I haven’t made it to the theatres for a couple of weeks so I decided to review a classic – one that I found deserved revisiting.
It’s true that every time we show an Audrey Hepburn film at the theatre, we get at least 100 more people to show up. It’s such a drastic increase that we have considered (and only half-jokingly) making it the Audrey Hepburn Film Society instead. As it is, we are determined to include at least one of her films in each series. Not that I mind. As a girl who spent her teen years awkwardly skinny and aloof, I clung to people like her. Billy Wilder himself said, “Audrey Hepburn will single-handedly make bosoms a thing of the past.” She gave us gangly things hope – an ounce to possibility that someone would find us gamine and irresistible too. All was not lost.
Though I enjoyed Sabrina (1954), it was never my favorite of her films. I detest Humphrey Bogart‘s acting. I think he is dry, completely non-captivating, and not enjoyable to look at or watch. His voice is grating and you have to translate his horrible speech patterns. So it was always difficult for me to understand how he got the girl, especially Hepburn. I understand they needed someone less dashing than William Holden, but I still find Bogart an irritant to watch.
I think this dynamic was my main problem with Sabrina. I loved her “ugly duckling” transformation and her dress when she enters the party is stunning (I still want to find one like it to get married in someday). John Williams, (not the composer) who plays her father, and the rest of the staff are very funny but I still didn’t rank it as high as other classic films.
Then we booked it for our summer film series, and as predicted, it was the best selling film of the series so far. I didn’t get to watch all of it but slipped in for a few minutes and Hepburn’s magic was unmistakable. She made the film breathe. Suddenly, Bogart wasn’t as annoying. Watching her, 25 feet tall, in a room with more than 300 others just as captivated, made me realize the true power of stardom. And she had it. Yes, she was beautiful, but it a way, she was a bit funny looking. Unusual. No one watched, or watches her, for her beauty. It’s for something else. Something much more ethereal. It’s because she’s not curvaceous that we like her. We want to see her because she’s kinda funny, a little self-conscious, and a bit naive.
Cary Grant said, “All I want for Christmas is another movie with Audrey Hepburn.”