Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Born Yesterday (1950)

I started a new Wishlist for director George Cukor recently. I guess George is best known for My Fair Lady, but I actually loved him first for Philadelphia Story.

According to the biography of Katharine Hepburn that I read "Kate, Remembered" (which actually you could say I didn't so much read as attempt to finish over the course of about 10 weeks during which the library fined my about 40 dollars which I still owe) = George was also the sponsor of the Hepburn-Tracy romance since he allowed Tracy the use of the guest house on his property where Hepburn practically lived with him - although Tracy would never divorce his first wife because he was a Catholic. He was a pretty bad Catholic, if you ask me.

Anyhow, this Wishlist caught "Born Yesterday" and it is my new FAVORITE film. Directed by George Cukor, it stars Judy Holliday and William Holden. Judy plays an excellent ditz, prompting me to imagine both a remake of the film (starring who? Britney Spears? I can't imagine who today can pull off the ditz - a perfect proof of the inferiority of Paris Hilton to the spoiled heiresses of the classic film era is her inability to compare to Marilyn Munroe) and make a clips show about great ditzy blondes.

The lines are so great a few bear repeating:

After being told to read the newspaper and circle anything that confuses her, Billie Dawn makes a move to kiss Paul Verral, he declines. Bille says:
"I'm going to take my pencil and make a circle around you!"

Paul finally corners Billie and asks her to marry him she says no, but when pressed:
"All right I'll think it over but I can tell you already my answer is no."

And finally when Harry threatens her "Shut up! You ain't gonna be tellin' nobody nothin' pretty soon!" she says, gleefully "Double negative!"

This movie is so charming because of Holliday's great performance as a blissfully ignorant woman being educated by a handsome bookworm. He is as intent on her mind as she is on his beauty. Here is a man who has been overlooked by beautiful women who don't want a man of words but a man of action, and along comes a beautiful woman who is enchanted by his intelligence. Now a woman who can easily hold him in her thrall with her looks tries, paradoxically, to entice him with her brain.

It's awesome!

Also, Robert Osbourne told me that JH won an Oscar for her role which she honed on Broadway for 1600 performances. However, she was only considered for the screen role after her performance in Adam's Rib. Previously, everyone from Rita Hayworth (who couldn't be dragged back from Europe) to Lucille Ball was cast in the role. I love Lucy, too, but there is no way she could have out-ditzed Judy!

My new favorite movie!! And made me take up Gin Rummy again.

Will watch again.
Four stars.

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