I saw Born Yesterday (1950) last night in Grant Park with Hillary and Jen. It was awesome, mostly because Judy Holliday is a brilliant comedic actress. Also because tons of people turned out for it (I guess there’s a high demand for free movies in the park… who knew?):
And we scoped out a prime location:
And downtown Chicago at dusk is gorgeous:
And it’s always funny to watch a movie in a crowd. One funny moment came when the movie got really idealistic and patriotic about the origins of this country (Tom Paine! Thomas Jefferson!) and the beauty of our government (the people have the power!)– to the point that one character berated the bad guy for wanting to buy off a congressman. Ignorant fool! You can’t just buy off an elected official– that’s not how our government works! Laughs all around in the cynical, cynical crowd.
But the movie: you know the actors are amazing if you can watch a couple silently play gin rummy for 5 or 10 minutes and be totally engrossed. And it says some interesting things about what happiness is, finding out what we want out of life, the power of Education. Maybe it’s like watching Mr Smith Goes to Washington— it would be trite if you made that movie today, but watching it still makes you feel good about humanity.
Sometime I’m going to write a post about comedy and social change, because comedies can be much more complex (dare I say subversive) than good-intentioned dramas (do I sound too Macalester?). In any case, I’m going to think more about this movie.
Oh, and the best line ever, from Holliday’s character: ‘You only like me because of my brain’. Brilliant!