Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Once upon a time ... Lived a very small girl on a very large estate."

My first exposure to the play Sabrina Fair by Samuel Taylor was in college.  I had a roommate that was a theater major and she also did community theater.  One of the times I went to see her perform during the year we lived together was in this play.  I don't remember much except that it was witty and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

A few years later, I discovered the two wonderful film versions of Sabrina -- 1954's version with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart and the relatively new 1995 production starring Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond.  (Side note: Audrey's Givenchy dress in the party scene--the one you see in the picture here-- is my dream dress.  I want to wear that dress to a dance.  I want to look like Audrey does in it!  I dream of this dress!)

The story centers around Sabrina Fairchild, the chauffeur's daughter.  She is a mousy child who lives vicariously through the upper class happenings in the main house.  When she is grown, she leaves for Paris and spends time there growing and changing.  She returns and is barely recognizable -- she has become a woman and a glamorous one at that.  All that is left for her is to find out where her heart lies.

Each version of the story is different.  What Sabrina spends her time doing while she is in Paris changes greatly over the years.  In the 1954 play, she is a secretary.  In the movie the same year, she attends a culinary school.  In the 1995 film, she spends her time in the world of fashion and photography.  Her romantic situation also changes in a time-appropriate way.  I think that this gives the story a sense of timelessness.  Even the classism of the play is moderated over time.  And yet, it seems that some of the fire, the spark that makes her delightful, is taken away from Sabrina over time.  I like the 1954 Sabrina better but love the environment around her in the 1990s.

Regardless, this is one of my favorite stories, no matter how it's told.
But then one day the girl grew up
And went beyond the walls of the grounds
And found the world.
Lost in the fairy tale (and the dress),

Support our site and buy Sabrina Fair (the play), Sabrina (the 1954 film) and Sabrina (the 1995 film) on Amazon or find them at your local library.  We own both films and borrowed the play from the library.


  1. This sounds like a good story. I normally don't like it when a story is "updated." I think it would be interesting to see all of these.

  2. I have seen neither, which is odd.
    I enjoy watching Hepburn, Bogart, and Ford so it is a real over site.
    I'll have to chase down copies.

  3. I prefer the 1995 film to the 1954 film, but that may be because, like you, I prefer the 1990s environment, I'm not sure. Haven't seen the play. I own and love the 1995 movie — I placed your title quote immediately, and I heard it in the narrator's voice. :)

  4. Before I even started reading your review I thought to myself ... I wonder if I could have someone tailor this to be my wedding dress!

    You never know, I just might - it's one of the most gorgeous dresses I've ever seen. Time to watch that movie, right?

  5. I watched Sabrina before I decided to like Humphrey Bogart, so I did not care for it. Now that I have realized Humphrey Bogart is great, I need to give it another try. And I need to read the play! I love to read plays!

  6. I saw both movie versions ... love the Audrey one the best.

    I don't think I have a dress I dream about ... I need to get one!

  7. Paige - I liked thinking about these works over time. It was different.

    Al - I hope you watch them!

    Wordlily - I adore the entire introduction. I wanted to copy the whole thing but since it's a play, I know they're very touchy about copyright.

    Selena - I know! I love, love, love that dress.

    Jenny - Bogart is amazing in this one. Shy and strong and just a little bit in love.

    Jenners - I am a HUGE Audrey fan. She's amazing.

  8. Finally reading all the posts in Reader from earlier this summer! Of course, I have seen them all and love them. I was probably with you when you saw the play. :)

  9. Jody - You probably were with me! It's a great storyline about realizing what you really want in life.