Judy Holliday shot to stardom as the screen’s definitive “dumb blonde” in this adaptation of Garson Kanin’s hit play. Holliday’s Billie Dawn is an ex-chorus girl who’s the mistress of a junk king (Broderick Crawford) on the way up the ranks in political circles. When he hires liberal reporter Paul Verrall (William Holden) to smooth out Billie’s rough edges, she is transformed into a vibrant, intelligent woman with ideas of her own about her lover and her future. Kanin and director George Cukor fought to cast Holliday in the role re-creating her stage triumph. After paying an unprecedented $1 million for the film rights, Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn wanted to cast anyone but Holliday in the role until Holliday’s performance in Cukor’s Adam’s Rib (1949), written by Kanin and wife Ruth Gordon, convinced Cohn of her screen potential. BORN YESTERDAY became a personal triumph earning Holliday the Oscar for Best Actress, and convincing Cohn to create more starring vehicles to exploit her mix of brassiness and wit. The star-director-writer collaboration (with Gordon co-writing their other films) led to The Marrying Kind (1952) and It Should Happen to You (1954). (d. George Cukor, 103m, DCP)

In attendance: TARA McNAMARA