Sabrina (1954)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and David (William Holden) might be brothers, but they are almost total opposites in every respect, even in the most basic issues. Both come from a very wealthy family and were given the same treatment, but they turned out much different, that’s for sure. Linus runs the family business and rakes in the cash, but his busy schedule doesn’t allow for much spare time. This means he is unlucky with the ladies and as such, he has no children or wife behind him. David on the other hand, is all about the fun stuff and has a series of ex wives to show for it, as well as a lot of absences from his work schedule. But the two are about to discover a common interest, in the form of Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn). She is a stunning beauty with charm to spare, but she has passed under the brothers’ radar until now. As the daughter of the family chauffeur, Sabrina has always liked David, but he never returned her affections, although that might change now. As time passes however, Sabrina finds herself falling in love with Linus, which sparks a wealth of brotherly competition.

This movie was released as part of Paramount’s Audrey Hepburn Collection and since this is my favorite Hepburn flick, I am pleased to own this disc at last. Hepburn is in fine form as usual, but seems even more impressive than ever, one of my favorite female performance of all time, in fact. But there’s more to Sabrina than Hepburn’s turn, such as the roles taken on by Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, who give solid efforts indeed. At times, the movie business frames pictures around star power and such, but Sabrina takes a solid framework and adds in the stars, which makes a lot of difference indeed. Of course, the performances are memorable and all, but the writing is also excellent, which ensures that the actors have superb material to work with. This flick has humor, romance, and emotion, which proves to be enough to push the other elements to new levels of entertainment. I would have liked a more in depth supplemental section on this disc, but since the basics are more than covered, I am giving this a more than solid recommendation, based on the strength of the flick itself.

She was known for many roles over her career, but Audrey Hepburn was best known for the ones like this one, sweet and innocent. Hepburn uses traditional means here of course, but also relies a lot on her looks and charms, which further her character more than a little. I can name a thousand attractive women, but Hepburn has more than just good looks, as she has the charisma and such to back them up. It all adds up to an almost perfect female creation, as Hepburn lights up the screen in Sabrina. She makes it very easy to understand why the brothers in the film fall over her, which is an important element in the mixture here. You can also see Hepburn in such pictures as Paris When It Sizzles, Charade, Love in the Afternoon, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, How To Steal A Million, and Funny Face. The cast of Sabrina also includes Humphrey Bogart (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen), William Holden (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Satan Never Sleeps), John Williams (The Paradine Case, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town), and Walter Hampden (All About Eve, The Silver Chalice).

Video: How does it look?

Sabrina is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. I was taken back by how clean the print used is, as I expected more wear and debris, given the film’s age and such. The low level of grain and damage allows the black & white photography to shine, which it does and then some. The contrast is stark and always well balanced, I saw no real reasons for concern in the least with this transfer. A couple small trouble spots surface, but in the end, this is an excellent overall presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

On this front, the disc includes a mono option and while it isn’t too dynamic, it covers the basics and then some. The track seems very clean and shows minimal age signs, which was a very pleasant surprise, as I expected some wear to be present. The music and sound effects come across well here, despite the limitations of the mono form here. Of course, the elements don’t explode from the speakers, but as far as mono goes, this option is more than adequate in the end. The vocals are crisper than expected and no volume issues arise, very solid indeed. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a selection of still photos, as well as a twelve minute featurette, which offers some decent interviews.

Disc Scores