Yesterday" on DVD
Holden Takes a Holliday
Director George Cukor's
adaptation of the Garson Kanin play teams Broderick Crawford, William
Holden and Judy Holliday in what's an outstanding morality comedy.
As a comedy it doesn't
leave you rolling on the floor, though there are lots of great light moments
in it. As a morality tale it works much better, however, as it tells the
tale of the comeuppance of a corrupt millionaire junk dealer (Crawford)
at the hands of his "main squeeze."
Crawford's Harry Brock
blows into Washington DC to spread around a little influence and, while
there, hires young journalist Holden to take his lady around and teach
her a little sophistication.
Naturally, she ends
up teaching Holden - and everyone else - a few things along the way, as
well as awakening in herself an appreciation for life's "big picture"
and the realization that, in her role as a signing authority in Brock's
empire, she's been used as a pawn in some rather questionable dealings.
Holliday really steals
the show as the unsophisticated ex-showgirl concubine who's a lot smarter
than most people suspect, a performance that earned her a "Best Actress"
Oscar. Crawford chews the scenery (and this isn't meant as a putdown;
the character demands it) as the corrupt blowhard Brock, while Holden
is gentle and sophisticated as the "writer-turned-Professor Henry Higgins."
There's a nasty bit
when Holliday begins using her new-found knowledge and sense of social
consciousness against Crawford and he roughs her up a bit. It's a powerful
scene you feel viscerally - yet compared with how such scenes are usually
handled today its presentation is rather mild.
It just goes to show
that it's the writing and direction, not the effects or violence, that
make for the most powerful images.
There's also a lot
of "rah rah" about the United States, its founders and its foundations.
It isn't drum beating for the sake of it, however, since it's essential
to the plot. Besides, it doesn't hurt to be reminded evert si often of
what makes America a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.
The DVD is presented
in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and Dolby Digital 2 channel mono (as
opposed to our preferred presentation of only using the center channel
for such mono releases) and the audio and black & white video quality
are very good for an old flick like this. Extras include the theatrical
trailer, chapter stops, and some cast/crew info. There's also some vintage
advertising for the film and a decent liner essay inside the package.
Born Yesterday, from
Columbia Tristar Home Video
approx 102 minutes, fullscreen (1.33:1) black and white, Dolby Digital
2 channel mono
Starring Judy Holliday, William Holden, Broderick Crawford
Produced by S. Sylvan Simon, Screenplay by Albert Mannheimer, based on
Garson Kanin's stage play
Directed by George Cukor
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