was the box-office comedy hit of 1950 and won a Best Actress Oscar for the exceptional Judy Holliday, recreating her long-running Broadway triumph as Billie Dawn, the quintessential dumb blonde who finally gets herself some smarts. The film resonates with the sophisticated sparring in Garson Kanin's script and there are tightly controlled performances from William Holden as the cynical journalist hired to polish Billie up for Washington society and Broderick Crawford as Harry Brock, her rough, crooked and ambitious boyfriend.
But Born Yesterday is Holliday's picture, as she runs the gamut from brassy insouciance to tentative, vulnerable enlightenment. She hasn't thought of her estranged father in five years: "It's nothing against him. I haven't thought of anything in five years." Her gradual awakening to the realisation that she is a stooge for Brock's corrupt business deals, and the way she sheds her chorus girl's intellect in the face of growing political awareness, are brilliantly traced. Holliday's dead-pan delivery makes the pathos of her self-discovery both hilarious and deeply touching; it's the hallmark of a comic genius, which makes the sparseness of her subsequent film appearances all the more regrettable.
On the DVD: Born Yesterday is presented in full screen (1.33:1) ratio. Like the mono soundtrack, the black and white picture quality has triumphantly survived its more than half century. Extras include a gallery of vintage advertisements and an original theatrical trailer, plus filmographies and welcome, comprehensive booklet notes. --Piers Ford
Judy Holliday won the 1950 Best Actress Oscar(r) for her brilliant and funny role as Billie Dawn, thedumb blonde girlfriend of Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford), a corrupt millionaire junk dealer. Brock, a man with social ambitions and a willingness to do anything to fulfill them, is embarrassed by Billie's crass behavior and lack of social sophistication. So he arranges for her to take a crash course in culture from a handsome, young journalist (William Holden). Billie blossoms under his kind tutelage and becomes increasingly aware of her role as a pawn in Brock's crooked business deals. Brockis surprised and outraged when Billie suddenly refuses to cooperate any longer. This is a classic with unforgettable performances.