7.6/10
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87 user 53 critic

Born Yesterday (1950)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | February 1951 (USA)
Trailer
1:44 | Trailer
A tycoon hires a tutor to teach his lover proper etiquette, with unexpected results.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Garson Kanin (play), Albert Mannheimer (screenplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Judy Holliday ... Billie Dawn
Broderick Crawford ... Harry Brock
William Holden ... Paul Verrall
Howard St. John ... Jim Devery
Frank Otto Frank Otto ... Eddie
Larry Oliver Larry Oliver ... Congressman Norval Hedges
Barbara Brown Barbara Brown ... Anna Hedges
Grandon Rhodes ... Sanborn
Claire Carleton ... Helen
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Storyline

Uncouth, loud-mouth junkyard tycoon Harry Brock descends upon Washington D.C. to buy himself a congressman or two, bringing with him his mistress, ex-showgirl Billie Dawn. Brock hires newspaperman Paul Verrall to see if he can soften her rough edges and make her more presentable in capital society. But Harry gets more than he bargained for as Billie absorbs Verall's lessons in U.S. history and not only comes to the realization that Harry is nothing but a two-bit, corrupt crook, but in the process also falls in love with her handsome tutor. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For her performance in the screen's best comedy! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Born Yesterday See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Costume designer Jean Louis gave Judy Holliday 13 outfits that became more stylish and tasteful as her character grew in knowledge and self-awareness. See more »

Goofs

When Eddie serves a drink to Mrs. Hedges, she picks up the glass and he takes his hand off immediately. Next shot he is still taking off his hand. See more »

Quotes

Billie: Would you do me a favor, Harry?
Harry Brock: What?
Billie: Drop dead!
See more »


Soundtracks

Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36, 2nd movement
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Played at the outdoor concert
Also played on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ms. Dawn Goes To Washington
25 December 2004 | by Griffin-MillSee all my reviews

A brilliant Judy Holliday performance is the main attraction in this witty, brisk adaptation of Garson Kanin's Broadway success. As a gangster's moll who gradually awakens to her civic responsibility, Holliday expands her dumb-broad persona from her previous film with Cukor, Adam's Rib, into a character who's sweet, memorable and surprisingly tough.

Born Yesterday is a suitable companion piece to Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, a much more self-consciously "important" film that imparts similar messages about political corruption and the responsibility of individuals to require ethical governance. The message is arguably more powerfully imparted here - filtered through the perspective of the selfish, spoiled and barely-literate Ms. Dawn - than in the film focused on Jimmy Stewart's eloquent (and intimidatingly ethical) Mr. Smith, an "everyman" who is vastly morally superior to most audience members.

William Holden is relaxed and charming as the Henry Higgins-ish newspaper man tasked with opening Billie's eyes and Broderick Crawford is suitably broad and menacingly raspy as her corrupt, vulgar boyfriend. However, the movie is all Holliday's from the opening scenes, which play on the audience's lack of familiarity with the actress by presenting her as a refined, statuesque beauty in an extended sequence until, at last, she squawks out her first lines in nearly impenetrable, helium-voiced Brooklynese to hilarious effect.

A richly deserved Best Actress Oscar for the newcomer Holliday, despite formidable competition from grande dames Bette Davis (All About Eve) and Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard).


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