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Blu-ray Reviews

Born Yesterday (1950) Blu-ray Review

Sony Pictures Twilight Time Blu-ray

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

Richard Gallagher

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Posted August 15 2014 - 12:07 PM

Born Yesterday (1950) Blu-ray Review

Born Yesterday, a very funny comedy with some serious overtones about political corruption, features an Academy Award-winning performance by Judy Holliday and also was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (George Cukor), and Best Screenplay (Albert Mannheimer). This outstanding film now has been issued on Blu-ray by Twilight Time with a gorgeous black & white transfer courtesy of Sony.

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Studio: Sony

Distributed By: Twilight Time

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 1 Hr. 43 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Standard Blu-ray Keep Case

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 07/08/2014

MSRP: $29.95




The Production Rating: 4.5/5

Are you one of these talkers or would you be interested in a little action? - Billie DawnHarry Brock (Broderick Crawford), a shady but wealthy junk dealer from New Jersey, arrives in Washington, D.C. with his "dumb blonde" fiancée, Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday), in tow. It quickly becomes evident that Harry has come to town with bribery on his mind, and his lawyer, Jim Devery (Howard St. John), has lined up a meeting with a Congressman who is interested in lining his pockets. Devery also persuades Harry to consent to an interview by a freelance writer, Paul Verrall (William Holden). Even though the interview is somewhat contentious, Harry finds himself liking Paul. Harry is brusque and overbearing, and he possesses a hair-trigger temper which leads to him berating both Billie and Devery in Paul's presence. At the same time, he is generous with his money and he repeatedly professes his love for Billie.Harry is in Washington for an extended stay and he expects to meet with a number of powerful people. He realizes that Billie, a former chorus girl, is ill-equipped in the social graces which Washington dignitaries have come to expect from powerful people. Harry hires Paul to work with Billie on refining her speech and exposing her to some of Washington's rich history and culture. Billie is initially ambivalent about the prospect of working with Paul. Harry can be difficult to live with, but he lavishes her with jewelry and fur coats, leaving her pretty well satisfied with her life. However, she is self-conscious about her speech and Paul promises to work with her on that.Naturally, Harry's plan to refine Billie backfires on him. Complicating matters is the fact that Harry has been using Billie to front for him on many of the businesses which he has acquired. Early in the film attorney Devery advised Harry that he should marry Billie because a wife cannot be forced to testify against her husband, advice which Harry rejects.Besides being a very funny comedy, Born Yesterday is an indictment of the corrupting influence which money has upon our political process, an influence which most people agree has increased exponentially since 1950.Judy Holliday, who reprised her starring role in the Broadway production of Born Yesterday, deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. William Holden is well cast as the writer who finds himself unable to resist Billie's charms. Broderick Crawford turns in an excellent performance as the blustery and verbally abusive Harry, who is proud of being a self-made millionaire but who seems to be unable to come to grips with the fact that most of his wealth consists of ill-gotten gains. The film is well-paced and expertly directed by George Cukor. The sparkling script by Albert Mannheimer (adapted from Garson Kanin's Broadway hit) contains many memorable lines.


Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA

The 1.33:1 black & white image is presented in 1080p and is encoded with the AVC codec. The result is positively stunning. The image is consistently clear and sharp. Contrast is strong, black levels are inky, and shadow detail is excellent. An appropriate level of film grain has been retained and there are no digital anomalies. Sony has produced another flawless Blu-ray transfer.



Audio Rating: 3.5/5

The English 1.0 DTS-HD MA mono soundtrack has inherent limitations, but Born Yesterday could not conceivably have sounded better in theaters. Dialogue is clear and crisp, and the musical score by Frederick Hollander sounds very good. The audio is free of noise and other age-related issues. English SDH subtitles are available for viewers who need them.


Special Features Rating: 3/5

The extras on this Blu-ray disc consist of two theatrical trailers, both of which are billed as "original theatrical" trailers but which appear to me to be re-release trailers. One of the trailers even includes newsreel footage of the premiere of Born Yesterday and comments about the film from such luminaries as William Bendix and Barbara Hale. Both trailers are in very good shape.There also is the usual Twilight Time extra, the ability to view the film with its isolated score track.Also included is an eight-page illustrated booklet containing a typically incisive and informative essay by the always enjoyable Julie Kirgo.


Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Born Yesterday is a genuine comedy classic, and it is now available in a wonderful Blu-ray transfer through Twilight Time. It has been released in a limited edition of 3,000 copies, so readers who are interested in purchasing it should go to the Screen Archives website and confirm that it is still available.


Reviewed By: Richard Gallagher


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