Very interesting to see Sabrina and Love in the Afternoon back to back during this evening’s Billy Wilder film class. These two films share many themes and minor touches in common, not least of which is the May-December romance of Audrey Hepburn’s characters and her two older leading men. Where Love in the Afternoon failed on all accounts for me, Sabrina, with it’s unlikely romance at heart, has always worked for me.
Learned in class that Humphrey Bogart, standing in for Cary Grant at the last moment, wasn’t highly regarded in the role of Linus Larrabee. Personally i think he does a fine job as the over-worked, very business-like older brother who falls in love with the chauffer’s daughter. Trying to protect the pending marriage / business merger of his playboy younger brother (played by a charming William Holden,) he steps in to distract Audrey away from Holden and ends up falling for her himself.
Hepburn is gorgeous, of course, and she wears some striking gowns by Givenchy. Wilder photographs her beautifully and creates some memorable screen compositions, many involving a fantastically proportioned full moon. But for me the fun of this movie is watching Linus transform through love, not Sabrina. [**** out of 5]