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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. Winner of Best Picture of 1955, Best Adapted Screenplay for Paddy Chayefsky, Best Director for Delbert Mann, and Best Actor for Ernest Borgnine. Written by
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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