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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Judy Holliday is one of the lost generation of 1950s stars. She is in
that group with Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Grace Kelly, and Shirley
Booth who gained stardom in motion pictures, but either died
prematurely (Dean, Monroe, Holliday), or made few movies (Dean, Booth,
Kelly, and Holliday), or left the motion pictures for other areas of
public attention (Booth with her stage and television work, Kelly as
Princess of Monaco). Holliday, Booth, and Kelly won the Oscar for best
actress (Monroe never did - Dean was nominated but never won). But she
is probably the least remembered, although she made as many films as
Kelly, and more than either Booth or Dean. Moreover, the elderly Booth
never really had a film following (unlike her stage following), and
Dean was representative of a new type of film hero like Monty Clift and
Marlon Brando. Holliday was more accessible, as a representative of
urban, mid-century America.
What was her best film? BORN YESTERDAY (her Oscar performance) is usually the one mentioned, or IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU (as Gladys Glover, the woman who creates her own publicity and fame), or THE MARRYING KIND? To me though, her best performance is THE SOLID GOLD CADILLAC. It takes off from where BORN YESTERDAY left. That film dealt with corporate corruption of politics (Billy Dawn's boyfriend Harry buying an influential Congressman). The corruption there is the creation of of a cartel controlling (through garbage dumps) scrap metal sales. In SOLID GOLD CADILLAC, Harry's junk empire is replaced by a major Wall Street corporation created by Paul Douglas. Douglas' McKeever had a strong hand controlling his fellow directors, but he's taken a "dollar-a-year" job in Washington (his fellow directors hope he'll send the corporation valuable government contracts - he doesn't). Once he leaves, the others (John Williams, Fred Clark, Ralph Dumke, and Ray Collins) take over, and as the narrator (George Burns) says - "Did I tell you they were crooks?...Boy were they crooks!"
It would have been smooth sailing but for two problems. Before he left, McKeever attended a final stockholders meeting. One shareholder (who owns only a couple of shares) is Laura Partridge (Holliday). She happens to demand explanations for various of the actions of the firm in the last year. To silence her they make her a secretary - quasi officer. She is used to keep in touch with the shareholders as a public relations figure. The other problem is due to Harry Harkness (Hiram Sherman) the brother-in-law of the firm's President Jack Blessington (John Williams). Harkness has to be given a job at the demand of Blessington's wife (Harkness' sister). He is a total idiot, best used to playing polo. His "abilities" send the firm reeling, and with the antics of Ms Partridge raises the blood pressure of the firm's bosses, particularly the firm's comptroller Clifford Snell (Fred Clark - possibly his best comic performance).
The forces of greed (the corporate officers) and the forces of good (Douglas and Holliday when they join forces) confront each other in the last half hour of the film: who will run the great company. All I will say is that it comes down to who owns more of the company.
As a look at the financial culture of the Eisenhower years (and even now, in the wake of Enron and other scandals) THE SOLID GOLD CADILLAC can't be beaten. As a showcase of Judy Holliday's friendly, common sensible urbanite taking on the corrupt it is wonderful. Witness her momentarily getting the upper hand over the villains when she uncovers an particularly stupid action by Sherman regarding a company subsidiary. The four directors silently listen to her lecture and agree to her demands, and at the end are glaring at the embarrassed Sherman. If you want to see Holliday at her best comic performance (my opinion), I recommend this film for that purpose.
It is truly rare to come across a movie that does everything so
Conversely, it is truly sad that the 'feel good' genre of movies seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur
Every character actor here is on point. And there are plenty of them. The talent particularly of Judy Holliday cant be overstated, as she moves seemingly effortless between comedic and romantic scene changes. Even the pairing of the 'loudmouth' Paul Douglas is great for her, as the two of them trade punches with ease when their voices are turned up a few decibels. The story moves along quickly with no gaps or awkward pauses in the script, and it works up to a very Capra-like ending which practically leaves you on the edge of your seat. It's not an easy one to find, but if you come across this movie, hang on to it.
I have seen this movie about three times, and each time I am taken aback by the sweetness and honesty of the character Laura Partridge, as played by Judy Holiday. Even though the plot is predictable, I still enjoy watching a woman of character (who first comes across as a dizzy dame) as she continues to outsmart the cynical "opposition." A sweet comedy, and a good escape from the "real world."
Wonderful, perfect romp with Judy Holliday doing what she does best...make
us laugh, cry and fall in love with her and her characters.
Her acting in Solid Gold is as perfect as can be. The script and wonderful character actors, Paul Douglas, Fred Clark, Paul Collins and Neva Patterson, who support her, do their very best to bring this whimsical story to life.
Judy may not be a household name to most - but to me, she will be one of the inextinguishable shining angels in the celluloid firmament.
Her legacy will live on as long as we want to laugh at ourselves.
This movie is a must-see comedy if you like to feel good.
I would run out of positive adjectives if I had to write a review. Judy Holliday gives her best performance. If you see this film, you will want to see her other classics. Paul Douglas shines as a scrupulous businessman.
What can you say about Judy Holliday? Her timing was always absolutely perfect. Her facial expressions frequently making speech unnecessary. In Solid Gold Cadillac she gives a magical portrayal as Laura Partridge, the supposedly, dumb blonde, part time actress with no appreciation of Shakespeare, ("You don't even get to sit down unless you're a king" - a typical Holliday line), but who is nonetheless shrewd enough to see through the corrupt shenanigans of the board of directors of a multi-national company in which she owns just ten shares. The partnering of Judy Holliday and that fine actor, Paul Douglas, as Edward L. McKeever, the upright, down to earth and totally incorruptible founder of the company, who is (according to Laura Partridge) "scared of girls", works like a dream. The film also has excellent support from Ray Collins, Arthur O'Connell, Neva Patterson, John Williams and of course Fred Clark, as Snell, the oily, slippery company treasurer, a real nasty piece of work. I defy anyone not to boo and hiss whenever he appears. In addition to being a delightful romantic comedy, this is also a tale of good fighting to overcome evil, and the little people of this world getting together and refusing to be trampled by a big faceless conglomerate. If you've never seen this picture before, or maybe never seen a Judy Holliday movie, you're in for a treat.
I taped it several years ago from my local PBS station and several times a year I run it again. It's as fresh today as it was when first viewed. Judy Holliday was a gem. She died much too early. Her fans missed a lot because of her untimely passing. Also, her pairing with Paul Douglas in this movie was inspired
This is one of the last Capra-esque, indeed Kaufman-esque, well-made movies, even though it's release was well into the fifties. The socio and geo-political ramifications perhaps resonate even more so in our post-Enron and present Halliburton era. Aside from being hilarious and utterly entertaining ( I imagine even more so on the live stage with a raucus audience), the story poses the eternal question of personal integrity, simple honesty, and common decency; and that multinational corporations and super-power governments should be less occupied with "getting away with it" or "not getting caught"; rather more so with "doing the right thing" and producing the best for everyone. This film should be taught. Instead, it's slowly disappearing from the geopolitical landscape; i.e., it's becoming harder to find in video stores.
Judy Holliday's best comedy vehicle, a wonderful adaptation of George Kaufman and Howard Teichmann's play, about a struggling actress in New York City who owns ten shares of stock in a large corporation; perplexed as to why the board members do so little and get paid so much, she attends a stockholder's meeting and soon has all the power-suits reeling. Richard Quine directs the proceedings with an assured touch, and teaming Holliday with her "Born Yesterday" stage co-star Paul Douglas was a terrific move (they have a built-in rapport). Douglas gets one of his funniest roles as the former Chairman of the Board who has gone to work in Washington, D.C., setting up a finale which mixes together a touch of Frank Capra with a bit of "Born Yesterday". Some may complain the theme of government--coupled with a wise-beyond-her-own-knowledge heroine--is too close to Judy's previous hit. While that may be true, the actress is so good at playing the innocent gal taking on the corporate sharks, it's not worth quibbling over. Big laughs from start to finish, with a doozy of a tag and fantastic comic support from Fred Clark, John Williams, Neva Patterson, and Madge Blake. ***1/2 from ****
In a role tailor made to her special gifts Judy Holliday is totally
captivating and wholly endearing. The sign of a truly unique performer
is to watch a film or performance and not be able to envision anyone
else in the part. That's what happens watching the magical Judy as
Laura Partridge. There are many great comediennes but while Marilyn
Monroe was sexier, Lucille Ball wackier and Carole Lombard more
stylishly outlandish no one quite had the special sweet radiance and
naive intelligence of Miss Holliday.
While she is wondrous she isn't the whole show. Paul Douglas and his gruff charm plays well off of her and they are surrounded by an absolutely great cast of some of the best character actors working in film at the time. The story is a pleasant far fetched little fable, a sort of David versus Goliath reworking. Sit back and enjoy.
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