Friday, May 11, 2012

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)
Marty (1955)
Palme d'Or Winner
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Delbert Mann
Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair
Language: English
Duration: 89 min.
Rating: 7.4
A touching story about two lonely people who have almost resigned themselves to never being truly loved.
Marty is a film directed by Delbert Mann, based on a teleplay written by Paddy Chayefsky. Released in 1955, it was the first film to win the Palme d'Or (before 1955, the top prize at Cannes was called the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film), and to this day is the only film to win both the Palme and the Oscar for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

It's a simple and solidly put together tale of romance between two regular people one weekend in New York City. Starring Ernest Borgnine in the title role that helped him break the typecasting of always playing the bad guy in western films, and Betsy Blair as the school teacher he meets when he reluctantly goes out to the dance hall on Saturday night.

I've never been a big fan of films made from plays, but must admit that this one works quite well. Anchored by Borgnine's strong and detailed performance, and its realistic on-location sets, you don't get the feeling that everything is staged like with so many other films of this era. It's also not your typical classic glamorous Hollywood movie. This is no fairy tale love story between a dapper hero and a beautiful princess, but rather a brief window into the plain lives of two everyday lonely people in the city, a nice and ironic break from the norm.

It's not a life changing masterpiece, and it isn't particularly creatively inventive or inspiring; some of the dialog sounds aged, the jokes are set up from a mile away, and the outcome is entirely predictable. I do wonder how this managed to pull off the double win, however it remains a genuinely enjoyable watch that strikes a good balance between humor and heartbreak, and proves you don't need a huge budget, fancy effects, or an airbrushed cast to make a successful picture.
Bonjour Tristesse
Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)

Marty (1955)


Michaël Parent said...

I've never been really interested by this film... I guess I'll have to get to it sometime. Great write up!

The Angry Lurker said...

I enjoyed it for Borgnine but never understood the awards, was it up against weak competition at the time?

Jack Deth said...

Hi, Bonjour and company:

'Marty' is one of those films you need to watch every now and then. Just to see how a good story unfolds. I've seen both the Steiger and Borgnine versions. And I still prefer Borgnine's less whiny performance and supporting cast.

Very much like Anthony Quinn's and Jack Palance's take on Mountain Rivera in 'Requiem for a Heavyweight. It's all about delivery. And Quinn and company deliver and wring emotions more deftly than Plance.

Mette said...

Now that's a poster that draws attention! Actually I just read this because I couldn't take my eyes of the poster. The film looks fun.

Lisa Thatcher said...

It's interesting - sooo many people love this film. I like it, but it's never been one I 'get' as brilliant, but many people I know cite it as an all time fave. I think the appeal is that 'small man' thing being portrayed so beautifully. It's still refreshing and I guess its a story everyone can relate to. It also playing into that "there's someone for everyone" mythology that is so compelling and impossible to resist.

Chip Lary said...

I liked this film quite a bit. I believe the reason that it won the awards, plus has the reputation is precisely because of what you stated - it is a simple story of the "other guy". He's not the more perfect than life, tall, square jawed, dapper fighter pilot, or some other film concotion. People identify with Marty and want to see him find a connection with someone. There are a lot more people like Marty than there are like Cary Grant.

d_4 said...

This is one of the very rare cases where it has everything going for it, and I still don't know if I'll like it. I guess I'll give it a go just in case.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Me either, but I figured for historical reasons this was a good one to start with. Thanks for stopping by again Michaël.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Hard to say, there were some other well known titles to come from that year, Rebel Without a Cause, Guys and Dolls, East of Eden, The Seven Year Itch to name a few.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I have not seen the Steiger version but, yeah Borgnine to me looks more the part and he does a very convincing job here.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I surprised they don't make posters like this anymore, because they are so much more attention grabbing than the cookie cutter modern ones. Thanks for reading Mette!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Once again we are in agreement. It's good, and I do get how many can relate to the characters. But I think the dialogue tries too hard to make its point and it feels almost like a sit-com in some places.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah that makes sense to me, I guess I underestimated that factor.

G said...

I've always loved anything with Ernest in it....especially Airwolf

365 moviesandsongs365 said...

Marty (1955) is a favorite of mine, I love how warm-hearted the story is. A simple and beautiful movie. Didn't realize won at Cannes.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Haha I forgot he was in that.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I enjoyed it and I agree it is a simple and beautiful movie, but can't quite call it a favorite. Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

For folks who may be in the San Francisco Bay Area during May (2013),
the Mechanics Institute Library will be screening 5 Chayefsky films,
one each Friday evening, beginning with ‘The Americanization of Emily’
this Friday May 3rd and including 'Marty' on May 24th:

Cinemalit – Paddy Chayefsky: Scenes from American Lives:

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