plot which did not go over in quite the same lighthearted and charmingly romantic manner in 2008 than they did in 1958. Sabrina, the daughter of a wealthy Long Island family’s chauffer with an unrequited passion for the playboy son of the younger son of the Larrabee family, came off as something of a stalker in the early scenes. Her suicidal gesture, closing the garage doors and starting up all the automobiles, until rescued by the sober older Larrabee brother, played by Humphrey Bogart… that was likewise rather unsettling. And not just because Humphrey Bogart, dour and lugubrious, and about the last actor on earth that comes to mind when you think light, fluffy romantic comedy was cast as the other half of the romantic duo. It was as if he had wandered in from another movie entirely. What would ‘Sabrina’ have been like, if William Holden had played the older brother, and someone a little closer to Audrey Hepburn’s apparent age had been cast as the scapegrace younger brother? Ah, well. The rest of the casting is flawless, an expert mix of established supporting actors, especially Walter Hampton as the Larrabee paterfamilias, smoking a cigar about the size of a baseball bat.

The most interesting of the extra features focuses on the supporting cast, some of whom were more famous afterwards in long-running TV series (Nancy Culp and Ellen Corby) or had been famous before, on stage or in silent movies (John Williams and Francis X Bushman). Another feature is about the modern-day Long Island town which provided authentic locations, some of which still remain basically unchanged (the railway station) and some stately mansions (alas, long gone). Overall, this version of Sabrina is well worth the time, a look at a time out of memory for anyone much younger than 40. Sabrina is available from Amazon and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her next book project, “The Adelsverein Trilogy” has just been released. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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