Sabrina (1954) studio publicity still. Public Domain photo, from Wikimedia Commons
A classic love story, told in two different ways. Samuel A. Taylor’s romantic comedy play Sabrina Fair has been adapted twice for the silver screen. The first time was in 1954, filming on location in Long Island and on sets in Hollywood, California. Three time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder led an all-star cast featuring Academy Award winners William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, and Audrey Hepburn. The costumes worn by Hepburn were designed by five time Academy Award winning costume designer Edith Head and would become American fashion sensations.
The second made in 1995 stars a competent cast made up of Harrison Ford, Julie Ormond and Greg Kinnear, and directed by Academy Award winner Sydney Pollack. Filming also took place on location in Long Island, as well as Paris, France and Martha’s Vineyard. The remake does not have the same reputation as the original, but what the two versions do share are beautiful film locations. Here is a list of locations used in both the 1954 and 1995 versions.
1. The Glen Cove Mansion
Billy Wilder’s Sabrina takes place on the north shore of Long Island. Sabrina (played by Audrey Hepburn) is, in her words “a small girl on a large estate.” In voice-over she gives the audience some exposition of the large estate: an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and tennis court; a garage that held eight cars; and ” a man of no particular title, who took care of a small pool in the garden, for a gold fish named George.” Sabrina and her father ” a chauffeur by the name of Fairchild” live above the garage of the estate. From a large tree Sabrina peeks ahead at the gathering that is going on hosted by the family that owns the estate, the Larrabees. Sabrina scans the party hoping to catch a glimpse of the families youngest son David (William Holden).
The house the estate was filmed at, located on 200 Dosoris Lane in Glen Cove, Long Island has quite a history. Part of the “Gold Coast” line of mansions built in the early 20th century, the estate known as “The Manor House” belonged to John Teele Pratt, an attorney and executive for the Standard Oil Company, and Ruth Baker Pratt, the first Republican congresswoman from New York state. The family owned the home until Ruth’s death in 1965. The film also served as a location for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller North by Northwest. The mansion is now a hotel and conference center, which has a special Weekend with Sabrina package.
2. Salutations House
Sydney Pollack’s version of Sabrina begins the same way as Billy Wilder’s version, in Glen Clove, Long Island, with the protagonist in voice-over telling us of the luxurious estate of the Larrabees. The estate once again has both an outdoor and indoor pool and tennis court and a garage filled with cars. The major difference here is that the Larrabees estate is located in the Salutations House, owned by the grandson of famed financier J.P Morgan.
The estate was also occupied by former chairman of the New York City Ballet, City Center, Lincoln Center Theater Company and other NYC cultural institutions John S. Samuels. He never owned the property and it was sold after the death of Morgan’s wife in 1993 to private buyers. The mansion is still intact today.
You can read about other Gold Coast mansions here, including Lands End, which inspired the Great Gatsby and Insisfada, a Jesuit Retreat Housed in a “Gold Coast” Mansion. Also, there is the Historic Vanderbuilt Mansion, which is now a marine museum.
3. Écoute Sculpture
In both films Sabrina goes to Paris. In Wilder’s film Sabrina goes to culinary school, while in Pollack’s Sabrina goes for an internship at Vogue. Only in Pollack’s film does our protagonist actually go to Paris instead of a sound-stage, with a lot of location shooting being done in the “City of Lights.” One of the first Paris scenes shows Sabrina clumsily going through her days as a fashion intern. The sandstone sculpture shot here was a commission job done by French artist Henri de Miller in 1986. The sculpture translated is called “Listening” and is located on the edge of the garden of Les Halles, a contentious public space currently undergoing extensive renovation.
4. Stravinsky Fountain
Like in the original, Sabrina is hopelessly in love with David Larrabee. At least this time around, David’s ignorance is somewhat believable. In both films Sabrina “matures” in Paris thanks to an encounter with a French gentleman. In Wilder’s version, Sabrina is taken out to parties and given lavish gifts by an older gentleman who likes her company (wink, wink); Pollack’s version is more straight-forward with Sabrina’s maturity, having her get involved with a fashion photographer named Louis (played by Patrick Bunuel). The relationship starts here when Louis asks the clumsy and inexperienced Sabrina out for a drink.
The fountain, located in Stravinsky Place, in Paris, features 16 unique fiberglass and steel sculptures represent The Rite of Spring and other works from Russian-French-American composer Igor Stravinsky. The sculptures were made by Jean Tingley and Niki de Saint Phile and was unveiled in 1983.
5. Le Solei de la Butte
On the smallest street in Paris, this picturesque pub/nightclub is the place where Julia Ormond’s Sabrina writes a similar letter that Audrey Hepburn’s Sabrina writes to her father, before her return home to Long Island.
During the day people come to get away from the Paris traffic. During the night, the place becomes a haven for night-owls wanting to dance or drink all night, as the pub stays open until dawn.
Is this the smallest street in Paris? If it is, what is the most narrow? Or the longest? Do not worry, we got you covered.
6. Glen Cove Station
Audrey Hepburn’s Sabrina returns from Paris a changed woman. She has, in fact, changed so much that the object of her desire David Larrabee does not recognize her. The two happen to meet soon after her arrival back to Long Island, because her father was running late in picking her up. David driving like a maniac back home sees a potential mate, races over and lays on the charm, offering to drive her back home. During the conversation, David believes he has seen her before, again, not noticing what is right in front of him as he drives to his own home without noticing.
The Glen Cove Station where he picks up Sabrina was built in 1885 at the prompt of the “Gold Coast” millionaires who began to make their mark there. The station hosts the longest waiting room bench – measuring at 36 feet long.
Like the original version, David’s older brother Linus hatches a plan to let Sabrina fall in love with him. The reason for this is so David will marry Elizabeth Tyson, which could bring a merger between the Larrabee’s company and Elizabeth’s rich father. Harrison Ford plays the workaholic older brother who succeeds in having Sabrina’s love go from David to himself (way more believable than Hepburn falling for Bogart). The first part of his plan to keep Sabrina away from David is a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. They stay at a cottage off the coast of Chillmark, MA, that actually once belonged to musician Billy Joel.
8. Larrabee Corporate Offices 1995
In both films the Larrabees are invested in a lot of different companies and have an office building in the middle of downtown Manhattan. In the 1995 version, the corporate offices of the Larrabees and a place where many of the film’s biggest moments take place is located on Park Avenue and East 54th Street.
9. Larrabee Corporate Offices 1954
Located much further down than the 1995 version, the Larrabee corporation is located on 30 Broad Street in Manhattan’s financial district. In the original and later versions, the corporate offices is where Sabrina goes to confront Linus about the feelings she has for him, only to see them not returned. The offices are also where David finally accepts some responsibility and handles his brothers duties as he goes after Sabrina before it is too late.
Did you know there is a secret plaza in the Financial District? It is getting nice out, be a perfect place for a date.
10. Pont de Arts
In the original Sabrina, Linus just makes it on the boat taking Sabrina to Paris and they live happily ever after. There is no final kiss, for the censors probably would not allow it and because Audrey Hepburn and Humprey Bogart hated each other during production.
In the remake, Linus catches up with Sabrina in Paris this time and the final scene in the movie is of Sabrina and Linus holding and kissing each other on the Pont des Arts. The pedestrian bridge over the Seine River was originally a metallic bridge built at the request of Napoleon himself. After two bombardments during the second World War, the original bridge was closed and collapsed in 1977 after a barge struck it. The bridge as it is known today opened in 1984.
The bridge has become a tourist attraction for couples over the past few years. Couples attach padlock “love locks” to the bridge, then throw the keys off the bridge as a symbol of true love.
Want to find more Paris film locations? Thankfully, we wrote about an app just for that purpose.
To know which version of Sabrina made the author cry morem contact him @TatteredFedora