Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
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>
A brilliant Judy Holliday performance is the main attraction in this witty, brisk adaptation of Garson Kanin's Broadway success. As a gangster's moll who gradually awakens to her civic responsibility, Holliday expands her dumb-broad persona from her previous film with Cukor, Adam's Rib, into a character who's sweet, memorable and surprisingly tough.
Born Yesterday is a suitable companion piece to Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, a much more self-consciously "important" film that imparts similar messages about political corruption and the responsibility of individuals to require ethical governance. The message is arguably more powerfully imparted here - filtered through the perspective of the selfish, spoiled and barely-literate Ms. Dawn - than in the film focused on Jimmy Stewart's eloquent (and intimidatingly ethical) Mr. Smith, an "everyman" who is vastly morally superior to most audience members.
William Holden is relaxed and charming as the Henry Higgins-ish newspaper man tasked with opening Billie's eyes and Broderick Crawford is suitably broad and menacingly raspy as her corrupt, vulgar boyfriend. However, the movie is all Holliday's from the opening scenes, which play on the audience's lack of familiarity with the actress by presenting her as a refined, statuesque beauty in an extended sequence until, at last, she squawks out her first lines in nearly impenetrable, helium-voiced Brooklynese to hilarious effect.
A richly deserved Best Actress Oscar for the newcomer Holliday, despite formidable competition from grande dames Bette Davis (All About Eve) and Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard).
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