Born Yesterday

Born Yesterday (1951)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Judy Holliday, William Holden, Broderick Crawford
Extras: Production Notes, Vintage Advertising, Theatrical Trailer, Bonus Trailers

In recent months Columbia TriStar Home Video has been drastically expanding the presence of classic movie titles on DVD through their ’Columbia Classics’ series of releases. One of the latest films of this line-up is ’Born Yesterday’, George Cukor’s 1951 story of the corrupt junkyard millionaire Harry Brock who takes his ’dumb blonde’ girlfriend Billie to Washington to use her as token in his deals. To avoid social embarrassment by Billie’s crass behavior, he hires a journalist as a teacher for her, and soon Billie becomes increasingly aware that that Harry is nothing but a crook.

Columbia TriStar has restored the film and presents in on this DVD in its original black and white in a fullframe version. Although the source print shows signs of age and wear, it generally looks quite good without overly distracting problems. A number of splicing problems are evident where the picture begins to jump whenever there is a cut in the scene, but I was genuinely surprised by the great quality of the movie on this disc. As we have come to expect from Columbia, the presentation on the DVD itself is very good without compression artifacts and a well-balanced contrast that ranges from deep blacks to good highlights.

’Born Yesterday’ contains a monaural Dolby Digital audio track. Well preserved, the track does contains some noise, but it is mostly limited and the track has been well restored to keep the dialogues’ syllables intact without generating too much background noise. The frequency response is limited due to the technical limitations of the time, giving the audio a harsh quality, but once again, I was surprised as to how well the movie has been preserved.

’Born Yesterday’ is one of the those films that truly deserve the title ’Classic.’ Not necessarily due to the film’s age, but most due to the nature of the material, its presentation and the unique performances found in the film. Judy Holliday received an Oscar for her part as the high-pitched bombshell Billie, and while watching the film, it is very clear, why. Her performance makes this movie an unforgettable comedy.