Friday, March 23, 2007

Sabrina

I'm still working my way through all the stuff I recorded during TCM's 31 Days of Oscar. I've watched them roughly in order of how interested I've been in seeing them, which means I'm iffy on the ones that remain, and I don't feel as urgent a need to get to these last ones. So it's pretty slow going, but there are only a few left. Today, Sabrina. Not the Greg Kinnear/Harrison Ford/Julia Ormond one from the 90s, but the Humphrey Bogart/William Holden/Audrey Hepburn one from the 50's.

Sabrina has always had a crush on William Holden's David Larrabee, but as the daughter of the family chauffeur, she's the super rich Larrabee family, and David, quite the playboy, seems to notice every woman but her. Sabrina's father gets her into a fancy French cooking school which she's reluctant to do, but hoping to escape her troubles with David, finally agrees. She's not much of a cook, but she returns from Paris with flashy new clothes and suddenly, David takes notice. This is a problem for Bogart's Linus Larrabee. As the one who actually runs the Larrabee businesses, he's hoping to execute a big merger, and has convinced David to get engaged to the daughter of the head of the other company. David going after Sabrina puts the deal in jeopardy, so Linus starts spending time with Sabrina to keep her away from David, and eventually will offer her a cash payment to leave town so David can marry for the company. Standard romantic comedy stuff happens, Bogart falls in love with Sabrina, and wins her over in the end.

This marks the second collaboration between Holden and director Billy Wilder that I've checked out from this TCM Oscar-fest (Sunset Boulevard being the first), and considering my general disinterest in the romantic comedy, it's not surprising that I didn't like Sabrina as much. But there are some things to like here. Bogart and Holden are quite good. I'm not used to seeing Bogart in a lighthearted role, but he pulled it off really well. He was still playing a somewhat uptight character, playing off his image a little, but we do get to see him in a Yale sweater and a goofy hat, which is definitely not something you'd expect to see in To Have and Have Not.

Audrey Hepburn, however, I didn't really like. I mean, she was a beautiful woman, obviously, but I didn't for a second buy her as the working class daughter of the chauffeur who the rich brothers didn't notice. She's got a very aristocratic air about her, especially the way she talks, so even in the plain-ish clothes she's wearing early on, she just seems like a rich girl slumming it in normal people's clothes. I've never seen My Fair Lady, but I wonder if she got any better at feigning working-class-ness by the time she did that.

For a genre I'm not expecting to like anyway, it was pretty good. A few genuinely funny moments, a few good performances, and it wasn't entirely sappy or anything. So it's not the worst way to kill a couple hours, but I wouldn't rush out to put it on the Netflix queue.

1 comment:

pgwp said...

"I've never seen My Fair Lady, but I wonder if she got any better at feigning working-class-ness by the time she did that."

One of these days you'll see My Fair Lady and you will REALLY laugh at this statement. I wouldn't say she got "better" at it--I love Hepburn but I found MFL excruciating--but she certainly she zertinly got bettah at feignin' workin'-claaass-ness boy the toim she did it!

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