Born Yesterday (1950)
Born Yesterday (1950)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Garson Kanin's Broadway hit was transferred to the screen with only a few passing nods to the stricter censorship required by films. Judy Holliday won an Oscar for her portrayal of Billie Dawn, a strident, dim-bulbed ex-chorus girl who is the mistress of millionaire junk tycoon Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford). In Washington to put a few senators and congressmen in his pocket (the better to lay the groundwork for an illegal cartel), the rude-and-crude Brock realizes that the unrefined Billie will prove an embarrassment. Thus he hires idealistic but impoverished Paul Verrell (William Holden) to pump some intelligence and "class" into Billie. Paul does his job too well; by awakening Billie's social and political consciousness, he turns the girl into Brock's most formidable foe in his efforts to buy influence in DC. Along the way Paul and Billie fall in love. … More
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as Billie Dawn
as Harry Brock
as Paul Verrall
as Jim Devery
as Norval Hedges
as Mrs. Hedges
as Elevator Operator
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Critic Reviews for Born Yesterday
More firm in its social implications than ever it was on the stage and blessed with a priceless performance by rocketing Judy Holliday, this beautifully integrated compound of character study and farce made a resounding entry at the Victoria yesterday.
The moment Judy Holliday opens her mouth at and screeches "Whaaaaaaat????" in a thick New York accent it is hard to not fall in love with George Cukor's Born Yesterday.
Audience Reviews for Born Yesterday
Delightfully ditzy performance by Judy Holliday.
Years before Women's Lib, or the internet, the crazy wacked out idea that women might possibly have some meager value outside of mere receptacles for sex, transcendently, triumphantly played by Judy Holliday. She's the patsy for a wannabe Napoleon (Broderick Crawford) who thinks his poor Brooklyn bred chorus girl might need some grooming and so assigns good guy William Holden to train her in the better side of life. The blossoming flower that transforms is pretty nice, as well as the underlining message of America being the land of opportunity, and that everyone given love and attention turns into an asset for us all.
The card playing scene alone is solid gold, an orchestrated pas de duex any ballet company would be proud of (and proof that playing the bad guy calls for its own set of special skills).
Though our heroine may seem impossibly light, and the context of this screwball comedy is as well, there's nothing trivial about this Cukor helmed satire. Judy Holliday steals the entire film from Crawford and Holden as former showgirl Billie, an unimpressed escort for Crawford's crooked business tycoon. Holden is recruited to make her a bit smarter, because Crawford wants to run for office. As he buys out governmental officials Billie learns about government, philosophy, and history and starts making out her own opinions. Billie becomes increasingly aware of her potential, and the film leads with the message that knowledge really is power, and if you use it you too can see through the darkness and forge ahead. The underlying message is a little corny, as it pertains to government being a beautiful practice, and corrupt representatives in government are hard to find. Otherwise it's a very sweet story about a woman who doesn't get many chances in life, and now that she begins critically thinking for herself, she finally sees beauty in the world.
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