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Born Yesterday

Judy Holliday , William Holden , George Cukor    DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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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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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Let George Do It May 25 2005
Format:DVD
1950 was a banner year for movies, with such outstanding films as "All About Eve", "Sunset Boulevard", "The Asphalt Jungle" and others. What sets these movies apart from the travesties that are churned out these days is the quality of the screenplays. Unfortunately, all that was soon to change. The spectre of the House of Un-American Activities was just about to descend like a pall on the movie industry and within a few years many of the most talented and creative scenarists were blacklisted for their poltical points of view'
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST COMEDIENNE July 12 2004
Format:DVD
Judy Holliday 1923-1965(Judith Tuvim) was the greatest comedy-actress in films. No question about it. Jean Hagen did a good "Judy-Holliday" in Singin` in the Rain after the real star reportedly turned it down.
But Judy`s Billie Dawn is flawless. Broderick Crawford and William Holden are also good in their thankless roles as a foil to Judy. Buy watch them! Their`e good! As a production it halts in the second half when it tends to wave the flag and gets preachy... I always thought, but wait a minute: Seeing what happening in the US today, one would like certain politicians to see this film... it might improve their personalaties...(ooooh I`m being naive here now hehehe)... so it`s subject is as potent as ever... The 1993 version? Let there be silence.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay Oct. 29 2003
Format:DVD
This movie I thought had except for a few cute lines (all said by Holliday, who shone anyway) everything but a script. I read a few of the other "reviews" and disagreed with almost everything about them except their praise for Judy Holliday and the one comment that Crawford came across menacing rather than humorous. Come to think of it, he WAS menacing, remember when he hit her? There was very little humor of any kind in this flick (what there was, aside from two or three genuine witticisms, came from Holliday's supposed dumbness), it was very serious and far from light. I disliked the adaptation from stage to screen, particularly and emphatically the ridiculous ending in the car when Holden gives the cop his marriage license. Good grief! I do not like Garson Kanin anyway, on Bway or off, I think he's very dull and unfunny, and think he writes better when working with his strident wife Ruth Gordon (like on another Holliday flick, much warmer and gentler and more human and more humane than this one, "The Marrying Kind," finally out this month on DVD). I was surprised to read Holliday's competition for the Oscar, she was definitely good, but THAT good? All three of them should have gotten an Oscar. Judy Holliday is one of my all-time heroes (heroines), and I found this picture a big disappointment, lit up only when she was on-screen. By the way, I may live to eat my words if this "review" is posted, but speaking of dumbness, didn't ANY of these other "reviewers" proof their "reviews" before submitting them? Talk about illiterate, ungrammatical and DUMB!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Judy Holliday Performance Dec 1 2002
Format:DVD
This was a real surprise to me!...although George Cukor is one the best directors of all time and I'm very fond of most of his pictures, Judy Holliday was never one of my favourites, especially because I hadn't seen much of her films, which aren't many.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Holliday Road
Judy Holliday won an Oscar for her fantastically nuanced performance as Billie Dawn, the so-called dumb blonde who isn't so dumb after all, just uneducated. Read more
Published on June 27 2002 by Craig Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Eliza Doolittle Meets Betty Boop.
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 more
Published on June 1 2002 by F. Gentile
5.0 out of 5 stars Razor Sharp and Lots of Fun
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 more
Published on Dec 11 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good film.
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
4.0 out of 5 stars You're Not Couth!!
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 more
Published on Nov. 16 2001 by James L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Born Again.
Born Yesterday has to be the only film that has an amazing cast, great dialogue and a history lesson all built into one. Read more
Published on June 13 2001 by A*
5.0 out of 5 stars COMIC GENIUS!!
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 more
Published on Nov. 26 2000 by Andrew Gilmore
5.0 out of 5 stars Female Power
This movie is a classic: the story of a so-called "dumb blond" who is light years ahead of her male bosses in the company whose hides she saves when a proxy fight... Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2000 by Jerome Wattel
5.0 out of 5 stars One smart cookie--don't let the blond hair fool ya!
Judy Holiday is great as the seemingly dumb blonde who soon proves to be anything but "born yesterday". Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2000 by Michael Mathena
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