Sunday, April 3, 2011
Rec. #94: Born Yesterday
What: In Born Yesterday, a junkyard tycoon hires a newspaperman to give lessons in refinement to his live-in girlfriend, who shrugs through life in a semi-content fog of money and ignorance. The loudmouth tycoon, Harry Brock, gets more than he bargained for when girlfriend Billie begins to see that many of Brock's business dealings are illegal and that she has the power to stop them. She also begins to fall for her tutor, charmingly played by William Holden. Of course, the key to the film is Judy Holliday, who originated the role of Billie on Broadway. She nails the nuance of being a blonde who's only dumb because it was the smart way to play it at the time.
Comparable to: Other films from director George Cukor include Holiday and The Philadelphia Story. They're all social commentaries masquerading as comedies. Granted, they are very funny social commentaries.
Representative quote: "A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous to live in."
You might not like it if: You are easily annoyed by certain voices. Holliday's voice is distinctive, and she's not afraid to play it up.
How to get it: Be careful in your search, whether it's online, in a store, or in a library. The version you'll want is from 1950. You probably don't want to end up with the 1993 remake.
Connection to previous Wreckage: This film is based on the 1946 play by Garson Kanin, who also worked on the screenplay. Other work by Kanin includes the screenplays for the Tracy/Hepburn films Adam's Rib and Pat and Mike, both of which he co-wrote with his wife, Ruth Gordon. You might recognize Ruth Gordon from her role as Maude in Harold and Maude (Rec. #45).