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Tag Archives: Paris cocktail

Two for the Road

two for the road

Image Credit:  Two for the Road, 1967

Because I had the foresight to know I’d still be recovering from Oscar-night libations, I’ve arranged a special treat this week.  For the first time on Cinema Sips, I am happy to welcome a guest blogger!  When the author of the Critic For All Seasons blog approached me about doing a post and cocktail pairing with the wonderful film Two for the Road (DVD/Download), I was thrilled (and not just because this was finally proof that someone other than my mother reads Cinema Sips).  If you’ve been looking for more in-depth analyses of films, read on, and be sure to check out my guest’s blog at  Cheers!

Two for the Road, by A Critic for All Seasons

Two for the Road is a 1967 road trip romance starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. Directed by Stanley Donen of Charade and Singin’ in the Rain fame, this picture was billed as a comedy but honestly is a heartfelt drama by present day standards. The film follows the story of Mark and Joanna Wallace, an unhappily married couple traveling to the French Riviera trying to make their relationship work. We then see how the couple first met, cutting to them on a boat crossing the English Channel a decade earlier while the present day Wallaces cross by air. There then are several other cuts through time of similar vacations in France in no real chronological order. These are linked by visual cues, like landmarks or similar weather. The past melds with the present in such a way that each story feels central to the film, versus them being a montage of flashbacks. There are 4 main plots, the melancholic present, their cheerful courtship and two trips from earlier in their marriage. As you would guess, the vacations become more gloomy as time progresses. It’s exciting to see the collapse of their relationship out of order, as the contrast of immediate highs and lows puts everything into perspective.

Keeping track of the jumps in time may be difficult, as narration is used for the first few shifts in time but not after. Luckily, we have great visuals to show passage, specifically vehicles, attire and hair. When the Wallaces first meet they are poor, travel by hitchhiking and wear plain clothes. In the present they travel by their own car, a Mercedes Benz to put their wealth into perspective, and Audrey has beautiful ready to wear clothing. Albert Finney’s clothing also becomes more refined to match his career advances, but our eyes are drawn to Hepburn for obvious reasons. This cinematography of Two for the Road is very playful and aids the story. Besides stressing the bright colors of the environment, the camera shows everything from the perspective of the characters. Whenever there is dialogue, constant cuts happen so we always see the speaker from the person listening. This method of filming is really helpful in having the audience sympathize for Mark and Joanna, as we are put in their shoes whenever they argue, have fun or sulk.

The acting in Two for the Road is amazing and makes the film unique. This is one of the few times that Audrey Hepburn was able to shed her distinguished image and play a faulty character. The Nun’s Story and Breakfast at Tiffany’s have her in similar waters, but here we actually feel dislike for her. Joanna starts out a carefree soul, by the end she is disheartened and miserable most of the time. The joy she had earlier in life comes out only on brief occasions, before it is stifled by Finney. Stark changes in personality are hard to capture, but she managed to do it here and give the audience something to think about. Finney’s portrayal of Mark was pretty decent too, although his character always was harsh so there isn’t a major transformation we can look to. The only main supporting characters were a married couple played by William Daniels and Eleanor Bron. Both did a good job and provided some comic relief as friends of Finney’s character. Daniels was a nice treat since he looked nothing like himself, resulting in me questioning where I heard that voice until I looked up the cast. Overall, Two for the Road is a must see since it combines great acting, a great story and gorgeous images into one two hour block.

The cocktail pairing, like the film, has a French atmosphere, looks beautiful and is very strong. Called the Paris Cocktail, this is a mixture of 1 oz gin, 1 oz dry vermouth and 1 oz crème de cassis. Noilly Prat is recommended since it is made in Southern France, the final destination of the Wallaces in each of their trips. Combine and shake with ice and serve in a martini glass with a flamed lemon peel.

Paris Cocktail

*If you are a blogger and interested in guest-blogging on Cinema Sips, please contact Liz Locke at for more information. 

Sabrina (in defense of the remake)

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Image credit: Sabrina, 1995

Image credit: Sabrina, 1995

Confronted with the summer box office marquee recently, I had to take a pause and just shudder. It seemed like everything was a remake or a sequel. Or a remake. Or a sequel. Does nobody in Hollywood have an original idea anymore? Sure, I enjoyed Jurassic World as much as the next person, in an “oh my God this is so bad that it may be the best comedy I’ve seen in years” kind of way, but still I yearn for more films like Love & Mercy, or Tangerine . I know, I know, studios save all the good movies for the fall or Dec. 25th, but when it’s 105 outside and I want to sit in an air conditioned movie theater, I’d rather not have to suffer through yet another tired superhero flick. In thinking about all these reboots currently in the works, I started wondering if I have ever seen a remake of a film that I actually liked. The list is short, but at the top I would have to put Sydney Pollack’s 1995 version of Sabrina (DVD/Download). I’d even go as far as to say I like it better than the original Billy Wilder version. Before you shriek and clutch your pearls, let me explain.

The romantic plot of Sabrina is truly timeless. Sabrina, the daughter of a chauffeur to a wealthy family on Long Island, is the quintessential ugly duckling. She pines for the playboy son of her father’s employer, and stares longingly at a world where she’ll never belong. Eventually she grows up, moves to Paris, becomes stylish and sophisticated, then moves back home. The playboy son who barely knew her name takes notice, but she also catches the eye of his serious and surly older brother. Both films feature sparkling wit, lovely costumes (though my vote goes to the 1954 version in that regard), and a good dose of romance. Where the 1995 version wins out for me is in the casting. As much as I adore Audrey Hepburn, and admit that she is a better Sabrina than Julia Ormond, I think the ensemble as a whole is just better in the remake. Harrison Ford takes over for Humphrey Bogart (who at 55 was WAY too old to be romancing 25-year old Audrey Hepburn), and Greg Kinnear plays William Holden’s role. Ford and Kinnear are simply better suited to these characters than their original counterparts, and I genuinely get why Sabrina would have a tough choice to make. Charming, funny Greg Kinnear or serious, sexy Harrison Ford? Can I pretty please be Sabrina for just one day?

In both films, champagne is drunk freely at the lavish Larrabee family parties. So of course, for this sparkling, smart film , I’ll be drinking a champagne cocktail, with a french aperitif twist.  With whichever Sabrina you consider your favorite, I recommend trying a Le Sauveur.

Le Sauveur

.25 oz Absinthe

2.5 oz Cognac

.5 oz Cointreau

.5 oz Suze

.5 oz champagne

Lemon twist

Rinse a champagne flute with absinthe, fill with ice, and set aside.  Fill another glass with ice, add cognac, Cointreau, and Suze.  Stir until chilled.  Empty the champagne flute of ice and remaining absinthe, and strain cognac mixture into the glass.  Top with champagne, and a lemon twist.

Le Saveur

A lot of people may disagree with my opinions on the original Sabrina (and feel free to sound off in the comments below), but however loyal you are to the classic, you’ve got to admit that Sydney Pollack’s film stands on its own. It feels fresh, funny, and charming, and there’s not a superhero or CGI effect in sight- I give it bonus points just for that. Cheers!