Sabrina (1954, Billy Wilder)

I liked this a whole lot, unexpectedly. Starts out in crisp black and white with moonlight shining on Audrey Hepburn’s mooning face, and only gets better. Not as much clever dialogue as Indiscreet, but a higher-quality film overall with just as much starpower, in its way – young beautiful Audrey versus super-suave Humphrey Bogart. Nominated for a pile of oscars, but trounced by On The Waterfront. Remade in the 90’s for some silly reason.

Audrey is the chauffeur’s daughter at the mega-rich Larrabee estate, has always been in love with wild, womanizing William Holden (normal-looking white guy from Sunset Blvd. and Executive Suite). She goes to Paris for two-year culinary training, comes back all fashion and sophistication. Holden falls for her before she even gets home – her dream come true. They go out, and dance at a family party, but he is supposed to marry a hot girl from another rich family as part of a family business merger (Larrabee develops super plastic made of sugarcane and her family owns a cane plantation) so big brother and super business-whiz Bogart incapacitates Holden by tricking him into sitting on wine glasses, then takes Audrey out for a few days to keep her away until the wedding. One place they go: a play of The Seven Year Itch, which is the next film Wilder would make.

But Audrey is awesome, has glowing moonlight cat eyes, and is now a master chef, so Bogie falls for her himself, and at end he cancels all appointments to catch up with the boat aboard which he’s shipped her off to Paris. Romantical!

This is now the latest Bogart movie I’ve seen – he’d be dead in under three years. Normal-looking William Holden is apparently a huge star, but I can’t say he stood out in this… certainly likeable enough. Head chauffeur John Williams had juicy roles in two Hitchcock movies around the same time, later in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter as Tony Randall’s boss who dreams of being a gardener.

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