Born Yesterday (1950) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 9

directing 9

effects 8

editing 8

writing 9


4.5 out of 5 🐙


The charming story of a bright woman who was only appreciated for her beauty and an earnest man who loved her and saw that she was far more than her appearance. He never talked down to her or condescended but he just offered up examples of culture and literature and art that she had not sought out before and only after she consented to the exposure. The more she learned about the higher principles of humanity, the more she realizes that her organized criminal and thug boyfriend is not helping her, but holding her back. It’s full of startlingly brilliant dialogue which is typical of well written movies in the 50s. It’s remarkable. Judy Holliday (who has a voice that grins my soul but I get that’s my own damage) is wonderful as a sincere, unpretentious, and fearless fighter. Broderick Crawford plays her thuggish mob-style boyfriend who is defeated at the end but also manages to garner some sympathy because he is a dinosaur and society is changing and he’s literally and figuratively flailing in despair. And finally, William Holden is the earnest gentleman. He is the sincere man and he plays a calm, normal center in a swirl of eccentric characters. The acting performances, from the good to the bad characters, are remarkable. I’ll close by leaving some of my favorite quotes. They aren’t listed because I agree with their sentiments. They are only listed because I think they’re great writing.

  • “Tell him yourself. You ain’t pregnant.” (this makes the misogynists of today seem woke)
  • “He’s right. I’m stupid and I like it.”
  • “I think it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. I didn’t understand a single word.”
  • (quoted from the excerpt from the Robert Ingersoll piece) “And I said I would rather have been a French peasant and worn wooden shoes. I would rather have lived in a hut with a vine growing over the door and the grapes growing purple in the kisses of the autumn sun. I would rather have been that poor peasant with my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day died out of the sky, with my children upon my knee and their arms about me. I would rather have been that man and gone down to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust than to have been that imperial impersonation of force and murder known as Napoleon the Great.”
  • (exchange)
    • Billie: “He probably never heard of Napoleon.”
    • Paul: “What’s worse, he probably never heard of a peasant.”






(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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