Sabrina (1954 film)

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Sabrina
Sabrina 1954 film poster.jpg
Theatrical re-release poster
Directed byBilly Wilder
Produced byBilly Wilder
Screenplay byBilly Wilder
Ernest Lehman
Based onSabrina Fair 
by Samuel A. Taylor
StarringHumphrey Bogart
Audrey Hepburn
William Holden
Music byFrederick Hollander
CinematographyCharles Lang
Editing byArthur P. Schmidt
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • September 9, 1954 (1954-09-09) (London premiere)
  • September 22, 1954 (1954-09-22) (NY premiere)
  • October 15, 1954 (1954-10-15)
Running time113 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2,238,813
Box office$4 million (rentals)[2]
 
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Sabrina
Sabrina 1954 film poster.jpg
Theatrical re-release poster
Directed byBilly Wilder
Produced byBilly Wilder
Screenplay byBilly Wilder
Ernest Lehman
Based onSabrina Fair 
by Samuel A. Taylor
StarringHumphrey Bogart
Audrey Hepburn
William Holden
Music byFrederick Hollander
CinematographyCharles Lang
Editing byArthur P. Schmidt
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • September 9, 1954 (1954-09-09) (London premiere)
  • September 22, 1954 (1954-09-22) (NY premiere)
  • October 15, 1954 (1954-10-15)
Running time113 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2,238,813
Box office$4 million (rentals)[2]

Sabrina (Sabrina Fair in the United Kingdom) is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Billy Wilder, adapted for the screen by Wilder, Samuel A. Taylor, and Ernest Lehman from Taylor's play Sabrina Fair. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden. This was Wilder's last film released by Paramount Pictures, ending a 12-year business relationship with Wilder and the company. The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2002.[3]

Plot[edit]

Sabrina Fairchild is the young daughter of the Larrabee family's chauffeur, Thomas, and has been in love with David Larrabee all her life. David is an oft-married, idle playboy, crazy for women, who has never noticed Sabrina, much to her and the staff's dismay. Sabrina then attends culinary school in Paris and returns as an attractive and sophisticated woman.

David, after initially not recognizing her, is quickly drawn to her. David's workaholic older brother, Linus, sees this and fears that David's imminent marriage to Elizabeth Tyson may be endangered. If the engagement is broken off, it would ruin a great corporate deal between the Larrabee business and Elizabeth's very wealthy father. Linus confronts David about his irresponsibility to the family, the business, and Elizabeth, but David is unrepentant.

Linus then tries to distract Sabrina from David by drawing her affections to himself. He succeeds, but in the process falls in love with her, though he cannot admit this even to himself.

Linus reveals his maneuver, leaving Sabrina disillusioned about him and David. Sabrina agrees to leave and never come back; Linus arranges for her to return to Paris by ship the next day. The next morning Linus has second thoughts and decides to send David to Paris with Sabrina. This means calling off David's wedding with Elizabeth and the big Tyson deal. He calls a meeting of the Larrabee board to announce this. But David shows up at the meeting instead: he's decided to marry Elizabeth after all. Linus recognizes his own feelings for Sabrina. He rushes off to get on the ship with her, and they sail away together for Paris.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Cary Grant initially was considered for the role of Linus, but declined,[4] and the role was taken by Bogart.

During production of the film Hepburn and Holden entered into a brief, but passionate and much-publicized love affair. Bogart, meanwhile, complained that Hepburn required too many takes to get her dialogue right and pointed out her inexperience. His behavior towards Hepburn, however, was better than his behavior towards other members of the cast and crew.[citation needed]

Six sketches in pencil, ink, and watercolor with two fabric samples for a skirt, blouse, and apron designed by Edith Head for Audrey Hepburn in the film "Sabrina".

Bogart was very unhappy during the filming, convinced that he was totally wrong for this kind of film, mad at not being Wilder's first choice, and not liking Holden or Wilder. But Wilder's offbeat casting produced one of his best, and most celebrated, performances. Bogart later apologized to Wilder for his behavior on-set, citing problems in his personal life.[citation needed]

Although Edith Head won an Oscar for Best Costumes, most of Hepburn's outfits are rumored to have been created by Hubert de Givenchy and chosen personally by the star. Head, as the film's official costume designer, was given credit for the costumes, although the Academy's votes were obviously for Hepburn's attire.[5] Edith Head did not refuse the Oscar. In a 1974 interview, Head stated that she was responsible for creating the dresses, with inspiration from some Givenchy designs that Hepburn liked, but that she made important changes, and the dresses were not by Givenchy.[6] After Head's death, Givenchy stated that Sabrina's iconic black cocktail dress was produced at Paramount under Head's supervision, but claimed it was his design.[7]

The film began a lifelong association between Givenchy and Hepburn (it has been reported that when Hepburn called on Givenchy for the first time in Paris, he assumed that it was Katharine Hepburn in his salon.)[8]

La Vie en rose[edit]

Hepburn sings La Vie en rose (French for Life in Pink - a reference to seeing the world through rose-colored glasses), the signature song of French singer Édith Piaf—which had been highly popular in the English-speaking world as well as in France, since Piaf came out with it in 1946. The occasion for Hepburn to sing it is at the episode of Sabrina's return from Paris, when she is far more assertive than before setting out, and her life does turn rosier.

Awards[edit]

Wins
Nominations

Remakes[edit]

In 1995, a remake of Sabrina was produced, starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and Greg Kinnear in the roles originally played by Bogart, Hepburn, and Holden respectively.

It also served as the inspiration for the 1994 Hindi film Yeh Dillagi, starring Akshay Kumar, Kajol and Saif Ali Khan. While there are changes to the plot, it was a considerable success at the box office. It also boosted the careers of Akshay Kumar and Kajol, both of whom got best actor nominations at the Filmfare Awards for their performances.

References[edit]

Further reading

External links[edit]