Fashion, Romance, and a Fair Lady: Sabrina (1954)

Welcome to Wild Card Wednesday and another installment of Original vs. Remake series. Today’s movie is the original 1954 version of Sabrina. As usual, I will do the original. Tiffany A. White will do the remake this coming Friday.

The Movie


Sabrina is a romantic comedy/drama released September 9, 1954.  The stars were Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart.

The film was directed by Billy Wilder.  Wilder was known for movies such as Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Some like It Hot, and the Seven Year Itch.  The screenplay was adapted from the stage play Sabrina Fair by Samuel A. Taylor.

Sabrina’s costume designer Edith Head won an Oscar for Best Costumes.  The pieces were said to have been inspired by garments designed by Hubert de Givenchy.

Summary :

 The super-rich Larrabee brothers of Long Island couldn’t be more different.  David Larrabee (William Holden) is a playboy and a womanizer.  Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) is a workaholic.  They both find themselves under the spell of Sabrina, daughter of the family’s chauffeur, who has recently returned from culinary school in Paris sexy and sophisticated.

Watch the trailer:

About the Stars

At the time Sabrina was made, Audrey Hepburn was relatively new to starring in Hollywood films.  Her first starring role was in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi. She didn’t star in a Hollywood film until her role as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday (1953).  The two songs she sings in Sabrina are “La Vie en Rose” and “Yes, We Have No Bananas“.

Her gamine stature was in contrast to the buxom stars of the day.  She became a fashion icon who is said to have inspired Hubert de Givenchy’s designs.  In 1961, she made the International Best Dressed List.  If you watch Sabrina for no other reason, watch it for Audrey Hepburn’s beauty and style.

Humphrey Bogart reportedly complained about the number of takes Hepburn needed to get a scene right.  It has been speculated that Bogart was unhappy because he didn’t like William Holden and because he wanted his wife, Lauren Bacall, to have the starring role of Sabrina.  It is also possible that Bogart’s reported unhappiness was just part of the show.  Audrey Hepburn stated he was very kind to her during filming.

Fun Factoid: Cary Grant was first considered for the role of Linus Larrabee. Bogart was brought in as a replacement.

William Holden and Audrey Hepburn hit it off.  Despite Holden’s being married, they had a much publicized romance.  According to Barry Paris’s biography, Hepburn broke off the romance after learning that Holden had had a vasectomy.

Bottom Line:

This is an entertaining and easy to watch movie.  It is light enough to make even a grinch like me smile.  If you haven’t watched it, you should.

Have you seen Sabrina?  If not, what is your favorite romantic comedy?  

Don’t forget to check out Tiffany’s blog about the remake this coming Friday. 


TCM Trivia:

Sabrina Documentary on You Tube: Part 1 and Part 2

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