Sabrina (1995)

Directed by Sydney Pollack

At least this Sabrina doesn’t try to pretend it is anything more than a remake of an earlier film (Billy Wilder’s 1954 movie Sabrina). In a way, it even celebrates it.

Sydney Pollack’s remake is a pleasant surprise for a number of reasons. For one, he resists the urge many remakes succumb to of making a point that this is a much more contemporary version of the original (itself based on a play). There are contemporary touches, but it doesn’t overwhelm the film and or force it into frenetic pacing.

For me the real focus of interest is Harrison Ford and his portrayal of Linus Larrabee, the wealthy workaholic elder brother. In the original, this was Humphrey Bogart (Cary Grant had been the original choice).

Bogart was quite good, but for me it never quite comes off (possibly too much image baggage having seen The Maltese Falcon, Big Sleep, Casablanca etc.).

But Ford seems almost perfect for this, though his usual restraint is sometimes a bit vexing.

Overall, this is a very good romantic comedy. I find it doesn’t matter a lot that it’s a remake; I can see and enjoy both films and don’t find myself wasting time comparing the two.

Each stands up to several viewings, though the earlier one has the benefit of having been around for almost 50 years and thus a kind of classic status. (And, yes, it’s one of the more famous Audrey Hepburn movies.)

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