Born Yesterday


Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance


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July 26, 2014 at 07:43 AM



William Holden as Paul Verrall
Broderick Crawford as Harry Brock
Judy Holliday as Emma 'Billie' Dawn
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806.19 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 1 / 7
1.64 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 3 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by WindWoman3 10 / 10

Unique Gem

Okay, so Bette and Gloria lost out to Judy Holliday in this Oscar race 50 years ago. In 20/20 hindsight, have there not been enough scenery-chewing, over-the-top dramatics that have won Academy Awards over the years? Even the least of actors acknowledge that comedy is more difficult to play well than drama.

When I watch "Born Yesterday" - I KNOW I'm observing two masters at work: Judy Holliday and Broderick Crawford. (Holden gives a good performance, of course, but can't hold a light to his co-stars in this particular project.) Holliday is mesmerizing with every expression, every screechy syllable - and watch those hands during the gin game! Perfection in each gesture. Crawford pulls off a nifty trick by making the viewer simultaneously loathe and feel compassion for his character.

Although she died before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye, I think I could have hung out with Judy Holliday (nee' Judith Tuvim.) I like intelligent people, and I've read that she was a brilliant woman. Makes sense: it takes some serious smarts to play so dumb. She was a funnier Marilyn before there WAS a Marilyn.

Partially because she died so young, and partially because of her refusal to play patty-cake with the HUAC, she is now an under-appreciated memory. There's one more reason to love Judy: can you think of any other person hauled before the HUAC who had the . . . <ahem> . . . gonads to confound the committee by appearing as a character from one of their own movies? And pull it off? Now that, ladies and gentlemen, takes guts AND brains!

Treasure this unique gem and then . . .

Thank God for the short-lived, but stunning talent of Judy Holliday.

Reviewed by Doug Phillips ([email protected]) 10 / 10

A good story and incredible performances make this a film not to be missed...

One of my favourite films of all time, this Broderick Crawford, Judy Holliday, William Holden vehicle was magnificently written by Garson Kanin and superbly directed by George Cukor.

Cukor did something that is seldom done with any film: He decided to rehearse `Born Yesterday' as if it were a play (which it was on Broadway and of which Judy Holliday performed the role of Billie Dawn 1,200 times) and had a complete theater built on one of the studio's soundstages and filled it with an audience so he could perfectly time the laughs and the pauses so the movie-going public wouldn't miss a thing.

This bit of directing genius is part of what is responsible for the remarkable film that is `Born Yesterday.'

The other part of the equation is the casting of Broderick Crawford as the slimy, junk dealer turned multi-millionaire, Harry Brock.

Rita Hayworth was originally slated to star as Billie Dawn but when she married Ally Khan and put her screen career on hold the producers ran through an entire list of potential candidates… It was only with great reluctance that they finally decided to use Judy Holliday in the role she created on Broadway – not believing she was a big enough `name' to pull in audiences.

Lucky break for them: She went on to win the first Oscar ever awarded to an actress for a comedic role.

Her every movement, glance and word is a study in brilliance of the not-so-dumb blonde, Billie Dawn.

Unfortunately Judy Holliday's career was cut short when she died of breast cancer just a few weeks short of her 44th birthday – who knows what kind of work she could have accomplished had she only lived.

`Born Yesterday' went on to receive five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, but the only award went to Judy Holliday for Best Actress; she also won the Golden Globe in the same category that year.

This is a finely crafted tale of greed, corruption and the ultimate price that must be paid by those that believe they can manipulate the law and the government by for and of the people.

It is a brilliant movie and should not be missed.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

Political Corruption and a Victorious Naivitee

It is amazing to think that a talented person like Judy Holliday really was a star only for one decade (on film), and only in a total of nine films. She actually made more than nine, but several of them (prior to "Adam's Rib") were actually small roles or small pictures - including (interestingly enough) "Too Much Johnson" a film that was made by Orson Welles for a Broadway comedy he was directing in 1938. From "Adam's Rib" through "The Bells Are Ringing" Judy managed to demonstrate she was a gifted comic actress, a good dramatic actress, and a fine, even sexy musical comedy star. She would even win an Oscar for her second starring role ("Born Yesterday" - the currently reviewed movie). This should have guaranteed some degree of posthumous movie glory. It does to those who take the trouble of watching her performances, but most of her films are rarely shown (or, in the case of "Adam's Rib" they are shown because the real stars are Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn; and "The Bells Are Ringing" is recalled as one of Vincent Minelli's musicals).

Judy died of cancer in 1965, much too young. Had she lived twenty or thirty more years (even up to the present) her filmography would have been longer and more elaborate. A decade's worth of good performances is too dependent on the tastes associated with that decade. And Judy will always be part of the Eisenhower years - not the most glamorous period of our history.

"Born Yesterday" was a play by Garson Kanin, dealing with an unscrupulous, self-made scrap metal dealer and millionaire named Harry Brock. On Broadway, the part was played by Paul Douglas opposite Judy, and apparently they did not get along too well. Yet their stage chemistry worked, and the show ran for four years. Oddly enough, when the film was made, Douglas was not the star - the role went to Broderick Crawford (who had won the Oscar for best actor in "All The King's Men" the previous year. Yet six years later, Douglas did very well as McKeever, the Wall Street corporate leader, opposite Judy as Laura Partridge, in "The Solid Gold Cadillac". In retrospect it would have been interesting seeing Douglas play a more violent type, but Crawford does quite nicely as the street smart Harry.

Harry, Billie Dawn (Judy - his girlfriend), and his bodyguard/cousin Eddie come to Washington, D.C. Harry wants to expand his scrap iron - garbage dump empire by getting legislation passed allowing him an exception to certain tariffs and taxes. This requires his bribing a Congressman (Larry Oliver) who might sway the required committee in changing the law. Supervising this is Harry's lawyer Jim Devery (Howard St. John), an alcoholic who was once quite promising as a legal scholar (he was close to the great associate justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, whom he says was his "god"). But Harry, although rather rough himself in manners, decides that Billie should sharpen her image. She seems too naive, but it is actually that she has never been stimulated (certainly not by the rough, unread, uncultured Harry). Harry has attracted the attention of a reporter named Paul Verrall (William Holden), and on Devery's suggestion, he hires Verrall to transform Billie into a socially acceptable girlfriend.

Paul and Billie fall in love, of course, and the education works too well. In fact, while comparable to Eliza Doolittle's education by Henry Higgins it is actually different. Eliza gains a firmer grasp on her self respect because her speech and manners improve. But she never questions the social order of things, or Higgins' political and economic views. That's because Eliza is never trained to be thinking that widely. But Billie is - Paul has her reading books, and looking up words. His education is far more sweeping. As a result, she starts questioning what Harry and Devery are doing in Washington - which Harry is not very happy about.

"Born Yesterday" works due to the acting of Holliday, Crawford (who for all his roughness is funny - see his constant frustration playing gin with Billie), Holden, and St. John. It ends up as reaffirmation of democracy over corruption, and of the possibility of an individual to grow. And it did set the stage for Holliday's screen personae as the urbanite whose humanity and intelligence won out in the end.

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