In 1955 a moving story about a lonely single man was released. Although it received very positive reviews, many didn’t expect the film to be successful. Drama movies about ordinary people in every day situations are not made very often.
Marty turned out to be a hit with audiences. It eventually won Oscars, and the Cannes Film Festival Award. Although I had heard of this movie a long time ago, I didn’t see it until a few years ago on Turner Classic Movies. I have watched it a few times since then, and am always touched by the story.
Ernest Borgnine plays the title character of Marty. He is 34 years old, bored, and very lonely. He is unsatisfied with his mundane life, but afraid to do anything about it, due to low self esteem. It doesn’t help that he spends a lot of time hanging out with other single guys who don’t have any more direction for their lives than he does. Marty lives at home with his mother. Betsy Blair plays the shy woman who deals with similar emotional problems and loneliness.
This may not seem like something that would make a compelling drama, but Marty’s pain, loneliness and lack of confidence are things that many people can relate to. Who hasn’t experienced at least one of these at some point in their lives, even if it was only for a brief period of time? Ernest Borgnine’s portrayal of Marty is very moving and believable.
One evening he meets a quiet, introverted woman at a dance. She has many of the same characteristics that he does. After spending some time dancing, they go out for coffee. They talk for hours. and have a great time together. Marty and Clara are soul mates who bring out the best in each other.
In just one day Marty’s life has changed for the better. He promises to call Clara the next afternoon. His mother and his friends do not approve of him going out with her again. Marty reluctantly goes along with their wishes.
The movie has several scenes that stand out. One of the most poignant involved Clara. She is at home with her parents in the evening watching TV after Marty failed to call. You can see how hurt and anguished she is as she fights back tears. Her parents seem oblivious to her despair.
Why I Love Marty
One of the reasons why I consider this to be an excellent film is because it is about ordinary people with struggles that we can relate to. Marty is embarrassed to be working as a butcher, because he considers it to be a menial job. He wants to buy the meat shop, but he’s afraid it will fail. Clara tells him he can do anything he sets his mind to do, and that he should follow his dreams. Likewise, Marty encourages Clara to make changes in her life, and move out of her parent’s home as she’s been wanting to do.
Marty and Clara are two kind, compassionate people who blossom in each other’s company. This is what makes the film so memorable in my opinion. It has a very inspiring message. I cheered for Marty when he finally asserted himself. He decided he was not going to worry about what other people thought, and that he was going to pursue his dreams.
Overall I would rate this film very highly. It is dated in some ways. However, the emotions and desires the characters have are timeless, and ones we all have.
Ernest Borgnine won the Oscar for his role. He was up against very stiff competition that year, but his award was very deserving. The film also won for Best Picture and Screenplay. Betsy Blair was wonderful in one of her most memorable roles.