Born Yesterday (1950) Movie Reviews

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Possibly the most endearing "dumb blonde" ever?

Judy Holliday rightly won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of dumb blonde kept woman Billie Dawn, a role she successfully played on Broadway in the stage show production. Yet to only mention her would be doing a disservice to the films other strengths as it has many to justify it being labelled a classic of its time.

Billie Dawn is the girlfriend of scrap metal magnate Harry Brock, she's not that bright and Brock uses her as a front for some less than honest dealings. Sure he cares but his treatment of her borders on the repulsive whilst still managing to get the ribs tickled, Brock worries that her dumbness will do down important business issues socially, so he arranges for the calm and well spoken Paul Verrall to be her chaperon and train her to be eloquent and more astute of the world and its history.

The film then becomes your standard Pygmalion story as the nice but dim Billie not only learns about the world she lives in, she also learns about the world SHE HAS been living in, and coupled with the sexual awakening she finds with Verrall this fills out the rest of the story. It's full of delightful scenes that linger long in the memory, and outside of Holliday's brilliant performance, we get a wonderful example of the polar opposite Male love interest, Broderick Crawford as Brock is a maelstrom of shouting daftness, a man that makes you cringe such is his buffoonery. On the other hand we get the serene and well mannered Verrall played with the right amount of pathos by William Holden, and it is with much credit that amongst the loud brash shows from the other stars, he remains more than a distant memory.

The comedy here will make you cringe one minute, and then have you giggling away the next, all the chief characters here engage you in the way they are meant to, the climax may be a bit too condensed for some but it's a fine ending that befits the previous efforts you have just witnessed, and I defy anyone to not laugh at the gin rummy sequence! 8/10