It’s chilly and rainy these past few evenings, perfect for a cozy night in re-watching favorite old movies. The latest- Sabrina, from 1954. It’s Audery Hepburn’s second big Hollywood film, a follow-up to Roman Holiday which consolidated her “star” status. The first time I watched this movie, I found it a little poky and dated with a gentle 1950’s glow cast over everything. I confess, I found the plot hard to follow.
(Spoilers!) She’s a chauffeur’s daughter in love with the “playboy” brother in a rich family (David), goes away to Paris to get over him and learn cooking, comes back and he finally notices her, he has a little accident and is bedridden. Got it. Then his older, businessman brother (Linus) shows her a good time on behalf of his brother. He even kisses her on David’s behalf (full frontal, grown-up kissing) and says to her by way of explanation- “It’s all in the family.”
Then Linus leads her along with the plan to trick her into thinking she’s running away with him (Linus) to get her out of the way so his brother’s marriage of convenience to a business partner can go through. But he falls in love with her for real.
Weird. Even weirder- when David gets better and realizes that Linus has basically stolen the girl he was crazy about, he pushes them together. I still don’t get it, though I like Linus and Sabrina together.
I *do* get the fashion- it’s one gorgeous ensemble following another. This is Audrey’s first time on film wearing what becomes an iconic look for her- black capris and ballet flats (it’s the second from the left). Also- has anyone else noticed how many times Audrey plays a character with a huge makeover? The princess-to-regular-girl-back-to-princess in Roman Holiday, Sabrina, intellectual-to-fashion-model in Funny Face, and Eliza Doolittle’s hilarious bath scene in My Fair Lady. She’s a changeling.
Her post- Paris wardrobe was designed by Givenchy- including a cocktail dress that became known of as the “Sabrina” dress. It was quite popular at the time, and I have several patterns from the mid-late 50’s that feature a wide, slightly rounder neckline and call it the “Sabrina neckline.”
Sabrina drew me in with the fashion, but I rewatch it for the quality of the performances and the writing. This time around I was struck by several one-liners that escaped me before, as well as the excellent performances of the supporting cast. Even the extras were quite good at being interesting (but not too interesting) in the background, proving the old saying- “There’s no such thing as small parts, just small actors.”
Here’s a few clips, including the “all in the family” kiss at 0:47. I still can’t decide if it’s romantic or creepy!
Have you seen Sabrina? What’s your favorite outfit? Is the brotherly love triangle a touch creepy? How about that father of the two brothers- he has so many great bits in the movie.
Next- I’ll show you my pink wrinkles and what I did about them!