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Marty is a 34-year-old butcher whose Italian family is constantly after him to get married. He meets plain-looking schoolteacher Clara. They are both lonely, unglamorous people who have resigned themselves to their unloved lives. But they manage, in time, to grope their way to love. Written by
The street scene behind the opening credits is Arthur Avenue at 187th Street in The Bronx, in front of the City of New York's old Arthur Avenue Retail Market under a billboard sign for Knickerbocker Beer, an actual New York City brand, brewed by the Ruppert Brewing Company, the family business of Colonel Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 to 1939, also known as the Bronx Bombers, which is where the film is set. See more »
The opening scene shows men in a bar in the middle of the afternoon. One patron says that the Yankees won both games of a double header that day. However, even in the 1950s games took about 2.5 hours to play so it is unlikely that a double header would have been finished by mid-afternoon when the scene is set. See more »
Every one in awhile, a small movie cleans up at the Oscars. It seems to happen about once a decade. This might be the first, though.
Ernest Borgnine is the title character. He is a butcher who is unmarried, Catholic, Italian and lives in New York where it would never occur to anyone to mind their own business. Everyone who buys a pork chop gives him grief over his bachlerhood, and that extends to his Mother, too. He is a sweet guy - loans money to his friends, is polite to strangers and considerate to his family. He is a little lonely and frustrated and doesn't have much to do.
One night in a dance hall a stranger offers him $5 to take a girl home, since the guy doesn't want to have anything to do with this particular girl. Marty is amazed at the rudeness so to not humiliate the girl any more than she has to be, and since he's alone anyway..they meet and dance and have a very nice night. He is very nervous and has a lot to say and sometimes rambles on a little. Not the worse crime in the world.
There is a small subplot over Marty's Aunt moving in with Marty and his Mom since she does not get along with her daughter-in-law. I suppose this is to show that even if you are married, life still hands out problems. And if you get to live long enough to be considered 'old', that sometimes you are uprooted and unwanted and a bit of a burden to your family.
Borgnine is terrific and won Best Actor over pretty tough competition. Joe Mandell as Angie, Marty's best friend, and Betsy Blair as Clara, who is the girl he meets, were also nominated.
This material was originally a television 'play' starring Rod Steiger as Marty and Nancy Marchand as Clara. I bet it was good. 8/10.
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