“Once upon a time, on the north shore of Long Island, some 30 miles from New York, there lived a small girl on a large estate. The estate was very large indeed and had many servants. There were gardeners to take care of the gardens, and a tree surgeon on a retainer. There was a boatman to take care of the boats: to put them in the water in the spring, and scrape their bottoms in the winter. There were specialists to take care of the grounds: the outdoor tennis court and the indoor tennis court, the outdoor swimming pool and the indoor swimming pool. And there was a man of no particular title who took care of a small pool in the garden for a goldfish named George.
Also on the estate, there was a chauffeur by the name of Fairchild, who had been imported from England, years ago, together with a new Rolls Royce. … and he had a daughter by the name of Sabrin. … as had been tradition on Long Island for the past 30 years, the Larrabees were giving a party. It never rained on the night of the Larrabee party, the Larrabees wouldn’t have stood for it.–Opening scene from SABRINA
Once upon a time, in a kingdom not very far away there existed a place called Long Island, NY. A magic time and place where wealthy people danced and played to the delight of their eager and adoring servants. That is the world of Sabrina.
Sabrina is directed by Billy Wilder, the director of some of our greatest classic movies, like Some Like It Hot, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Seven Year Itch and The Apartment. Wilder loved his leading ladies. You can tell by the wonderful way he filmed them.
In Sabrina he shows the character going from a young naive young girl to a sophisticated woman, who still maintains her innocence about love. Audrey Hepburn is delightful as Sabrina Fairchild. Sporting a gorgeous short hairstyle, Audrey gives Sabrina both playfulness and sophistication.
Based on the Broadway hit play, Sabrina Fair, Sabrina tells the tale of Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of a chauffeur for the Larrabee’s a Long Island high society family. Poor Sabrina has been madly in love with the David Larrabee (a very blond and handsome William Holden) since childhood. But David is an irresponsible playboy who never gives her a second look.
Ever the devoted servant, Sabrina’s father sends her off to Paris to become a chef. His hope is that she will get over David and take her place in the wonderful world of happy Larrabee servants.
Looking at this movie from modern eyes it seems a little strange to us that there are classes of people who ‘know their place’. But at the beginning of the movie, we see Sabrina perched high in a tree looking down on of Mrs. Larrabee’s lavish parties. Looking longingly at a world that was out of her reach.
Years later, Sabrina returns from Paris a changed woman (who wouldn’t be?) Now she is a sophisticated lady with a trunk full of the latest Paris fashions. But sadly, Sabrina is still carrying a torch for the shallow David. When he see the new and improved Sabrina, he is all over her and invites her to Mrs. Larrabbe’s ball at the mansion.
This new romantic interest in a so-called servant girl jeopardizes not only David’s upcoming marriage to one of Long Island’s elite, but also endangers an important business deal. Linus, the responsible brother, played by Humphrey Bogart arranges a minor set back to get David out of the way for a days. Linus then tries to woo Sabrina away from David.
This romantic relationship between Bogie and Audrey Hepburn is a little odd to me. He is quite a bit older than her. At the time, she was 23 and he was 55 years old. (But that didn’t seem to bother Lauren Bacall) I not saying that a woman can’t fall in love with an older man (or a younger man-but that’s another movie). All I am saying is who is going to fall for a man old enough to be your father, when there is a younger millionaire who wants you.
So Linus pretends that he wants to break free of his straight-laced corporate exsistance and go live a bohemian life in Paris. Innocently, Sabrina thinks she’s seeing the secret side of Linus and starts falling for him. Linus’ real plan is to get Sabrina to move back to Paris and away from David.
Should I tell you the ending? No. I won’t. You have to watch this gem for yourself. But your Classic Chick Flicks education doesn’t end here. To really consider yourself properly schooled in the ways of the Classic Chick Flick, you really must these other Audrey Hepburn movies.