Born Yesterday (1993)

PG | 100 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance | 26 March 1993

Director:

Luis Mandoki

Writer:

Douglas McGrath

Cinematographer:

Lajos Koltai

Editor:

Lesley Walker

Production Designer:

Lawrence G. Paull

Production Companies:

Hollywood Pictures , Touchwood Pacific Partners I
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HISTORY

       On 31 May 1974, HR announced that George Schlatter was in negotiations to produce an “updated remake” of Garson Kanin’s 1946 stage play, Born Yesterday, which had previously been adapted into a successful 1950 film (see entry). The news item indicated that Kanin was also being considered to direct. George C. Scott was named as a potential cast member, with Diana Ross in consideration for the role of “Billie Dawn.”
       The 27 May 1980 DV stated that several attempts at a musical remake had been planned over the previous twenty years. In 1965, Frank Sinatra spoke with Kanin about appearing opposite Shirley MacLaine, while Warner Bros. Pictures executive Ted Ashley proposed his own adaptation starring Barbra Streisand. Kanin also named Richard Rodgers, Alan Jay Lerner, CBS features executive Don March, and Twentieth Century-Fox executives Sherry Lansing, Bobby Fryer, and Jerry Leider as parties that were at one time interested in obtaining rights to the property. At the time of the item’s publication, Kanin was in negotiations with producer Elliot Kastner, who was likely to cast Sinatra following their recent collaboration on The First Deadly Sin (1980, see entry). A short time later, the 7 Apr 1981 HR claimed that Robert Stigwood was considering an adaptation that would reverse the sexes of the lead characters. A 2 Nov 1981 HR news item again linked Sinatra to the project, which was still being described as a film musical.
       Five years later, the 26 Mar 1986 HR announced that Kanin was now being pursued to modernize his screenplay for Cannon Films. The 10 Apr 1986 HR ... More Less

       On 31 May 1974, HR announced that George Schlatter was in negotiations to produce an “updated remake” of Garson Kanin’s 1946 stage play, Born Yesterday, which had previously been adapted into a successful 1950 film (see entry). The news item indicated that Kanin was also being considered to direct. George C. Scott was named as a potential cast member, with Diana Ross in consideration for the role of “Billie Dawn.”
       The 27 May 1980 DV stated that several attempts at a musical remake had been planned over the previous twenty years. In 1965, Frank Sinatra spoke with Kanin about appearing opposite Shirley MacLaine, while Warner Bros. Pictures executive Ted Ashley proposed his own adaptation starring Barbra Streisand. Kanin also named Richard Rodgers, Alan Jay Lerner, CBS features executive Don March, and Twentieth Century-Fox executives Sherry Lansing, Bobby Fryer, and Jerry Leider as parties that were at one time interested in obtaining rights to the property. At the time of the item’s publication, Kanin was in negotiations with producer Elliot Kastner, who was likely to cast Sinatra following their recent collaboration on The First Deadly Sin (1980, see entry). A short time later, the 7 Apr 1981 HR claimed that Robert Stigwood was considering an adaptation that would reverse the sexes of the lead characters. A 2 Nov 1981 HR news item again linked Sinatra to the project, which was still being described as a film musical.
       Five years later, the 26 Mar 1986 HR announced that Kanin was now being pursued to modernize his screenplay for Cannon Films. The 10 Apr 1986 HR stated that the William Morris Agency hoped to convince Columbia Pictures to “release its stranglehold” on the rights to Kanin’s stage play. Although Walter Matthau was cast as “Harry Brock,” Goldie Hawn reportedly turned down the lead role because she was unwilling to “compete with the memory” of Judy Holliday’s Academy Award-winning performance. A few days later, the 25 Apr 1986 DV announced that Cannon had secured film rights, with Kanin expected to complete the screenplay by mid-year. Production was scheduled to begin in early 1987.
       By that time, however, the 9 Apr 1987 Long Beach Press-Telegram indicated that casting problems had postponed filming until Nov of that year. Touted star Whoopi Goldberg passed on the project because she refused to appear opposite John Travolta in the ultimately unproduced police comedy, Public Enemy, as part of a two-picture deal with Cannon. Bernadette Peters was among those considered as Goldberg’s replacement. A 22 Apr 1987 HR news item also indicated that Larry Gelbart had agreed to rewrite the script, but he is not credited onscreen.
       On 17 Apr 1990, DV reported the involvement of D. Constantine Conte, and suggested that the producer would reteam with his 48 Hrs. (1982, see entry) and Another 48 Hrs. (1990, see entry) star, Nick Nolte. Nolte did not appear in the film, and the 27 Jan 1992 DV announced that the project had moved to The Walt Disney Company’s Hollywood Pictures, with real-life spouses Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson cast as Billie Dawn and “Paul Verrall.”
       Despite an estimated start date of 6 Apr 1992, the 23 Jun 1992 HR confirmed that principal photography finally got underway on 15 Jun 1992. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, six days and six nights were spent filming in the lobby of Washington D.C.'s Willard Intercontinental Hotel, where the actors were also lodged during production. The Presidential Suite interior was later re-created as a 4,000 square-foot set at the Warner Hollywood studio in Los Angeles, CA. Additional scenes were filmed at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Memorial, the Library of Congress, on the steps of the Red Cross Building, near the White House, and in and around Georgetown University. The “Just for Variety” column in the 9 Sep 1992 DV indicated that Central Avenue in Glendale, CA, also doubled for Georgetown exteriors. Principal photography was completed 5 Sep 1992.
       A 14 Jul 1992 LAT story stated that former Washington Post editor Benjamin C. Bradlee and his wife, writer Sally Quinn, worked three days in their motion picture acting debuts as “Secretary Duffee,” and “Beatrice Duffee,” and donated their combined $10,000 salaries to a Washington, D.C. children’s hospital.
       According to a 22 Mar 1993 Var brief, Griffith and Johnson did not get along during filming, and certain scenes shot between their off-camera arguments required re-shooting.
       The 5 Apr 1993 Var reported a box-office gross of $7.3 million its first weekend, accompanied by largely negative reviews.
      End credits state: “The producers wish to thank: Senator John Breaux; Senator David Pryor; Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Inc.; Bulgari Corporation of America; Fred Leighton, Ltd.; The Willard Inter-Continental Hotel; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; The City of Los Angeles Film & Video Permit Office; The City of Glendale, California; Library of Congress; National Park Service and U.S. Park Police; Mayor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, Washington, D.C.; Sandra Seacat; Alvaro Lopez-Watermann.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 1986
p. 1, 30.
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1990.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1992.
---
Daily Variety
9 Sep 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1993
p. 6, 19.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
9 Apr 1987
Section B, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jul 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
26 Mar 1993
Section C, p. 17.
Variety
22 Mar 1993.
---
Variety
29 Mar 1993
p. 82.
Variety
5 Apr 1993
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Hollywood Pictures Presents
In association with Touchwood Pacific Partners I
A D. Constantine Conte Production
A Luis Mandoki Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Still photog
Steadicam® op
Steadicam® op
Steadicam® asst
Steadicam® asst
Video op
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Mini Musco light tech
Cranes and dollies by
Steadicam® op, Washington, D.C. crew
Steadicam® asst, Washington, D.C. crew
Arriflex 535 cams by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst props/On-set dresser
Set des
Set des
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Women's key costumer
Men's key costumer
Ms. Griffith's costumer
Mr. Johnson's costumer
Spec ward for Melanie Griffith provided by
John Goodman's suits by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Orch contractor
Mus coord
Mus preparation
Asst to Mr. Fenton
Synthesizer programming
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Supv sd FX ed
Sd FX ed
Sd FX ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley rec
Supv Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley artist
1st asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Prod sd mixer
Cableman
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des by
DANCE
MAKEUP
Ms. Griffith's makeup artist
Ms. Griffith's body makeup artist
Mr. Goodman's makeup artist
Mr. Johnson's makeup artist
Key makeup artist
Ms. Griffith's hairstylist
Mr. Johnson's hairstylist
Key hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Voice casting
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod coord
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Mandoki
Asst to Mr. Leopold
Asst to Mr. Conte and Mr. Traxler
Unit pub
Tech adv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Asst to Ms. Griffith
Asst to Mr. Goodman
Asst to Mr. Johnson
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Mr. Johnson's driver
Cast asst
Cast asst
Casting asst
Extras casting
Craft service
Catering by
Prod coord, Washington, D.C. crew
Loc mgr, Washington, D.C. crew
Transportation capt, Washington, D.C. crew
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin (New York, 4 Feb 1946).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Baby Work Out," written by Jackie Wilson and Alonzo Tucker, performed by Jackie Wilson, courtesy of Score Productions of Atlanta, Georgia, by arrangement with Butterfly Entertainment
"Teach Me Tonight," written by Sammy Cahn and Gene de Paul, performed by Dinah Washington, courtesy of Mercury Records, by arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
"Teach Me Tonight," written by Sammy Cahn and Gene de Paul, performed by Stevie Wonder, courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P., by arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
+
SONGS
"Baby Work Out," written by Jackie Wilson and Alonzo Tucker, performed by Jackie Wilson, courtesy of Score Productions of Atlanta, Georgia, by arrangement with Butterfly Entertainment
"Teach Me Tonight," written by Sammy Cahn and Gene de Paul, performed by Dinah Washington, courtesy of Mercury Records, by arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
"Teach Me Tonight," written by Sammy Cahn and Gene de Paul, performed by Stevie Wonder, courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P., by arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
"Because," written by Dave Clark, performed by The Dave Clark Five, courtesy of Hollywood Records and EMI Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 March 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 March 1993
Production Date:
15 June--5 September 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Hollywood Pictures Company
Copyright Date:
12 April 1993
Copyright Number:
PA607535
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®; Produced and distributed on Eastman Film
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32355
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Concerned that his fortune may be in danger, Chicago, Illinois, businessman Harry Brock travels to Washington, D.C. to meet several U.S. senators seeking their help. At their hotel, Harry’s advisor, Ed Devery, composes a contract that will transfer the tycoon’s multimillion dollar assets to his ditzy girl friend, former showgirl Emma “Billie” Dawn, who signs the papers without reading them. Meanwhile, Harry sits down for an interview with Paul Verrall, a reporter intent on figuring out why Harry has come to Washington. The mood suddenly sours when Harry loses his temper at Billie and attacks Ed for coming to her defense. Harry tries to diffuse the situation by offering Paul a job on his staff, but the journalist declines. At a party that evening, Harry socializes with politicians while his uncultured girl friend embarrasses herself by conversing on subjects she knows nothing about. Concerned that Billie is a liability to Harry’s image, Ed suggests sending her back to Chicago, but Harry insists he cannot bear to be without her. The next day, however, Harry’s embarrassment deepens when Billie agrees to do an interview on NPR (National Public Radio). Convinced that Billie is a quick learner, Harry hires Paul Verrall to act as her tutor in government, politics, and current events. Despite his initial hesitation, Paul agrees to the deal after Harry offers him $500 a day. As teacher and student become acquainted, Billie admits that she stays with Harry for the luxurious lifestyle his money provides. Paul grows flustered when she asks him to dance and later propositions him, confessing that she finds him attractive. They kiss, and Harry walks in just moments after they separate from their embrace. ... +


Concerned that his fortune may be in danger, Chicago, Illinois, businessman Harry Brock travels to Washington, D.C. to meet several U.S. senators seeking their help. At their hotel, Harry’s advisor, Ed Devery, composes a contract that will transfer the tycoon’s multimillion dollar assets to his ditzy girl friend, former showgirl Emma “Billie” Dawn, who signs the papers without reading them. Meanwhile, Harry sits down for an interview with Paul Verrall, a reporter intent on figuring out why Harry has come to Washington. The mood suddenly sours when Harry loses his temper at Billie and attacks Ed for coming to her defense. Harry tries to diffuse the situation by offering Paul a job on his staff, but the journalist declines. At a party that evening, Harry socializes with politicians while his uncultured girl friend embarrasses herself by conversing on subjects she knows nothing about. Concerned that Billie is a liability to Harry’s image, Ed suggests sending her back to Chicago, but Harry insists he cannot bear to be without her. The next day, however, Harry’s embarrassment deepens when Billie agrees to do an interview on NPR (National Public Radio). Convinced that Billie is a quick learner, Harry hires Paul Verrall to act as her tutor in government, politics, and current events. Despite his initial hesitation, Paul agrees to the deal after Harry offers him $500 a day. As teacher and student become acquainted, Billie admits that she stays with Harry for the luxurious lifestyle his money provides. Paul grows flustered when she asks him to dance and later propositions him, confessing that she finds him attractive. They kiss, and Harry walks in just moments after they separate from their embrace. For her first official lesson, Paul presents Billie with a list of common responses appropriate for conversation at any Washington, D.C. party. Following Paul’s cues, Billie uses his “cheat sheet” to stun Harry and a crowd of sophisticated partygoers later that evening. Afterward, Paul compliments her efforts, but Billie compares the act to ventriloquism and declares her desire to actually learn. She becomes discouraged, however, attempting to read the advanced political language of Alexander De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, but Paul bolsters her confidence by sending her a pocket dictionary. Sometime later, Paul stops by the hotel suite and is alarmed to see Harry holding an important meeting with six senators. In turn, Harry feels increasingly threatened by Paul’s intellect and the time he spends with Billie. After finally finishing De Tocqueville, Billie is eager to discuss its contents with the patronizing NPR host, but learns that she and most of her acquaintances have lied about reading the book in order to appear more intelligent. While strolling through an art museum, Billie asks Paul why he has not pursued a romantic relationship, and he explains the ethical conflict of working for Harry, whose worldview he resents. Billie insists Paul’s lessons have brought about a positive change in her, but she believes he still sees her as a “bimbo.” During a dinner party with a group of senators, the guests are impressed by Billie’s knowledge of the Constitutional amendments. Despite Harry’s attempts to silence her, Billie leads the table in a modified version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which she uses as a mnemonic device. Over time, Billie becomes aware of Harry’s corrupt business practices and condescending attitude toward his associates, and insists she read all new paperwork he gives her to sign. Infuriated by her defiance, Harry beats her and forces her to authorize the documents against her will. After ordering him to “drop dead,” Billie storms out. While Harry is away, she and Paul riffle through his paperwork and discover that the businessman has been bribing senators to keep them from closing his corporate tax loopholes. Realizing Billie has total control of his fortune, Paul declares his love for her and suggests they elope once he writes an exposé on Harry’s crimes. When Harry returns, Billie ushers Paul out the back door. Worried that Billie is restless in their relationship, Harry proposes marriage, but she announces her intent to leave him instead. Although he decides to reverse the terms of the contract, Billie declares that Paul took it. When the reporter returns, Billie announces her plan to marry him and refuses to relinquish control of Harry’s companies until the senators return their payoffs. Bewildered, Harry leans back in his chair and admits defeat as Billie says goodbye and leaves with Paul. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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