I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Marty (1955)

Paddy Chayefsky wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for this film. Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine) is a lonely, 34 year old Italian-American butcher. He lives at home with his mother Theresa (Esther Minciott), who laments that all her other children are married except for Marty. Marty explains to her that he is not the most attractive guy in the world, and doesn't possess whatever it is that attracts women to men. He spends most of his non-work time hanging out with aimless bachelors, including best friend Angie (Joe Martell) and ne'er do well Ralph (Frank Sutton).

After hearing her nephew Thomas (Jerry Paris) talk about a dance hall he used to go to, Theresa urges Marty to attend. Marty spies plain-looking Clara (Betsy Blair) being brushed off cruelly by her blind date. He dances with her, then they spend the rest of the evening walking and talking. The two take a liking to each other, but are extremely wary of being hurt again.

The work by all of the actors, especially Borgnine and Blair, is extremely good. Much is said just by their body language and facial expressions alone. I liked visiting the world of the working class, New York neighborhood people they inhabited as well. There is a sub-plot that appears not to fit into the story. Theresa is asked by her nephew and his wife (Karen Steele) to take in Catherine, (Augusta Ciolli) the nephew's mom, an irritable sort who is causing trouble in their household and marriage. However, the sub-plot makes sense after Theresa meets Clara, and Catherine's influence causes her to change her mind about Marty's romantic interest in Clara.

Mr. Borgnine won an Oscar for his work in this film. He can play tough guys very well, as displayed in the movie Here To Eternity (1953), but he displays much warmth and tenderness as Marty. He also was the lead on the TV sitcom "McHale's Navy" (1964-1966). Jerry Paris was Rob and Laura Petrie's next door neighbor on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1962-1966), and he was also a TV director. Frank Sutton was Sgt. Carter on the sitcom "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." (1964-1969). Actor Burt Lanchester produced the film. Ed Sullivan, who had a long running variety show on CBS, appears in some footage on a TV in one scene.

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