Best Picture Review: “Marty” (1955)

Marty (1955)
Marty (1955)

Yep, we’re really tearing through these Best Picture winners here in March!  This was already the eleventh so far this month.  Tuesday night after another grueling workout, which was somewhat nullified by ordering Vietnamese takeout immediately afterwards, we sat down to watch 1955’s Best Picture winner, Marty.

I’d heard excellent things about Marty.  I believe Rotten Tomatoes listed it in their top ten countdown of the best Best Picture winners, and Jason LaPlant even gave it high marks.

Marty stars Ernest Borgnine as a single 34-year old butcher living at home with his widow mother in New York.  All his younger brothers and sisters married before him (hmm… sounds familiar) and he has no prospects and has all but given up on ever finding a wife.  Back in those days, you were ridiculed mercilessly for being a single 34-year old.  All the old ladies at the butcher shop kept telling Marty “you should be ashamed of yourself!”

So, at Marty’s mother’s reccomendation, he goes out to the Stardust Ballroom one Saturday night to try picking up a young lass.  A man approaches Marty and asks him to take his ugly blind date home.  Marty refuses, but after seeing how lonely and sad she is, he approaches her and they wind up hitting it off… but will it last?  I shan’t say.

Marty was one of two movies ever to win both Best Picture and Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.  It was nominated for eight Oscars and won four, including Borgnine for Best Actor.  All around great reviews for Marty, though it was still a bit of a surprise when it won its awards.

I was pretty impressed as well.  It’s a bit of a sad story as Marty and this new girl, Clara, are both made out to be such losers.  It is repeated over and over about how fat and disgusting Marty is, and everyone keeps mentioning what a “dog” Clara is.  Well, it turns out Marty’s arrogant friends are the real losers, trying to tear him away from Clara.  The guy just brought a girl home for the first time in 34 years, I don’t think he should pass her up and try for better at this point!

I also think it’s funny how many movies in the 50s feature heavy smoking.  It’s so common for every single character, aside from perhaps a priest, to have cigarettes on them at all times.  Were the tobacco companies paying big money to have all these big name actors smoke?  I’ll have to look into that.

As of this particular moment I’m unsure where on the list to rank Marty.  I liked it quite a bit… it was a real charmer.  I don’t think it can crack the top five.  Maybe the top ten.

Next up, 1956’s Around the World in Eighty Days.

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