Saturday, March 27, 2010

Judy Holliday in "Born Yesterday"


Judy Holliday received her only Oscar nomination, and won the Oscar, for recreating her stage role as Emma 'Billie' Dawn in Born Yesterday.

Billie Dawn is an ex showgirl, whose the the mistress of a loud and annoying man named Harry Brock. Brock soon hires a man Paul Verrall, to help Billie talk better and function more in society.

Billie is dimwitted, but not stupid. She likes to be called stupid, because this allows her get whatever she wants  from Brock. As the movie continues on, her relationship with Paul becomes more of a love, and she begins to become more intelligent, and begins to think of things in her own way. She is basically living in an ignorant bliss, until her eyes are finally opened.

Born Yesterday, is a horrible movie is you ask me, and this is because of the so called "comedy". None of it works, part slapstick, part witty dialogue. None of the actors due well with it either, except Judy Holliday.

Let me just say, I can respect Judy Holliday's performance, but not love it. I can obviously tell she was an intelligent actress, who had been doing this very dull role on stage, and it still probably didn't work there.

And the biggest problem I had...the voice. I understand how people can love it, but for me, it's over the top. She stretches out every word, and it all feels like she's doing it to get your attention.

And yet another problem I had was Billie after she has become more intelligent. It seems like the last part of the picture is basically just about her having to chose between the two men, and it's very uninteresting, and a letdown, because maybe Billie could have actually been more interesting after she finally opens her eyes up to the world.

However, Judy Holliday still has some good moments. I really liked the scene with the radio and her sudden dance, the gin game, and I can't deny Holliday is very interesting as Billie and it is very easy to watch.

And again, it's obvious Judy Holliday knows how to play the character. She the fresh air this movie has.

She's stuck in a horrid mess, but Judy Holliday is able to give a very interesting, and slightly entertaining performance, that has some very good moments.


19 comments:

Twister said...

Could be one of the most controversial wins ever!

You really do have to question when voters pick perfectly professional yet fluffy comedy, over more dramatic, solid performances. Of course there are exceptions (aka. Marisa Tomei).

Sage Slowdive said...

I think her win might be a "heat of the moment" thing...she literally burst onto the scene.

Plus, we all know the whole Swanson and Davis "playing themselves".

Twister said...

It's like "they're acting people!" You can't tell how good they really are!

With Holliday people say that she was great, but Davis or Swanson deserved it more. I need to see those two since its been awhile, then maybe I can do a write-up of them.

Sage Slowdive said...

Well, this philosophy still exists, with Mickey Rourke as living proof.

One of those two might be my pick, Eleanor Parker did really well with me this time around...

Twister said...

Did you see something different this time, that you might have overlooked in the past?

After I watched Boys Don't Cry on cable one night (after numerous past viewings), Hilary Swank's performance stuck out to me in a different way, and I saw something new. Of course my attention's usually on Chloe, but I discovered new layers of depth with Swank.

Sage Slowdive said...

I never really disliked it, but she always seemed to become unimportant when Emerson was onscreen, but this was my fault of course of not separating the two, but I've always really liked her and the movie.

joe burns said...

I thought she was okay , not bad, but I agree, her voice was over the top, and I didn't find her funny at all. I laughed a little, but just how the character's reacted to her voice. But I didn't she tried to be funny, so I didn't think it was a failed performance. But I did like how she showed how Billie changes from dumb to smart and being her own person. And Born Yesterday was boring and nothing special!

Sage Slowdive said...

Agreed.

Twister said...

Why do you think they picked Hull for the win? She had the GG, but she wasn't that well known.

It may have gone down like this:

Holm and Ritter canceled each other out, Olson wasn't showy enough, and Emerson could have been too much for some. After all they did pick two "comedic" performances for leading and supporting actress.

Sage Slowdive said...

I don't believe in such a thing as canceling out. 3 actors from The Godfather Part 2 were up for supporting actor, and they picked one of them...Tatum O'Neal won over her costar Madeline Kahn, same with Cloris Leachman and Jessica Lange. So, I've never believed in those "canceling out" things.

From what I've read, Hull was the frontrunner, but I can totally understand how Emerson didn't win, given the time period and her performance.

Twister said...

Off topic, what did you think of Citizen Kane? I thought it was okay, but very boring.

Sage Slowdive said...

Criminally overrated, but that's just me :D

Twister said...

I know! The story isn't interesting, the acting is awful,etc. It looks great, but that's it.

joe burns said...

What did you think of Sunset Boulevard? I love it, but I prefer All About Eve. My profile of Helen Mirren is up!

dinasztie said...

YEEES! CITIZEN KANE IS OVERRATED!

Fritz said...

Well, I think Judy was great.

About Citizen Kane: I wouldn't call it "the best movie of all time", but I think's is still fantastic.

Twister said...

Citizen Kane felt so self-important, yet not really pretentious. Which makes you wonder; were there any real pretentious films backs then? I think it started in the '60s.

Sage Slowdive said...

The 60s were revolutionary for film, if you ask me.

Celso said...

I had the same feeling about Holliday in "Born Yesterday". It's far from a good movie, full of unnecessary nacionalism and the romance with Holden wasn't that convincing at all... Holliday is not bad, but she is completely forgetable when the movie ends.