I actually saw the remake of Sabrina before I saw the original. And with pretty much any movie that involves a remake, I tend to spend the whole movie comparing the two. I like the original but I grew up watching the remake, so I actually almost like it better. But that's for another day.
Things I don't love about the original Sabrina:
- The part where Sabrina attempts to commit suicide - this part bothers me. I think it's supposed to be funny and I know it's supposed to give us an idea of how very much she loves David and kind of how dramatic she is. And it does set up for the fact that she's not at all bothered about being pursued by David when he's engaged - after all, if she was ready to die over him, what's a little thing like an engagement? But this scene is so early in the movie that it starts me off being a little frustrated with her. I have friends who have struggled with depression, so the scene being a bit of a gag annoys me.
- I have a hard time with Humphrey Bogart in the romantic role. The character of Linus Larabee is a tricky one because it's the older brother who has a tough exterior that gets kind of cracked by the sweet and genuine Sabrina. So, he's already a pretty unappealing character due to the fact that he's a bit of a jerk for most of the film. Humphrey Bogart is so much older than Audrey Hepburn and he looks much older than she is, so I struggle with seeing his appeal as a romantic interest.
Things I do love about the original:
- Audrey Hepburn - because of course, she was flawless.
- William Holden - sooooo charming and soooo dreamy
- All of her clothes - pretty much everything she wears in this movie is incredible. And some of them are things that us mortals couldn't pull off nearly as well. I mean, people can pull off anything they like - but Audrey could wear a button down shirt tucked in to the side and it looked chic and natural; anyone else tries that it and it's like "oh that's an interesting look. Did you mean to do that?"
- The cooking school scenes - they're very funny and very memorable
- The fact that Linus asks Fairchild about how Sabrina is doing in Paris - okay so Linus isn't my favorite romantic character in a movie. But I do love that in this version, he actually asks after Sabrina and the audience understands early on that he knows who she is, remembers her, and vaguely wants her to be happy. It sets up nicely for them falling in love. It doesn't entirely redeem Linus to me but it helps.
- The other domestics - they're pretty much my favorite characters in both versions but I do love them in this one too.
- The chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. I've read that they had some real-life chemistry and I love how that carries over on the screen.
Ultimately? I do like this movie a lot. It's not my favorite romantic comedy but it is a really good, solid movie, with a fantastic cast and director. I saw it on one of the TCM cruises and got to hear a historian give a brief discussion on it and he said that the movie was originally supposed to be made in the 1930's but, due to the war and whatnot, got pushed back until it was eventually dusted off in the 1950's. And he explained that if it had been released in the 1930's, it would have been a vastly different movie because the country's view on wealth was different then. The movie has a bit of a jaded feel in terms with how it deals with the wealthy Larabee family and he explained that that was a product of its time. I love that about this movie; the context of it all kind of fascinates me.