Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This evening I watched an old Audrey Hepburn movie, and got very confused trying to remember if she was Belgian or Luxembourgian.  For a while, I even harboured the fantasy that she was Danish, although I'm not sure how that would help.  Perhaps I was getting confused with Grace Kelly, who was also not Danish.  Films have changed a lot, it's fair to say.  I'm not sure if Sabrina was remade today, it would begin with the heroine trying to gas herself in the garage while her father slept upstairs.  Well, maybe not if they were intending on a romantic comedy.  I can't envision a variant of The Proposal, say, where Sandra Bullock is horsing around with a noose in some lighthearted suicidal manner.

Between that, and a plot where the men are all either soulless financially minded idiots, or class-obsessed, ossified idiots, or monomaniacal French idiots, or just plain idiots, it's strange that Sabrina should be enjoyable to watch.  I wonder if it's the black-and-white, nicely-spoken version of Todd Solondz's Happiness.

On second thoughts, probably not.  Try as I might to splice Philip Seymour Hoffman producing his own special wallpaper paste into the Larrabee Building, or an adolescent doing unnatural things with a dog, it just doesn't line up.  Although I suppose the self-destructive theme is common; it's just in Sabrina the patriarch is clearly going to die from alcohol poisoning, rather than from a self-administered salt overdose.

What else is different?  There's far fewer people credited in the making of the film (were there less people to do things then, or did they just credit less of them?), the fight between Humphrey Bogart and his brother is incredibly staged, and there's loose ends (Sabrina's first letter to her father) that are never tied up.  These days there'd have to be no loose end left undone by the end of the film, at least one pair of breasts accidentally exposed to a couple of drunken teenagers, and a subplot involving the internet site du jour.

Sabrina does have a car phone, though, so they were sort of keeping up with technology.  Although it's the kind of beast that you expect to be powered by two frantically cranking soldiers concealed in the boot of the car, and probably sending radiowaves strong enough to strip paint to one of Mr Edison's patented receiving stations.  Oh, hold on, am I getting my eras in a twist?

Anyway, that's enough black and white films for one evening.  I'm shattered after getting up for a five a.m. training call, so it's off to bed for me.  I'd be watching The Spy Who Came In From The Cold tomorrow, except I have a prior engagement to see the Hairy Guy From Guns N Roses play a concert in Hong Kong.  My plan is to get as close to the front as possible, shout "Go on, play Living On A Prayer!" and see how long it takes me to get my head kicked in.  See you all on the side...


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