sabrina, sabrina

I am one of the nine people in this world (Captain Crash included) that actually prefers the 1995 Harrison Ford/Julia Ormond Sabrina to the classic 1954 version with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.

I know, I know. But don't go trashing my movie cred right away... let me explain!

Of course no one can compare to Hepburn and Bogey. I know that... everybody knows that. Her fresh face and elegant manner is inimitable, though it is hard to accept her as the frumpy teenager in the beginning of the film. And Bogart is just so damn moody and mysterious--but he doesn't project the vulnerability which is necessary to make Linus Larrabee (his character) work.

I am fully aware that the original Sabrina is a classic, and that people have trouble with classics being tampered with.


When I first saw the 1995 version of Sabrina, I had no idea that the original even existed. Maybe that allowed me to see it with a fresh eye. The story is enchanting: a dowdy girl has a massive crush on a rich playboy who doesn't know she exists... she goes off to Paris and reinvents herself... she comes back and--boom! He falls head over heels. What comes after is even better, with an extremely satisfying ending.

In both movies, the story is fairly the same, with a few teensy changes: for one, the 1995 Sabrina goes to work for Vogue instead of cooking school (cooking school? such a domestic cliché! and the Vogue thing explains her transformation so much better). And naturally, the grand old steamships are replaced with jets, including the Concorde.

But what swept me away when I first saw Sabrina at 16--was Paris! Oh, how it made me want to go to Paris. The City of Lights is almost another character in the film; it's so pivotal to Sabrina's reinvention. That's evident in one of my favorite lines, spoken by Ormond as Sabrina: "I met myself in Paris." (Incidentally, the reinvention theme so strikes a chord with me right now.)

The 1995 film was actually filmed there (unlike the original), so we're treated to lush Parisian vistas and some fabulous French actors. The remake captures the city so effectively that you can almost feel the mist on your face as Sabrina meanders down the Ponte des Artes, and smell the flowers when she wanders through the Jardin des Tuileries.

I saw the original version of the film for the first time last week. It was definitely amusing, with a lot more laughs than the Sabrina I'm used to... (and I have to say, Hepburn singing La Vie En Rose was supersweet) but in my opinion, it just doesn't compare. Sabrina was done right in 1995.
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1 Response to "sabrina, sabrina"

  1. Chris Phoenix says:
    March 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    I haven't seen the 1950's version, but I've always considered myself a fan of the 1995 version. Based on some of the comparison's you've listed, I think I'd probably prefer this newer one as well.

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