Born Yesterday (1950)
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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
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
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.
Judy Holliday steals the show in this very funny and surprisingly thought-provoking romantic comedy about the importance of thinking and seeking knowledge in our society, where, still today, opinions are shaped by a ruling class that wants to conserve its position of power.