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Uncouth, loud-mouth junkyard tycoon Harry Brock descends upon Washington D.C. to buy himself a congressman or two, bringing with him his mistress, ex-showgirl Billie Dawn. Brock hires newspaperman Paul Verrall to see if he can soften her rough edges and make her more presentable in capital society. But Harry gets more than he bargained for as Billie absorbs Verall's lessons in U.S. history and not only comes to the realization that Harry is nothing but a two-bit, corrupt crook, but in the process also falls in love with her handsome tutor. Written by
Paul Penna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Judy Holliday won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film. In contrast, Melanie Griffith, who plays Billie Dawn in the remake, Born Yesterday (1993), was nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress. She failed to win, however. See more »
Brock's luxury suite at the Statler Hotel (now the Hilton), on 16th and K Streets, NW, has a close-up view of the Capitol dome which could not possibly be seen from that angle across town. See more »
"Born Yesterday" is a comedy with some serious ideas behind it. The film does a wonderful job in its subtle take about corruption in high places, the role of the lobbyists and influential people in Washington politics. The movie presents an interesting aspect for today's audiences, as things related to the film have been in the news lately, making the film relevant.
The comedy by Garson Kanin ran for years on the New York stage. Judy Holliday had starred on Broadway opposite Paul Douglas. For the movie version Broderick Crawford was selected. George Cukor directed with his well known style and getting excellent performances of this ideal cast.
The film is the gem it is because the great star turn by Judy Holliday, an actress that was unique in everything she did. Billie Dawn was one of the best achievements in the movies. Ms. Holliday was an intelligent actress who knew what made her character work. She made a wonderful contribution with Billie, who in spite of being supposed to be a girl without brains, Ms. Holliday shows her to be a smart no-nonsense woman with more common sense than anyone could give her credit for.
Broderick Crawford made quite an impression as the ruthless Harry Brock, a man that can't see the goodness in Billie. He constantly belittles her and even goes as far as slapping her on occasion, but that is what someone like him would normally do when he can't get his way, or thinks is being threatened by a woman like Billie. Mr. Crawford was a wonderful actor as proved in his appearances in Fellini's "Il bidone", and in "All the President's Men".
The other good performance was William Holden, who as Paul Verrall, transforms Billie from an abused woman into someone that is not afraid to open her mouth against the bully that has been taken her for granted for a long time. Mr. Holden clearly understood the man he was playing and makes a wonderful match for Ms. Holliday.
"Born Yesterday" is a fun film to watch because all the elements that went into it and the inspired direction George Cukor and the ensemble work of the cast, but especially from its star, Judy Holliday.
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