Action / Drama / Romance
Action / Drama / Romance
Stuck as the last of six children at home with an overbearing Italian mother, the only child still unmarried, 34 year old socially awkward Bronx butcher Marty faces middle age with no prospects of marriage, and he faces permanent bachelorhood. But when he is goaded by his mother into going to the Stardust Ballroom one Saturday night, Marty unexpectedly meets Clara, a lonely teacher. Suddenly, Marty's future seems bright.
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July 20, 2014 at 07:01 AM
A Dog's Life
Ernest Borgnine is terrific as "Marty". A self-admitted "fat, ugly" thirty-something man who lives with his mother. The film is lovely in that it stars an admittedly unattractive person, and deals with his feelings of loneliness and insecurity. Mr. Borgnine doesn't just stumble into this performance; he is given the part of his lifetime, and gives it everything he's got, creating a marvelous simple, but complicated, character.
Now, I agree this is an excellent film, and I know, for the time, being single and middle-aged must have been devastating - but there is a very distracting flaw in this movie - Betsy Blair is no "dog" of a woman. I don't think, during any time, men would think of her as ugly. Ms. Blair is just not homely, and it does detract from an otherwise excellent script. Blair also has a job/profession; I would consider her a prime "catch" for most of the men in this movie. Blair does her best, though... you'll just have to imagine her as someone you'd have to give a man $5.00 to take home.
******** Marty (4/11/55) Delbert Mann ~ Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti
And What Are You Doing Tonight?
Among other things Marty will be known for is being the best film Burt Lancaster ever produced without Burt Lancaster the actor. Hard to disagree with four Academy Awards credited to the film.
Originally a made for television drama that starred Rod Steiger in the title role, Marty piqued the interest of both Burt Lancaster and his producer partner Harold Hill. Rod Steiger had gotten very good reviews for his interpretation of the part of the thirty something Bronx butcher. However upon getting the film rights, Lancaster himself did not want to cast Steiger again because he felt no one would see the film again after seeing Steiger on free television. Lancaster also personally cast Ernest Borgnine in the lead after having worked with him on From Here to Eternity.
In 1955 Marty on television and the big screen struck a resonant cord with the American public. Something about the tale of the Bronx butcher longing anxiously for a life soul mate made it a universal theme about fear of loneliness. The plot such as it is has Marty going to the Stardust Ballroom and meeting plain jane school teacher Betsy Blair.
Marty has a lot going against the relationship. His erstwhile friends, as big a pack of losers ever created for the screen, don't want to lose one of their number. His mother, after listening to her sister, changes from pushing him out the door to meet new people, to strongly urging him to forget Betsy Blair. The conversation between the two women, Esther Minciotti as Borgnine's mother and Agusta Ciolli as his Aunt Katherine is a classic.
One of Marty's biggest boosters was columnist Walter Winchell. He plugged the film a lot in his column and was very instrumental in beating the publicity drums for Marty. Ironic since two years later, Burt Lancaster delivered a cinema indictment against Winchell in playing Winchell clone, J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success.
No doubt Winchell helped because Marty scored with four Oscars. Best Picture of 1955, Best Actor Ernest Borgnine, Best Director Delbert Mann and Best Adapted Screenplay Paddy Chayefsky. There were also nominations for Best Supporting Actress for Betsy Blair and Best Supporting Actor for Joe Mantell as Marty's 'friend' Angie.
Though its mores are definitely ground in the Fifties, Marty is a timeless tale that could easily be rewritten for the 21st centuries. There are still butchers in the Bronx and 30 something school teachers looking for love. It's what makes it universal.
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I'm in love with this movie, honestly!
I seriously loved this movie, it just gave that nice warm feeling to know that both Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair playing as shy people fell in love. It really gave a good message no matter what you're like, even if you're socially awkward and plain as you think you are, you're going to find true love from somebody. It was just so sweet that the pair of them were mad about each other no matter what they looked or act like!
I was so mad at Marty near the end, when he nearly ditched the date with Clara to hang out with his bachelor pals. I even nearly cried when she was holding back the tears and watching the Ed Sullivan show with her parents. Anyhow I was glad he immediately called her and asked him marry her (even if that unfortunately didn't show in the end).
Excellent actors, storyline and romance! 9/10 I give this!