Sabrina (1995)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 4-Sep-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 122:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sydney Pollack
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Harrison Ford
Julia Ormond
Greg Kinnear
Nancy Marchand
John Wood
Richard Crenna
Angie Dickinson
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
Italian
Arabic
Bulgarian
Danish
Greek
Hebrew
Croatian
Icelandic
Hungarian
Dutch
Norwegian
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Finnish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is a remake of a 1954 movie of the same name (which in turn is based on a play by Samuel Taylor) directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. This time around, we get Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear and Julia Ormond.

    I must admit that I thought Sydney Pollack was pretty brave to do a remake given the superb casting and production of the original film, but surprisingly this version stands up quite well on its own, especially if you have never seen the original (like me).

    Sabrina is kind of like a modern fairy tale, and the film deliberately emphasises this by having Julia Ormond narrate at the beginning and end of the film in the style of a fairy tale story. It helps set the mood and allows us, the audience, to engage some degree of "suspension of disbelief" as the plot can get quite far-fetched.

    Basically, Sabrina Fairchild (Julia Ormond) is the daughter of the chauffeur (John Wood) for the Larrabee family, who are mega-rich and live in a huge mansion in the most exclusive Northside part of Long Island. The family consists of Maude Larrabee (Nancy Marchand) - the matriarch and widow who inherited her late husband's business empire - and her two sons Linus (Harrison Ford) and David (Greg Kinnear).

    Linus has pretty much steeped into the family tradition and is a successful businessman in his own right, stitching up billion dollar deals and buying and selling entire companies. In the process, he has never really stopped to enjoy life. David on the other hand is the handsome, carefree, playboy younger brother who has never shouldered a gram of responsibility in his entire life.

    Since she was a little girl, Sabrina has always had a strong crush on David and has adored him from afar. However, the chances of David paying any attention to her are slim indeed, so reluctantly she heads off for Paris working for a friend of the family.

    The little plain-faced and timid girl grew up to be a beautiful, sassy, sophisticated young woman in Paris. By the time she returns, David can't help but completely fall in love with her. There is only one small problem - he is already engaged to Elizabeth Tyson (Lauren Holly), daughter of a man whose company Linus and Maude are in the process of buying.

    Fearing that David's interest in Sabrina may jeopardise the deal, Linus decides to interfere in a very peculiar fashion which I won't reveal. What happens next is a romantic comedy and a love triangle.

    Incidentally, I thought the three main characters did some great acting in this film, especially Harrison Ford. Any decent actor could pretend to be someone else, but I think it takes a special actor to pretend to be someone who is making a pretence, except that internally he is secretly wanting to be the sort of person he is pretending to be! And Harrison does it so well that we are never sure whether the character he is playing is pretending, or isn't pretending, or was pretending but has now stopped, or ... Also, the casting is perfect - the audience of course knows that Harrison is old enough to be Julia Ormond's father, and guess what - Linus is supposed to be old enough to be Sabrina's father! Greg Kinnear likewise is superb - playing a gentle, debonair, irresponsible, carefree playboy and yet underneath it all he does carry the Larrabee cojones after all and he can be as sharp as his brother and mother. And lastly, Julia may not be Audrey Hepburn, but she carries off the part well and we can believe her to be the sort of girl who would enchant two brothers - one who is "all work and no play," and the other "all play and no work."

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a widescreen 1.78:1 transfer, 16x9 enhanced, which approximates the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1 based on a 35mm film print.

    The transfer is somewhat on the soft and fuzzy side, which I suspect is due to the quality of the film print rather than a fault of the transfer itself. Colours are okay, though not dazzling and again I suspect reflecting the quality of the film print.

    What I found annoying was a tendency towards minor pixelization which manifests every now and then in certain frames. The film print itself is relative clean although there is some telecine wobble at the beginning and end of the film. Fortunately there are no signs of grain or edge enhancement that I can see. Little specks and dirt marks occur every now and then.

    There are quite a few subtitle tracks on this disc, including English and English for the Hard of Hearing. The latter includes lyrics to songs sung.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change is very well executed, because I can't seem to find it despite repeated viewings.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are no less than four Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) audio tracks on this disc, corresponding to English, Spanish, French and Italian. I only listened to the English soundtrack.

    The audio track is recorded at a fairly low level, but is pleasant sounding though not spectacular. Interestingly though, even though most of the film is dialogue focused and front centred, there is an honest attempt to use the surround channels every now and then, particular the sound of birds chirping at the beginning of the film, and during the party to convey the hollow sound of the band playing in the background from about 5:32 onwards. The surround channels are also consistently used to convey musical ambience.

    The subwoofer is not used except during the Concorde take off sequence around 114:53.

    I did not notice any problems with the dialogue or audio synchronization. The original music score is by famous film composer John Williams.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The only extra present on this disc is a theatrical trailer.

Menu

    The menu is static but 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2:41)

    This is slightly pixelated, and presented in 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kb/s).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Apart from foreign language audio tracks and subtitles, both versions are similarly featured.

Summary

    Sabrina (1995) is a remake of Sabrina (1954) but is not a bad film in it's own right if you can avoid doing any comparisons. It is presented on a disc with a mediocre video transfer, an acceptable audio transfer and minimal extras (theatrical trailer).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, August 04, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S

Comments (Add)
This is NOTHING compared to La Hepburn's classic film performance. Julia Ormond - pale reproduction - Byron Kolln (HELLO FOOLS! Read my Bio!)
They're films of their times. The new one is more fun. Serious young things might like the original. - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)