Friday, July 16, 2010

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: 'Born Yesterday' (1950)

This week Steve Hayes reviews the classic comedy "Born Yesterday," for which Judy Holliday won an Oscar, and later inspired a certain pop star to play Nikki Finn to the hilt.

The Tired Old Queen says: Comedy reign supreme at the 1950 Academy Awards when Judy Holliday, swept past leading contenders Bette Davis ("All About Eve") and Gloria Swanson ("Sunset Boulevard") to capture the Oscar as best actress for her legendary comic performance as the irrepressible Billie Dawn in George Cukor's "Born Yesterday." Based on the successful stage comedy by Garson Kanin, Holliday had already performed the role countless times on Broadway, but Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn was not convinced he should hand the juicy part over to her and favored Rita Hayworth, for whom he bought the property in the first place. However, Cukor in cahoots with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy virtually used their comedy "Adam's Rib" as a screen test for Holliday and "Born Yesterday" was hers. Cukor cast hunky William Holden as her romantic mentor and Broderick Crawford, fresh from his Oscar winning role in "All The King's Men" as her blowhard boyfriend Harry Brock. The sparks fly and so do the laughs as this unpredictable little blonde turns the tables on everybody, proving that she's smarter than they thought and wasn't "Born Yesterday"!

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