Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Forgotten Films: SABRINA

Hepburn and Holden
I guess my forgotten films are never truly forgotten. That would mean digging up some film I probably had little interest in then and now. But SABRINA (directed by Billy Wilder), in a sense, was a revelation, because I had forgotten how witty, weird and wonderful it was. Of course Bogart looks like Hepburn's grandfather, but she was often cast with men much older. And he's not a convincing romantic lead in this. But the film looks so good and there are so many small bits that work. It has a sense of humor-witness the scenes in culinary school in France, and the ones of Bogart's father trying to get the olive out of the jar. And the music is transcendent. As are Heburn's clothes.
You know the plot so I won't go over it. I enjoyed this film immensely and even Phil had to admit it had "something." Certainly vastly superior to the remake with Harrison Ford.

Footnote: During production of the film, Hepburn and Holden (who plays Bogart's playboy brother) entered into a brief, but passionate and much-publicized love affair.Also Bogart wanted Bacall to do the part and was angry during the entire shoot. Thirdly, Wilder wanted Cary Grant for the role, who turned it down. So lots of behind the scenes angst.

15 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

To me, it was always creepy. Bogart was 53 and, as you pointed out, looked 20 years older. (Three years later, he'd be dead.) Holden was 45. Hepburn was 24.

Still, it was better than the totally unnecessary remake, where Ford was the same 53 as Bogart when he filmed it. The virtually unknown in this country Julia Ormond (then 30) was no Hepburn.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hepburn movies were always about clothes, music, glamour, weren't they?

Jerry House said...

One of Kitty's favorites. The less said about the remake, the better.

Anonymous said...

"Wilder wanted Cary Grant for the role".
I misread that as "Wilder wanted Cary Grant for the title-role".
One of the all-time missed opportunities!

Richard Robinson said...

She was magical, in this and so many roles.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

It's a real shame that Cary Grant didn't get the role - that would have made it perfect!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes. HB was badly miscast although I love him.

Mathew Paust said...

I read somewhere Hepburn viscerally loathed Bogie, which might have contributed to his ill-temper, which, of course, undoubtedly in turn fed her loathing. Whoever was initially to blame, the chemistry got bad. Although the chemistry between Hepburn and Holden might also have aggravated the other, which likely heightened the drama's sexual tension. Funny (to me, anyway) how Holden at 45 seemed much younger than Bogie, who was only 8 years older, but possibly already sick.

pattinase (abbott) said...

He certainly looked ill. Holden's blonde hair made him look younger, I think.

George said...

I'm baffled by the frenzy of "remakes." The remake of SABRINA was a dud. So is the remake of BEN-HUR. This has been the Summer of flops with SUICIDE SQUAD stinking up theaters from coast to coast. And we have the remake of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN still to look forward to.

J F Norris said...

This isn't as nearly as creepy as LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON with Gary Cooper as the man who is attracted to Hepburn. He *really* looked like her grandfather. I wonder if Hepburn grew tired of having Daddy types as her co-stars. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY's -- her 10th movie in a lead role when she was 32 -- seemed to be her first chance to be free of the trap of the girl-woman adored by an older man. A much older man most of the time. Out of her entire acting resume she only managed to make three other movies with male co-stars who were her contemporaries before she decided to quit altogether. Interestingly, in all of those movies her co-star was younger: Anthony Perkins, Albert Finney and Peter O'Toole. Two of those movies (TWO FOR THE ROAD w/ Finney and HOW TO STEAL A MILLION w/ O'Toole) I think happen to contain two of her best performances as well.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Absolutely. I've mentioned here many times that TWO FOR THE ROAD is one of my favorite movies. She was 36 and Albert Finney was 30. She ultimately decided not to leave her husband for him, but the chemistry is obvious.

I did like her opposite Grant in CHARADE, though the age difference was problematic.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Absolutely. I've mentioned here many times that TWO FOR THE ROAD is one of my favorite movies. She was 36 and Albert Finney was 30. She ultimately decided not to leave her husband for him, but the chemistry is obvious.

I did like her opposite Grant in CHARADE, though the age difference was problematic.

pattinase (abbott) said...

TWO FOR THE ROAD is my favorite too. George Peppard is such a lousy actor, BREAKFAST didn't work for me. WAIT UNTIL DARK is pretty swell.

Anonymous said...

JF beat me to the LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON reference: the movie is so creepy, it's well nigh impossible to watch. Cooper is wooden and Hepburn's charm is smothered by lots of scenes of her nobly trying to choke back tears. And, of course, there's FUNNY FACE with much-older co-star Fred Astaire (who, even back in the 1930s, always looked old to me). The irony is that, in the last years of her life, Audrey was involved with a much younger man, Robert Wolders. Finally breaking out of the older-man-younger-woman dynamic.

--Deb