Sabrina (1995)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I heard in a recent featurette on a DVD (can’t remember which one) that said that movies come from three different sources these days. Most are adapted works from literature (i.e. a popular novel is made into a movie), there are original works from screenplays and the a trend that has been gaining popularity these days is the remake. Wheather it’s another 60’s Television series being adapted for a movie or just another popular movie from the 50’s or 60’s, we can most likely count on it being remade sometime in the future. Now this doesn’t mean that all of these are poor choices. While we can agree that the remake of Planet of the Apes was far inferior to the original, we can say that the remake of Ocean’s 11 was a real treat and fun to watch. So when one of the trendsetters in the movie business, Sydney Pollack, decides to remake a movie–stand up and take notice! Taking a Billy Wilder movie with the lovely Audrey Hepburn and starring William Holden and Humphrey Bogart; Pollack had some big shoes to fill. The modern day actors who replaced these stars were Harrison Ford (possibly the modern-day equivilent of Bogart), Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. How does this remake stand up to the original?

We find Linus Larrabee (Harrison Ford) whose work is his life and his life his work. Already very wealthy, he seems to never be content, especially when it comes to work and money. Naturally, while he may look and appear happy, we sense that he is not. This brings us to David (Greg Kinnear), Linus’ younger, more “reckless” brother. David, a supposed “womanizer” does eventually meet Dr. Elizabeth Tyson (Lauren Holly), who is not the typical women that he usually ends up with. The daughter of two wealthy individuals (played by Angie Dickinson and Richard Crenna), David is about to hit the jackpot when it comes to being wealthy. What he doesn’t know is that Sabrina (Julia Ormond) has been sent to Paris for a year and has always had a thing for David. Upon her return to home, David finds that she has blossomed into a very lovely woman and it can only spell trouble for David and Elizabeth. I don’t want to give too much away, but you can assume that some sort of love triangle will evolve between the three major characters.

Sabrina had a lot of potential, it never really seemed to take off at the box office and despite the rather lofty (and most likely high-priced) cast, things just didn’t seem to work. Julia Ormond is a fine actress, and very lovely. But we also have to realize that she is trying to fill Audrey Hepburn’s shoes, something that is nearly impossible to do. Ford plays his role well, as always, but we’re used to seeing him as a more loose individual; the uptight thing is not for him. All the elements were there, but I think Sabrina falls short in the end. It did pave the way for Greg Kinnear, who has turned in some pretty good roles since then, but if you want to see him at his finest, then check out As Good as it Gets.

Video: How does it look?

Shown in an anamorphic widescreen picture, Sabrina does look fairly good, but considering this film isn’t really that old, it could look a bit better. The 1.85:1 image doesn’t show a lot here, some scenes are fairly grainy and the palette used is particurlarly muted (regardless of how it might look on the cover of the DVD). Edge enhancement is minimal, thankfully and the detail is very good (great in some scenes). While there’s not a whole lot to complain about here, there isn’t a whole lot to praise either. The black levels appear to be on track and my biggest complaint seems to be that the print used is very dirty. Maybe it’s just me! Still, Paramount didn’t seem to take their time with this release and it shows here.

Audio: How does it sound?

Like most romantic comedies, this is very dialogue-driven. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack does do it a fair amount of justice, but it doesn’t have a lot to work with here. For the most part (some 95% of the “part”), the action is limited to the front three channels. And a majority of that takes the action to the center channel almost entirely. While the surrounds are used, they are used very sparingly. Sydney Pollock isn’t know for his use of sound, unlike some directors, he tells the story on the screen, not through the speakers. The soundtrack accomplishes it’s goal here, which is to say that you can hear the words spoken on the screen. Don’t get too excited, because you won’t get much.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer presented in anamorphic widescreen (and that’s it).

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