|Year Of Production||1954|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (63:23)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Billy Wilder|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sabrina the movie started life as Sabrina Fair, a play by Samuel Taylor. Paramount bought the rights specifically for Audrey Hepburn. They turned the project over to Billy Wilder, a veteran producer and director. He began work with Samuel Taylor to convert the play into a movie, but Taylor dropped out, and Ernest Lehman finished the job. They cast William Holden as the younger brother, and gave the part of the older brother to Cary Grant. One week before the start of shooting, Grant dropped out, and they had to replace him. They got Humphrey Bogart, and I am very glad they did - I can't imagine the film being quite so credible with Cary Grant.
Sabrina is a fairly simple story. A young girl (Sabrina - Audrey Hepburn), grows up as a chauffeur's daughter in the household of a wealthy family, developing a crush on the younger playboy son (David - William Holden), and being sent away to Paris to study cooking (all chauffeur's daughters learn cooking in Paris, didn't you know?). On her return, she is a dazzlingly beautiful and well-dressed young woman, and she draws the attention of the man she's wanted for so long. Only catch is that he is engaged to be married to the daughter of a man who is about to merge his company with the company run by the elder brother (Linus - Humphrey Bogart), so the elder brother sees it as essential that he break up Sabrina's romance. There are some interesting twists, and I refuse to spoil them for you, so I'll tell you no more about the plot.
Sabrina has been remade fairly recently, but this is the original, and very definitely the better version. Audrey Hepburn is absolutely perfect as both the unsophisticated waif-like young girl (before she leaves for Paris), and as the much more glamorous young woman when she returns. William Holden makes an excellent playboy, while Humphrey Bogart gets some of the best comic lines, and delivers them completely dead-pan, increasing the humour.
This movie was made in the Academy ratio: 1.37:1. That is very close to the 1.33:1 aspect ratio in which this version is presented. During the 50s, it was quite normal for musicals to be made in colour and wide-screen, while other films continued to be made in black-and-white and in this ratio - that's why Funny Face is wide-screen, and this film is not.
The image is quite sharp and clear, but shadow detail is somewhat reduced from what we are used to these days. I'm very happy to see that Billy Wilder felt no need for a soft-focus filter - the picture is well-defined throughout. There's some very fine film grain, which is pretty much inevitable in a black-and-white film of this vintage, but it merely adds to the charm. There is no low-level noise.
The colours range from a fairly bright white, to a deep and satisfying black. There's not much more that we can ask for.
The print used is clearly a release print (with reel-change markings apparent), but it is quite a clean one - there are not too many film artefacts, and they are not distracting. There's surprisingly little aliasing, and only brief moments of moire or shimmer. I saw no MPEG faults.
There are nine subtitle tracks, but I only reviewed the English. It is a nice font, easy to read. The content of the subtitles is fairly accurate, if a little abbreviated from the spoken word.
The disc is single sided, and dual layered (RSDL-formatted). The layer change is located at 63:23. It is quite visible, but untroubling.
There are four soundtracks available on this DVD: English, French, Italian, and Spanish, all in mono. I only listened to the English soundtrack.
Dialogue is clear and easily understood. Audrey Hepburn's French is unaccented - a little too good for an American girl, but understandable given her background.
The score is by Frederick Hollander. Nice pleasant stuff, including some songs that even I have heard (Isn't It Romantic? and La Vie En Rose). Audrey Hepburn sings part of La Vie En Rose, and her singing voice is rather well-suited to the song.
The mono soundtrack gives the centre channel speaker plenty to do, but the other speakers get the night off.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are quite limited.
The menu is static and silent, with a suitable image in the background.
This is a fancy name for a featurette. It is quite interesting, concentrating on the process of making the film, and the personalities involved. Well worth a look.
This comprises 22 black and white stills clearly taken on the sets during the making of the movie.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version of this disc has identical features, and is presented in the same aspect ratio. Looks like we have a tie.
Sabrina is an enjoyable romantic comedy, sporting a decent transfer to DVD.
The video quality is decent.
The audio quality is about as good as a 50s mono soundtrack can get.
The extras are sparse.
|DVD||Arcam DV88, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|