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.Written by
Paddy Chayefsky wrote the play (which originally appeared on television) as a starring vehicle for his friend, actor/director Martin Ritt, even naming the lead character after him. But Ritt had been blacklisted during the McCarthy "Red Scare" era and the network wouldn't allow him to be hired, and the role eventually went to Rod Steiger. See more »
In the opening scene in the butcher shop, Marty is shown facing the camera and using a knife to cut between the bones of a roast (to make chops). He does not finish cutting all of the chops, but sets his knife down on the ledge of the counter to his right (our left). In the next shot, from the reverse angle (that is, with Marty's back to the camera), Marty again has the knife in his hand, and is cutting through the remainder of the roast. After he has finished cutting, he takes up a meat cleaver to complete the task of making chops. See more »
When Marty drops off Clara at her home after their evening out, there is an additional 5-minute sequence where she visits her parents in their bedroom and discusses her date with Marty (included in the CBS FOX VHS and the 2014 Kino Lorber releases, but deleted from the MGM Vintage Classics VHS and DVD). See more »
A timeless classic deserving of every award it won
On the surface, 'Marty' appears to be a simple love story about a butcher and a school-teacher, but there are many more layers to this film, which manages to be simultaneously funny & deeply moving without ever getting corny.
There's so much about this film that stands the test of time half a century later. It's no wonder it won so many awards that year (including 4 Oscars.) In her autobiography, Betsy Blair mentions that 'Marty' was the high point of her career; it made her a movie star overnight and she was never again in anything as important (though I thought her performance in 'A Delicate Balance' with Katherine Hepburn years later was even better.) She won the BAFTA for her role here, as did Ernest Borgnine, who deservedly swept every award that year for his role as Marty, including the Oscar and the Golden Globe. Borgnine is flawless in his performance & lovable from the very first scene. Esther Monciotti as his mother also delivers a standout performance. Some of the funniest and most memorable lines in the film belong to her and her on-screen sister. The rest of the supporting cast are also great to watch. The frank dialogue and the humanity of the characters make this a film you want to watch more than once.
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