Every once in a while comes a show that, like my sister says, makes movies wonderful again. Born Yesterday (1950) is one of them.
Summary: A criminal businessman (Broderick Crawford) tries to get his “dumb blonde” fiance (Judy Holliday) to wise up via the tutelage of a newspaperman (William Holden), but doesn’t bargain for the results.
The great wonder of this is the theme, the all-American values and morals that rush out of its highly unique and entertaining plot. Selfishness is specifically decried and cited as the root of humanity’s errors. Ah, sweet selflessness, how I delight in seeing you promoted in film! And then the lessons on the aristocratic and our nation — so deftly done. Honestly, I near cried at times, just thinking of the ideals our nation was founded upon and watching the on-location shots of Washington, D.C., in the film. It makes one aspire all over again, and that’s what the best films do.
Born Yesterday can boast of a stunningly unique protagonist in a stunningly unique plot made possible by a wonderfully thoughtful theme. It’s comedy with depth, humor that doesn’t force itself, but grows naturally out of who these characters are. Judy Holliday’s role as the fiance is spot-on perfection — the voice, the mannerism, the look. The conflict is one-of-a-kind, and the symbolism and allusions send this production soaring over the themeless mill of other romantic comedies. In it, we find the triumph of wisdom and values over tyranny.
It’s, as Holden’s character says, “a revolution”!