Sabrina (1954) starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, directed by Billy Wilder
Synopsis of Sabrina
Bogie and Holden are the mega-rich Larrabee brothers of Long Island. Bogie’s all work, Holden’s all playboy. But then the daughter of the family’s chauffeur returns from Paris. Sabrina is all grown up, and Holden’s character falls in love. Now the stage is set for some family fireworks as the brothers fall under the spell of Hepburn’s delightful charms.
Sabrina is a favorite movie, for many reasons. It’s a very sweet and tender love story. One that’s unforeseen by both of the participants. Linus’ true love died years before, and he can’t imagine falling in love again. Sabrina starts as a star-struck teen. She has a huge crush on the young, attractive, charismatic David. And nearly commits suicide in the garage. Linus intervenes, saves her life, and keeps quiet about it.
Years later, Sabrina returns home, having become a beautiful young woman. And Linus needs to distract her from David. Originally for business reasons. And the two slowly, awkwardly, begin falling in love. Despite the gap in their ages. It’s a sweet movie, especially the ending.
Linus Larrabee: [slow dancing with Sabrina] How do you say in French my sister has a yellow pencil?
Sabrina Fairchild: Ma soeur a un crayon jaune.
Linus Larrabee: How do you say my brother has a lovely girl?
Sabrina Fairchild: Mon frère a une gentille petite amie.
Linus Larrabee: And how do you say I wish I were my brother?
Cast of characters
- Humphrey Bogart (The Two Mrs. Carrolls) … Linus Larrabee. The older brother. He knows that his younger brother has a long history of marrying, and divorcing, pretty women. And, he has a planned marriage for him to cement a business relationship. So he needs to “distract” Sabrina. And slowly, begins falling in love with her.
- Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady) … Sabrina Fairchild. The lovely young daughter of the chauffeur. She’s had a longtime crush on David. Nearly to the point of suicide. She returns from cooking school in France, and the awkward teenager has grown into a lovely swan. And David notices her!
- William Holden (Miss Grant Takes Richmond) … David Larrabee. The younger brother. He flits from romance to romance. And his current infatuation is the lovely Sabrina. Until he sits on a Champagne glass, and needs … medical attention.
- Walter Hampden (All About Eve) … Oliver Larrabee. The father of Linus and David. Stuffy and old-fashioned, he’s shocked by the thought of his son romancing the chauffeur’s daughter!
- John Williams (Dial M for Murder, Visit to a Small Planet) … Thomas Fairchild. The chauffeur, and Sabrina’s loving father. A kind, supportive, lovable character.
- Martha Hyer (Paris Holiday) … Elizabeth Tyson. The young heiress, whom Linus wants to marry David. And cement a business relationship between the two families. A nice young woman.
- Joan Vohs … Gretchen Van Horn
- Marcel Dalio (Casablanca, To Have and Have Not) … Baron St. Fontanel
- Marcel Hillaire … The Professor
- Nella Walker … Maude Larrabee
- Francis X. Bushman (The Phantom Planet) … Mr. Tyson
- Ellen Corby (The Waltons, Visit to a Small Planet) … Miss McCardle. Linus’ secretary. She looks after his business, and clearly cares for Linus as she would a favorite nephew. A wonderful character.
Editorial review of Sabrina, courtesy of Amazon.com
Audrey Hepburn is the delightful young Sabrina, the daughter of a chauffeur who is hopelessly in love with David Larrabee (William Holden), the playboy younger son in the rich Long Island household her father works for. In order to help her forget her woes, Sabrina is shipped off to cooking school in Paris. While there, she befriends a baron who provides a bit of culture — and the encouragement to snip off her childlike ponytail. Upon her return to New York, Sabrina is transformed into a sophisticated woman, and David is entranced by her.
However, his older brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) has arranged David’s marriage to Elizabeth Tyson in order to seal a business merger and thus must steer David away from Sabrina. To do this, Linus takes on the task of wooing her for himself. Full of great dialogue ( — A woman happy in love, she burns the soufflé a woman unhappy in love, she forgets to turn on the oven — ) and wonderful performances, this film is a romantic masterpiece. Also enjoyable is the 1995 remake, starring Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. — Jenny Brown
Updated March 18, 2022