This is Marty’s life, he's unmarried, 34 years old, socially awkward and living at home with his overbearing Italian mother. He works as a butcher and he never wanted this job but that’s how things worked out. He’s the last of six children and all the others are married with families. All the customers ask Marty why all the others in his family have gotten married and he hasn't? Marty and his guy friend Angie talk about what they are going to do on Saturday night every Saturday night. Marty calls up a girl that is an old friend but she turns him down for a date. Angie and Marty decide to go to the Stardust Ballroom to see if they can dance and meet someone. Marty meets Clara and she’s a lonely schoolteacher. They start to have a good time and they leave the ballroom to get coffee and pie. They agree that Marty will call Clara on Sunday afternoon after mass. On Sunday the guys start giving Marty a hard time, his mother is giving him a hard time, what’s he going to do about Clara?
This is a very heart warming film with real characters and real feelings. Guys talk about women as being dogs if they are not very attractive!! What about the men, how attractive are they? Would a doll want to date or marry them? I thought Marty might decide not to call Clara and that would really hurt her feelings? I didn’t know how this was going to play out? I thought there was the possibility that something would happen to Marty and he wouldn’t be able to call? He could be in some kind of an accident like being hit by a car? I was hoping he would call and the movie would not end this way!! 4* (I really liked this movie)
90 min, Drama directed by Delbert Mann with Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli, Joe Mantell, Karen Steele, Jerry Paris.
Note: Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 100% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 278 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3.5* out of 4*.
Special Note: Filmed in the Bronx, New York City, New York. This is the first Best Picture Oscar winner to have been based on a TV program and the shortest of all films to win. It was shown on The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse. Ernest Borgnine also won Best Actor. The film won the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival. The producers spent $400,000 on the award campaign and $343,000 on the filming. Previously, Borgnine was only known for playing heavies. Director Delbert Mann asked his friend Robert Aldrich and he suggested Borgnine for the role of Marty. Delbert was skeptical in the beginning but he became convinced. Screened in Moscow in 1959 and the first US feature to be seen there since WWII. Betsy Blair played Clara and she was almost unable to take the role because of the 1950’s blacklist. Her husband at the time was Gene Kelly and he threatened to withdraw from directing or starring in UA’s or Hecht Lancaster productions.