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Born Yesterday [Import]
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Judy Holliday's Oscar-winning performance is just one of the reasons to watch this terrific 1950 comedy, which is equally acclaimed for its deliciously witty screenplay (based on Garson Kanin's long-running Broadway hit) and George Cukor's silky-smooth direction. Holliday plays Billie Dawn, the floozie fiancée of a junk-dealer millionaire (Broderick Crawford), who is trying to make a good impression among the Washington, D.C., politicos he's hoping to influence. To ensure that Billie gets properly "culturefied," the corrupt Crawford hires a D.C. journalist (William Holden) to give the seemingly dim-witted blonde a crash course in politics, history, literature, and--you guessed it--true love. Billie's not nearly as dumb as she seems, of course, and before long she's graduated from pawn to sassy queen on her husband's political chessboard.
Watching Born Yesterday is a crash course in itself--an object lesson in how low American screen comedy has fallen from these delirious heights. The movie's funny even when there's a pause in the golden dialogue, such as when Holliday tests Crawford's patience in a sublimely comedic round of gin rummy. There's not a single scene in which Holliday (reprising her Broadway role) isn't simply perfect, the cogs turning smoothly behind her dim expressions and coarsely high-pitched squeal. Suave as ever, Holden is her match made in heaven, and Crawford is a brute who's too stupid to be genuinely malevolent. Put 'em all together and you've got a timeless classic, so flawless that a 1993 remake was instantly doomed to pale comparisons. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
But in 1950 it was still possible to make a BORN YESTERDAY with its hilarious caricature of the corrupting influence of wealth and power.
George Cukor was the master of stage adaptations that relied on such high brow elements as fine writing and committed acting performances rather than gimmicks and flashy sets to get the point across. As early as 1933, Cukor had displayed his mettle with the classic comedy "Dinner at Eight". It was an injustice that Cukor was not given the recognition of his genius until 1964 for his "My Fair Lady" (not his most typical work), but then Cukor's lifestyle was not exactly "mainstream" for his times and it is easy to imagine a Joe McCarthy poring over his file with a furrowed brow.
Anyhow, Cukor's talent was recognized in the many actors and actresses who won Oscars under his direction. And Judy Holliday's is simply the best. In her first scene she says nothing, but her looks and bearing hint at sophistication. So it's quite a shock when she opens her mouth in the following scene and with one word demolishes our preconceptions.Read more ›
Here, she simply stoles the show as the dumb, vulgar, low-brow, blonde, ex-chorus girl (Billie, née "Emma") and lover of an unscrupulous and corrupt "junk" millionaire, played with great skill by Broderick Crawford, one year after his flawless Academy Award Winner performance in the excellent "All the King's Men", who learns "how to think and to use her brains" with the aid of writer Paul Verrell (William Holden).
Holliday won an Academy Award for this performance, in one of the most polemical winnings of the A.A. History, because she defeated both Bette Davis (for "All About Eve") and Gloria Swanson (for "Sunset Boulevard"), and many people felt she shouldn't have won. Anyway, there's no denying that she gave and expert and very funny interpretation of the sassy Billie, with all the mannerisms, voice inflections, hollering,etc, especially in her scenes with Crawford.
You must watch this wonderful classic comedy.
Knowing the plot does not ruin the film at all. The fun is watching the actors, especially the chemistry between Holliday and Holden. Broderick Crawford is wonderful, too, as Brock, a guy you have to hate for the story to work. Even the bit players: the lawyer, the senator are letter-perfect in their parts. The script, based on a play by Garson Kanin, is full of one-liners and zingers. It's a little too patriotic in the end for me--sometimes I felt preached at--but that is easily overlooked during what is really a fun film.
Most recent customer reviews
Judy Holliday 1923-1965(Judith Tuvim) was the greatest comedy-actress in films. No question about it. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Henning Sebastian Jahre
From the moment she enters the picture and screeches "Whaaaaattttt??", in a voice that could peel wallpaper, you can't take your eyes off Judy Hollidays "Billie Dawn. Read morePublished on June 1 2002 by F. Gentile
Judy Holiday won an Oscar for this film, and no wonder: her performance of Billie Dawn, a "dumb broad" who suddenly wises up in a most unexpected way, is certainly one of... Read morePublished on Dec 11 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
I highly recommend this film. Judy Holiday and William Holden do a wonderful acting job in it and make a great pair. It's a film well worth seeing.Published on Dec 8 2001 by Rosella Ann Myles
Judy Holliday is the whole show in this story of a crooked junk dealer who hires a tutor to give his chorus girl girlfriend a little culture as he tries to buy his way into... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2001 by James L.
Born Yesterday has to be the only film that has an amazing cast, great dialogue and a history lesson all built into one. Read morePublished on June 13 2001 by A*
I think I over-rate this movie, but it has had a big effect on me and my movie-watching tastes. I first watched this movie in June this past summer, after the American Film... Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2000 by Andrew Gilmore