"When you gonna get married, Marty? You should be ashamed of yourself. All your brothers and sisters, younger than you, they get married and got the children."
Ernest Borgnine's Oscar winning performance as the title character in "Marty" is so captivating that you might forget the real star of this film is writer Paddy Chayefsky. Originally "Marty" was an acclaimed live television anthology drama that aired in May 1953 on the "Philco-Goodyear Playhouse." The 50-minute production starred Rod Steiger and Nancy Marchand. The drama was a poignant tale of the battle against loneliness for butcher Marty Piletti, who knew that whatever a woman wanted in a man, "I ain't got it." When Marty finally met a woman, his friends cruelly called her "a dog." But then Marty realized that he was a dog too and seized his chance for happiness, arranging a date as the drama ended.
The telecast of "Marty" made Chayefsky one of the greatest writers of television's "Golden Age," second only to Rod Serling ("Patterns," "Requiem for a Heavyweight"). Two years later Chayefsky and director Delbert Mann reunited in Hollywood to make a 90-minute film version of the story, which was expanded masterfully by the author as he explored the pain of being unwanted. What made the story a winner was that this is not a depressing story and we never fail to feel not only sympathy but affection for the main character. Marty is about to give up on love when he meets the plain-looking Clair (Betsy Blair), a teacher about to turn 30 who has also faced a life of rejection. What makes their rejection painful is that they are both decent people, who come together because they are able to recognize their own decent qualities in each other.
There are those who complain that the leading players are not "dogs" enough to make the story work. However, Borgnine was never anything close to a traditional leading man. I certainly think his performance is both convincing and compelling. The criticism is more telling with regards to Blair, who has a certain attractiveness that goes a bit beyond being "plain." But what is important in the story is not these are ugly people per se, but that their self-esteem and sense of confidence has been completely eroded away by friends and family. Besides, we would not really expect Hollywood to invest in a film like this with too much authenticity.
Most Romantic Lines: These might not be overly romantic, but they are great Chayeksky dialogue: (1) "All right, so I'll go to the Stardust Ballroom. I'll put on a blue suit, and I'll go. And you know what I'm gonna get for my trouble? Heartache. A big night of heartache"; (2) "And I also want you to know that I'm having a very good time with you right now and really enjoying myself. You see, you're not such a dog as you think you are"; (3) "You got a real nice face, you know. Really a nice face"; (4) "I'd like to see you again - very much. The reason I didn't let you kiss me was because I just didn't know how to handle the situation. You're the kindest man I ever met. The reason I tell you this is because I want to see you again - very much. I know that when you take me home I'm just going to lie on my bed and think about you. I want very much to see you again." Of course the most famous exchange in the film is between Marty and his friend: Angie: "What do you wanna do tonight?" Marty: "I dunno, Angie. What do you wanna do?"
If you enjoyed this film check out these other films on the American Film Institute's 100 Years 100 Passions list: #14 "The African Queen," #17 "Moonstruck," #23 "Now, Voyager," and #81 "The Goodbye Girl." Why? Because they all tell love stories in which love comes relatively late in the game for people who believed it was never coming at all. Obviously, however, you should also check out the original television version of "Marty," preferably before you check out the film version.
on 8 February 2005
After the golden age of Hollywood, when television brought a new type of story-telling to the screen, came a little show about Marty, a 30-something butcher who still lives with his mom in good-old Brooklin, longing to find a girl and spends his nights with his pals looking for a date.
Than came the film, and it was one of the first "Real-life" movies about the small-time people in the big city, with their dreams and fears, and need of love and exeptance.
The acting is flawless, the writing amazing (notice Marty's piece on how he cant stop talking) and directing - makes this a must for those who want to find the different kind of Hollywood of that are.
Stars Ernest Borgnine as a lonely plain-looking man who believes he's ugly, and finds it difficult to date a girl.
This movie has a really touchingly good human story about those people (both men and women) who are lonely and seem to get left 'on the shelf' because they are not so good-looking. People often say that looks are only skin deep and that personality is most important. Whilst this may be true, it's a fallacy to believe for one moment that when we are first attracted to each other that it isn't anything else but physical 'looks' alone that takes precedence over personality, and those people who always say to the plain person that looks do not matter, always seem to be attractive, and with someone good-looking themselves! However, this story seems to prove that people are often drawn to one another because they are not good-looking themselves and are thrown together because they cannot get anyone better - a sad, but true fact nonetheless.
A truly lovely film about real life and real people, but I simply hated the horrid term used throughout the picture 'dogs' when referring to people who are not overly attractive... This seems to be more of an American term than British - but is rather course, not to say degrading...
on 3 February 2003
MARTY was based on a television play written by Paddy Chayefsky. He also did the screenplay.
The story is about two people who manage to meet and fall in love after each has sufferred through years of feeling rejected by the opposite sex. The movie is set mostly in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx. It is a relatively short film but it packs a powerful message.
Ernest Borgnine is superb as the clumsy bachelor who appears stuck in a hopeless situation with no prospects of finding a suitable wife. Betsy Blair gives an unforgettable performance as the almost thirtyish school teacher who seems totally defeated by her failures to attract a boy friend. Joe Martell is very credible in the role of Marty's buddy Angie.
The movie walked off with several Academy Awards in 1955 receiving Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine) and Best Screenplay. Nominations were received for Best Supporting Actor (Joe Mantell), Best Supporting Actress (Betsy Blair), Black and White Cinematography and Black and White Art Direction. Anna Magnani won the Oscar for Best Actress in that same year for her appearance in THE ROSE TATTOO.
Written by the gifted Paddy Chayefsky, this is a memorable film, deftly directed by Delbert Mann. That it has a stage-like, theatrical feel to it is not surprising, considering that it was first a made-for-television play that was later augmented for the silver screen. This element of theatricality, however, does not detract in the least from this gritty, thematically complex film.
Ernest Borgnine plays the role of Marty Piletti, a stocky, thirty-four year old, lonely Italian butcher living at home in the Bronx with his mother. He is the last of the Piletti brood still in the nest. Physically unattractive and a bit doltish, he is a socially awkward, lumbering lummox of internal pain and angst. His mother wants him to get married, or so she thinks, until the reality of what such might ultimately mean for her sinks in. She takes her cue from her sister, Marty's Aunt Catherine, who is living with her son and daughter-in-law and making their lives hell. Consequently, she is going to move in with Marty and his mother.
Marty spends most of his spare time with his friend Angie, as well as with a bunch of other losers. Unloved, unmarried, and unable to get a date, Marty has all but given up on finding Miss Right, when he meets a twenty-nine year old high school teacher, also from the Bronx, Clara Snyder (Betsy Blair), at the famous Stardust Ballroom. Clara, a well educated, nice plain-Jane, is there as part of a pity double date arranged by her brother-in-law. Unfortunately, her date turns out to be a total cad who unceremoniously tries to fob her off on anyone he can, so that he can get some action going with a hot babe he knows. Marty feels Clara's pain, so he asks her to dance, not knowing that he is meeting his feminine counterpart and soul-mate.
As the film peels the layers from Marty, the viewer meets the sensitive, kind man who lives within the unattractive exterior. The viewer really gets to feel his pain, as well as that of some of the other characters in the film. One senses the feelings of alienation and loneliness in Clara, as she is dumped by her caddish date. One senses the fear that Mrs. Piletti has at the reality of what Marty's getting married might mean for her. Aunt Catherine's ouster from her son's home, as the older, unwanted woman with few options in life, also makes an impact on the viewer. The angst of Aunt Catherine's son at having to cleave to his wife, rather than to his mother, is also palpable, as is that of Angie at the thought of the possibility of no longer having Marty around to share his own social isolation.
The themes in this film, such as loneliness, isolation, alienation, and fear are all themes still relevant today. The only real anachronistic note is struck by the fact that Mrs. Piletti and Aunt Catherine both appear to be in their late sixties or early seventies, but I found to my complete surprise that Aunt Catherine is supposed to be fifty-six, and Mrs. Piletti is her younger sister! Trust me when I say that, nowadays, women in their fifties do not look like that.
All in all, this is an excellent film. Those who enjoyed this film should also seek out another Paddy Chayefsky film, "The Catered Affair", starring Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine, which is a bitter sweet film about another Bronx family.
on 3 January 2004
...every Saturday night of my life".
Marty Piletti is a lonely, akward 34 year old italian butcher living in New York. He is desperate to find someone to love and his mother is desperate for him not to be left on the shelf!
Just when he thinks that he will never find that special someone, there she is! By default he finds Clara, a school teacher, who is just as awkward and lonely as Marty.
Can these two people find true love or will outsider interference get in their way and spoil everything.
Watch this film if you like heartfelt drama, light touches of comedy and a wonderful cast, especially Ernest Borgnine who brings Marty to life and makes you really care about him.
I first saw 'Marty' many years ago, when films to me were like buses - you either caught them on TV, or not and it didn't matter either way, too much. If you told me then that I'd really like a black & white romantic drama featuring an Italian descended rotund butcher, I wouldn't have believed you.
Through the likes of Copolla and Scorsese, we've been blessed with many great films featuring Italian families - the close-knit relationships, the dominant 'Mama' and the fiery temprement and the oh-so natural dialogue, that flows like long pasta on a fork, swirling and coiling and always so involving. Well, to my knowledge, 'Marty' has all this but as it's 1955, must have been the first of this kind of movie.
Seasoned director Delbert Mann makes it all look so simple, workmanlike even, that it fits into the essence of the story, unfolding like a great novel; easily, naturally and with the pages turning over readily. It all started as an-intended TV movie with a script by the brilliant Paddy Cheyevsky and which then unasumably took to the cinema-goer's hearts and went on to win four Oscars.
What makes 'Marty', both the film and the central character so readily and universally identifiable is that it touches the hearts of everybody. Those in love, those out of love and for us all in-between, who just try and try and just never seem to get that lucky break. It quietly gives hope to those, who, like Marty, have given up on the love game, as it's a lottery that he never even gets a chance of winning, yet who is a decent, honest, hard-working 34 year old and who loves his Ma. The flashy punks who always seem to go home from the dance-halls with more girls than they know what to do with just make life for the likes of Marty seem unfair and miserable.
One night at the dance-hall, after repeated pleadings from his Ma to 'find a girl and get married', Marty approaches schoolteacher Betsy Blair. He's natural and honest, she's been let down and without any syrupy schmaltz they hit it off. It happens without fireworks, or big dance numbers, just like in real life.
And so starts one of the greatest films about love and life and is a genuine, all-round pleasure to be part of, let alone watch. I'm actually rather surprised that no attempts have been made to remake 'Marty', but probably thank goodness it hasn't, however it still is amazing how current DVD renters are only too happy with today's crass, broad and generally awful 'rom-coms' that are churned out like an overflowing sewer.
If you've never seen 'Marty', get it. It's that simple - watch it on your own, with your partner or with the entire family - this is a rare classic that genuinely appeals to all - and everybody.
Marty (Ernest Borgnine) is a fat, middle-aged butcher with a heart full of pain. He's been looking for a girl every Saturday night of his life and always gets his heart broken Still, Marty agrees to go to a dance hall when his pal assures him there'll be 'a loada tomatas' there.
I love this movie. It really is as good as the hype. It's a national treasure, in that it captured the lives of common folk in 1950s New York and it's very interesting to see how society has changed since then. What isn't gone is the universal agony of loneliness and Ernest Borgnine portrays this beautifully. He's loveable, profound, and makes acting look effortless; I'm glad he won the Oscar for his performance. All of the supporting cast are outstanding, especially the two ladies who play Marty's mother and aunt.
The story covers just one weekend in Marty's life and it moves quickly, with not a scene or line of dialogue that isn't perfect. Bring your hankie; this is a wonderful movie.
on 20 January 2010
I remember seeing this film many years ago and it was wonderful to see it again. A lovely storyline, wonderfully acted out by the 2 main principles which makes me laugh, cry and laugh again. A fat bachelor butcher with no self-confidence meets a shy spinster schoolteacher in a dance hall - it's a story of love can conquer all if you remain true to your heart and what it tells you .... totally sentimental, but what's wrong with that!
Marty is one of the comparatively few live TV plays that was improved in some ways by its big screen remake. Whereas the original TV version of Paddy Chayefksy's ugly duckling story boasted a superb lead performance from Rod Steiger as the butcher who was nobody's idea of a Romeo despite his good heart, it was a bit hard to take his constant protestations that "I'm fat and ugly. Who'd ever want me?" No such problems in the movie version, produced by Burt Lancaster who used his own star power to get the studio to cast Ernest Borgnine in the lead after Robert Aldrich recommended him to returning director Delbert Mann. Unfortunately there was a tradeoff, with the original version's Nancy Marchand replaced by a more `acceptable' leading lady in the form of Betsy Blair, making it a bit hard to understand why - even dressed down and dowdied up - everyone thinks she's not good enough for him. It's not quite as big a problem as The Enchanted Cottage, where the 'ugly' couple are played by Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young, but it does slightly unbalance a good-hearted slice-of-life drama. Still, it's easy to see why it was such a worldwide hit, scooping the Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars as well as becoming the first US picture to win the Palme D'Or at Cannes: it's the kind of feelgood picture set in a recognisable real world about recognisable, ordinary people that has an undeniable underdog appeal. Like its hero, it's just after a few moments of happiness, and against the odds it manages to deliver them.
Incidentally, look out for Chayefksy's cameo in the car as Leo when Marty gets paired up with the `odd squirrel' is friends have with him.