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Sabrina (1995)USA 1995
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Running time 127 minutes
Had not Billy Wilder's original, to which this remake, updates aside, stays fairly close, existed, Sydney Pollack's Sabrina would be merely silly. As that does, it's a waste of time.
The fundamental problem is that the black and white original, set in the 1950s is unapologetically and escapistly charming and its upstairs/downstairs romance between a spunky young working girl and an older playboy made a kind of sense for its time. But we now live in very different and certainly less charming times and the naiveté that is essential to the story is unsustainable in the full colour contemporary context to which it has been updated. All three principals (Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear standing in for Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden) are woefully inferior to their original equivalents and the picture-postcard scenes of Paris only drag this further down an already considerable hole of schlock.
Pollack has some terrific films to his credit and as he demonstrated with his 1973 hit The Way We Were and even 1979's Electric Horseman he has a real affection for and way with the old-fashioned screen romance = but here the challenge of remaking a film so characteristic of its times defeats him.