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Born Yesterday Reviews

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Bob S

Super Reviewer

December 22, 2007
Delightfully ditzy performance by Judy Holliday.

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2013
A corrupt businessman enlists a reporter to educate his dumb girlfriend.
On the frontlines of the seductive argument that education makes for more moral human beings is George Cukor's Born Yesterday. Billie's transformation from ditzy blonde to less ditzy blonde is not only philosophically encouraging, but it's also remarkably entertaining. Normally I find character like Billie annoying, and I find it mystifying that otherwise intelligent people can find these people seductive (dare I mention Marilyn Monroe), but just when I'm starting to hate Billie, Judy Holliday either does something so remarkably cute that I have to laugh or Billie says something mildly profound. William Holden is good as always, and Broderick Crawford is both boorish and occasionally likeable. The film's script doesn't vilify Harry until the end because we truly believe that he cares about Billie, and the story is much better as a result.
The pacing of the film is a little off. There is an extended sequence with characters playing gin and a servant interrupting a conversation, which is a gag that doesn't work.
Overall, this is an excellent film, and the strong performances by the leads make this a don't-make-'em-like-this-anymore classic.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
A very funny movie, I loved Holliday's performance, she's great in this movie.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2009
Judy Holliday is a dizzy cutie, but sometimes she grated. I don't think the romance element of this screwball quite worked out, but it's a rather enjoyable experience all the same. Also, Baxter + Davis + Shearer >>>>>>> Holliday. But it's okay. Sometimes it reminded me of a Chaplin silent.

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2008
Another fantastic romantic comedy from the golden age, Born Yesterday is actually rather more sophisticated than most, as it involves social satire and political commentary as well. The sparkling dialogue and seamless direction by George Cukor (the gin rummy scene is comedy gold) is complimented by wonderfully realised characters from Judy Holliday's endearingly child-like rough diamond to William Holden's upstanding scholar who takes her under his wing. It's essentially Pygmalion relocated to contemporary Washington, and the themes still ring true today. My favourite line was "Democratic, you know what that means don't you?" "Yeah, not Republican!" There's a political allegory going on as well, Broderick Crawford's bullying businessman representing selfish corporate interest, either buying off or subjugating those around him by keeping them ignorant of his double dealing. It also works as a charming romance, Holden and Holliday having real chemistry together. Unfortunately it was the subject of a typically charmless remake starring Melanie Griffith that's best forgotten.

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2007
judy is great but the movie has dated rather badly
Byron B

Super Reviewer

January 30, 2007
Funny, funny movie! And smart. Holliday is the ultimate platinum blond ditz without any social grace that all future ones are based on. William Holden is also a favorite of mine. I love the characters he plays including this one.
John B

Super Reviewer

September 22, 2007
I can't believe that they remade this with Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. Horrors! I really like William Holden. I wish he would get mentioned alongside the legends of Hollywood once in awhile and he's great here as usual. Judy Holliday is riot in this as well.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

September 13, 2007
Judy Holliday makes this movie what it is. A smart charmer.

Super Reviewer

October 15, 2008
'Born Yesterday' And Hilarious Today

In the ultimate dumb blonde role, Judy Holliday nailed it. The almost-silent gin rummy sequence between her & Broderick Crawford is a gem. Great script.
November 1, 2013
Rewatched again before realizing I'd seen it before. Holliday and Crawford give great performances. On the rewatch, I found myself not liking Holden's character nearly as much, in many ways he's a pompous, self-righteous little jerk, really. Sure he looks great up against Crawford's character, but not so much individually. The movie starts out pretty cynically, but then tries to really sugarcoat everything (dishonestly imo). And Harry Brock feels very much like the spiritual predecessor to Tony Soprano.
May 22, 2013
It starts off as another dumb blonde comedy, but Judy Holliday's Oscar-winning performance makes her dumb blonde Billie Dawn smarter than we assume. It is about a character that is normally submissive who figures out that she can be more than just a pretty face or someone to be thrown around like a rag doll. All she needs is her confidence and a man who respects that.

Grade: B+
February 21, 2012
A criminal businessman (Broderick Crawford) tries to get his "dumb blonde" fiance (Judy Holliday) to wise up via the tutelage of a newspaperman (William Holden), but doesn't bargain for the results. Now this, my friends, is a great movie -- a stunningly unique protagonist in a stunningly unique plot made possible by a wonderfully thoughtful theme. It's comedy with depth, humor that doesn't force itself, but grows naturally out of who these characters are. Judy Holliday's role as the fiance is spot-on perfection -- the voice, the mannerism, the look. The conflict is one-of-a-kind, and the symbolism and allusions send this production soaring over the themeless mill of other romantic comedies. In it, we find the triumph of wisdom and values over tyranny. It's, as Holden's character says, "a revolution"!
September 29, 2011
It's been yrs since I saw this,but it made a lasting,it must be good.Judy was great!
July 18, 2010
How d'ya like that?! He could've had a hundred grand. She could've had me. Both wind up with nothin'. Dumb chump! Crazy broad!
July 9, 2009
This is a truly wonderful film, the character development is outstanding, the screenplay sublime, the acting is a dream come true. Judy Holliday is perfectly cast, as is Broderick Crawford. William Holden is appropriately subdued. So many classic scenes, like the gin rummy scene and the red marker and the newspaper. An absolte delight from start to finish., What a year 1950 was for actresses, three of my very favorite performances the same year - Holliday, along with Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. I would have been happy if any of them won that year, as it turned out, it was Holliday for this gem.
August 4, 2009
this must have propelled the feminist movement of that time. A great display of civil disobedience, this absolute classique is about coming to know oneself, growing as a person, and eventually doing the right thing. Bravo Judy Holliday!
November 7, 2008
george cukor directed the first film version of garson kanin's comedy twist on the pygmalion myth. judy holliday became an icon as billie dawn.
August 24, 2008
Extremely dated script mars production. Holliday is fine, but Crawford's turn as a cruel, spouting buffoon comes across stridently, with some of the most bothersome, disturbing scenes I've ever seen, from a misogynistic standpoint.
April 4, 2008
Okay, I almost reviewed the remake very well. I didn't see the remake, so...

Anyway, they don't make really patriotic movies anymore. I know all you liberals out there in internet land say "f*ck patriotic movies! I'm not going to read your sh*tty reviews anymore." Calm down kids, I'm a moderate! You only can hate a moderate because you can consider him wishy-washy. But this is one of those patriotic movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or anything else Frank Capra makes. Well, he didn't make this one and this one is mighty solid. It's not perfect, but it is mighty solid.

I have to comment primarily on the leading lady's accent. I know for women to be funny in film in the 1950's, they either had to be stuck up or annoying. We decided that annoying and over the top was just the way to go for this film. Yeah, I liked it, but I can't lie and say there weren't times that I was just like "enough already. Lose the accent by now, Doolittle!"

But the rest of the movie is really solid. Sure, she becomes a genius in some aspects way too fast, but she's still pretty ditsy by the end. I was actually really moved in the latter half of the film. I mean, I know its the fifties and I know that's the point of the scene, but I was just blown away by what's-his-name hitting her like that. It was like beating the sh*t out of Minnie Mouse. Yeah, she's silly and has a weird voice, but you don't beat the hell out of that. But it did its job and that was the point of the movie.

William Holden makes an odd romantic lead. He is really close to the vest and you do expect him to have some kind of hidden agenda for teaching Billie about politics besides love, but he really doesn't and that kind of threw me for a loop. I mean, sure, he's happy that she got out from this criminal organization, but that's about as far as his plan went. Really, I'm pretty sure that last part was just a fluke. But Holden does his job well and delivers a speech that is inspirational on top of other things. So that's always good. I loved the moments where he was impossibly smart and just knew everything about everything. Hell, I wanted to start reading the newspaper just to sound as smart as he was.

This really is a solid movie. I laughed a few times, but this isn't really a laugh riot kind of film. But it is more of a feel-great movie and that's what it is meant to be.
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