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Wednesday May 22nd 2024

Sabrina | 1954

Sabrina (1954) location: Glen Cove Rail Station, Long Island
Sabrina (1954) location: David Larrabee doesn’t recognise Sabrina on her return from Paris: Glen Cove Rail Station, Long Island | Photograph: wikimedia / DanTD

Wealthy brothers David and Linus Larrabee (William Holden and Humphrey Bogart) vie for the affections of chauffeur’s daughter Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) in Billy Wilder’s romantic comedy which, as everyone knows, was filmed at Welland House in Glen Cove, on Long Island.

Except – there seems to be no trace of a ‘Welland House’ anywhere on Long Island. Contemporary ‘Making of...’ features claim the house is the Glen Cove estate of Paramount chief Barney Balaban.

Except – it looks nothing like Balaban’s Long Island home.

In fact, the Mock-Tudor mansion was, as so often turns out to be the case, in California. It was Hill Grove, the home of jewellery squillionaire George Lewis, in Beverly Hills. The house was frequently rented out as a location by Lewis’s wife, Gertrude, who donated the fees to charity. You can see the house in quite a few B-movies of the Thirties and Forties, but notably in Night And Day, the 1946 biopic of Cole Porter, with Cary Grant as the apparently heterosexual composer. You can see photos of the house at MovieLocationsPlus.

The Lewis estate occupied a phenomenal ten acres off Benedict Canyon, but the house was demolished in the Sixties and the estate divided up into smaller lots. The only remaining trace of its existence is in the name of Hillgrove Drive, which was once the estate’s driveway, north of Holmby Hills.

Sabrina heads off to ‘Paris’, though – despite the carefully framed view of the Eiffel Tower from the window – the European scenes stay firmly on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.

David Larrabee doesn’t recognise Sabrina on her return, when he offers her a lift from Glen Cove Railway Station, on Pearsall Avenue, north of Duck Pond Road, Glen Cove. The station, between Mineola and Oyster Bay on the Oyster Bay Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, remains pretty much unchanged.

The HQ of the ‘Larrabee’ companies is 30 Broad Street, at Exchange Place, in Manhattan’s Financial District. The hi-rise is still there, though its facade has been jazzed with some smart cladding since the Fifties.