Monday , February 26 2024
"Sabrina" has humor, class, and a girl with wit.

DVD Review: Sabrina (1954)

Sabrina is a 1954 film directed by Billy Wilder and stars Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden. It was nominated for five Oscar categories: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and won for Best Costume Design.

The story is about Sabrina Fairchild (Hepburn) who is the young daughter of the chauffeur of the Larrabee family. Sabrina has been in love with David Larrabee (Holden) all of her life, but David, an idle playboy who is crazy for women, but has never noticed Sabrina.

To try to break this infatuation, Sabrina is sent to Paris to attend a culinary school. She befriends a baron who teaches her a bit of culture. When she returns as an attractive and sophisticated woman, David is attracted to her even though he does not immediately recognize her. David is about to be married to a very rich woman named Elizabeth Tyson and David's brother Linus (Bogart) is worried if the marriage is canceled it would undermine a business deal that depends on the woman's family. Everything goes haywire when Linus tries to turn Sabrina's affections to him, and then finds that he has fallen in love her.

This remastered DVD is from Paramount's Centennial Collection and showcases Sabrina, Hepburn's follow up to 1953's Oscar-winning Roman Holiday. Hepburn's innocence in this role really makes this work for her. Holden's flighty character has the right balance for the playboy part, and Bogart has the quality that makes you want him to win out.

The quality of the picture is very good for a black and white film. The image is clean and the contrast and details are crisp. The audio is in Dolby Digital Mono and works well for this type of film. Even the music sounds great in mono.

The special features come on a second DVD and include "Audrey Hepburn: Fashion Icon" where we hear about Hubert de Givenchy's wardrobe for Sabrina, for which it won the Oscar. "Sabrina's World" takes a look at the estates that were once along Long Island's gold coast. "Supporting Sabrina" looks at the supporting cast.

"William Holden: The Paramount Years" is a biography on Holden's life and career at Paramount. "Behind the Gates: Camera" looks at the cameras used at Paramount, and "Paramount in the '50's – Retrospective Featurette" offers highlights from the studio during that decade.

While it might not be a Cinderella story, it sure feels like one where the common girl becomes the belle of the ball and this one is a classic. It has humor, class, and a girl with wit. Sure there are some areas that seem uneven like the chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn, but in the overall scheme Sabrina works very well. I have to give this one four stars.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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