by Garson Kanin
World War II has just ended, and crude, shady scrap metal king Harry Brock heads to Washington, D.C., determined to take the town by storm and buy his way to a business-friendly Amendment.
With bitter, corrupt lawyer Ed Devery and meek Senator Hedges by his side, he is confident in his ability to prevail.
Harry’s only liability is the socially inappropriate behaviour and outrageously ignorant remarks of his showgirl lady friend, Billie Dawn, a beautiful woman with a deceptively simple facade.
Charmed by Paul Verrall, the investigative reporter who is sent to interview him, Harry hires the upright, idealistic newspaper man to educate Billie, hoping that she will acquire enough class and social polish to prevent embarrassment.
But little does Harry realize that underneath the ignorance and apathy, Billie is an intelligent woman with a vigorous sense of right and wrong, who has just been waiting for a kind and sympathetic teacher to blossom into an empowered and informed person.
As Billie and Paul tiptoe towards a romance, and Billie absorbs Paul’s knowledge and ideals, she begins to question the ways Harry has been using her — especially her position as a silent partner, who owns 160 of her own junkyards and has signed off on hundreds of documents, completely unread.
In Garson Kanin’s pointed and hilarious Born Yesterday, personal and political oppression is exposed and outwitted in the intellectual rebirth of the iconic “dumb blonde”, Billie Dawn, who ultimately stands up to Harry Brock’s violent intimidation and shuts down his shady bid for governmental cooperation.
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