Billy Wilder's 1954 romantic comedy “Sabrina” is the subject of the latest essay by director of theatre and professor of English Robert F. Gross.
“'Isn't It Romantic?' Some Shots from 'Sabrina'” appears in the new collection, “Literary Readings of Billy Wilder,” edited by Georges-Claude Guilbert and published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
In the 10 “shots” into which the essay is divided, Gross describes how “the last scene of the film unfolds in a single shot,” which may not be as romantic as viewers have been led to believe. He also writes how “a close-up of the French poodle with a bejeweled collar, standing before some luggage,” reveals Sabrina (played by Audrey Hepburn) as “the most sophisticated woman at the Glen Cove station,” just as she has promised her father.
“Sabrina Fair: A Woman Of The World,” ran on Broadway for more than 300 performances, opening at the National Theatre on Nov. 11, 1953. This play was the basis for both Wilder's 1954 movie and the 1995 remake, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Lauren Holly.
The first film, for which Wilder collaborated on the screenplay, featured Humphrey Bogart, in one of his final roles, as Linus Larrabee; and Audrey Hepburn, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance as “the richest chauffeur's daughter in the world” who is “the prototypical 1950s Material Girl” after her return from Paris.
A member of the faculty since 1987, Gross holds a bachelor's in communications arts-theatre from the University of Wisconsin, a master's in theatre from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in comparative literature-theatre from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.