MartySuggested by Kung Fu Zu • A middle-aged butcher and a school teacher who have given up on the idea of love, meet at a dance and fall in love. Marty received well-deserved Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Borgnine), and Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky).
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10 Responses to Marty

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I just finished watching this and I don’t think I’d ever seen this before. It’s a good story, not complicated by the typical dozen-and-one side plots that most writers think are necessary (if only to distract from the fact that their central story is lacking).

    “Marty” is a bare, honest tale of a man resigned to living his life as a bachelor. There’s the sense of a real family as we are shown Marty’s. His aunt lives with her son and daughter-in-law, and without being too autobiographical — yes, there are such people who can darken any day and find an endless stream of things to complain about.

    And I think (somewhat of a spoiler here) it’s interesting the way Marty’s own mother — who had been pushing him to get married — suddenly has dark thoughts of her son moving out and her suddenly being alone and useless to the world. She thus doesn’t like this this new woman that Marty has brought home for a visit.

    We see the influence mothers can have on the poor momma’s boy who is Marty’s cousin. The wife desperately wants to live without her dour presence but the husband is resistant. Folks, as far as I can tell, this is real life. Mothers gave us life, but mothers can also do just as is portrayed in this movie. They can be emotional vampires if sons don’t grow backbones. They can manipulate a son’s life for the worse if he isn’t wise to the levels mothers will go to protect themselves first. Perhaps our national politics could be understood if men faced how powerful feminine emotional manipulation can be.

    Anyway, enough psychoanalysis. This movie contains the sort of realism that makes it a joy to watch. And another truism is how friends can constrict you. Again, because they’re your friends you suppose they might want what is best for you. But typically friends want you to stay just as you are. Any growth tends to upset them so they’ll tend to try to tap you down and make you stay where you are. We see this happening to Marty until he finally tells his friends to take a hike.

    That Chayefsky dared to write such a simple yet powerful portrayal of human foibles highlights something lacking from most writers today where everything is tragically false and artificial. Most movies today are full of trumped-up lines and the false bravado of faked emotion. If you trick out baloney in million-dollar special effects, you can get people (if only via peer pressure…something Marty faced and overcame) to like crapola.

    Fortunately “Marty” is not crapola. But it is likely too sincere and direct to cause anything but revulsion in today’s superficial, but oh-so-sophisticated, crowd. But I liked it.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Glad you enjoyed the movie. I have long thought it a must see for anyone who enjoys cinema.

      I am a Borgnine fan and this is, perhaps, his best performance on film. Another one of his better roles is the sadistic sergeant in “From Here To Eternity”. He didn’t get a lot of screen time, but made the best of the minutes he had.

      I don’t want to get to philosophical here, but “Marty” is a movie which is relevant. The story and characters are on a human scale. Many of us could be Marty or his girlfriend, and might be touched by the struggle they are going through to find happiness with another.

      We might even learn something from “Marty”, which is substantially more than I can say about such classics as, “Friday the Thirteenth”, “Gone In Sixty Seconds”, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and countless other gems of the silver screen.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I think that is indeed what makes Marty significant — it’s the story of an Everyman who struggles through to happiness. As for Borgnine, I mainly know him through McHale’s Navy, of course, but he also had a nice role in Escape from New York.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I was mentioning to Mr. Kung offline that I thought Borgnine’s role in Escape from New York was oddly terrific.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I saw this some time back on TCM. In one of their little quizzes, the host asked one of their other hostesses (I don’t recall the names) which of a set of leading ladies from various movies would be the best mate for Marty. (Another question, and a favorite, was, “Would you rather spend a day in the factory in Metropolis or a night in the haunted house in The Haunting?”)

    There are some interesting aspects here, such as when Marty — about to make the mistake of letting the girl get away because he chooses to spend the time with his friends — realizes that they really aren’t having a good time, and calls her up. We never see what happens after that, but we can guess.

    But I must say, Ernest Borgnine would be considered an odd choice for the romantic hero. It works, though.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      The best match for Marty would, of course, be Shelley Winters.

      But I must say, Ernest Borgnine would be considered an odd choice for the romantic hero. It works, though.

      Yes, definitely. Usually we want glamour, beautiful people, and utopian dreams in our movies. But a love story in and around Ernest Borgnine? But it does indeed work because there are likely far more Martys in the world than Don Juans.

      I suspect they got married…a Catholic affair, of course. They had four children (two girls and two boys). Marty’s business, after an initial struggle, was a success. He bought a new house…one big enough for his mother and his aunt to share without feeling hemmed in. Neither sister remarried but settled down into a fairly nice routine. They had each other.

      On the other hand, once his mother moved out, the tension between Marty’s cousin and his pretty blonde wife got worse. Two years later they got a divorce. He died in a plane crash on a business trip a year later. She married an alcoholic who occasionally beat her.

      Marty and Clara grew old together. They had their ups and downs, but Marty was always faithful and she was always there to love that old dog. She died first at 78. Appropriately, he was then a bachelor for the next eight years until he died peacefully in his armchair reading the paper.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Or, in other words, “They lived happily ever after” — or as much so as ordinary people ever do. Because that’s what Marty is — an ordinary person’s romance.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        You should to write the screen play. I don’t have a title yet, but will keep thinking about it.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          That would make for a challenging sequel to write, Mr. Kung. I think what I would do is call the movie “Martin.” It would be based on the life of his eldest son who found out he was “gay.” How did he find out? Well, some old queer abused him, used him, and recruited him while Martin was in college. (There’s more back-story to this, but I’ll flesh that out as soon as I hear from my agent.)

          His mother and father were not so open-minded about such things. After all, although his father, Marty, was ambivalent about marriage himself, it was only because he had given up, not because he specifically chose to go down a dead-end road…as his son was doing.

          So in this movie, “Martin,” we are writing the opposite of the revolting Tom Hanks “Philadelphia” movie which glorified perversion. In “Martin” we have some Millenial-era yute who has, like so many others, been used and abused by the poisonous “Progressive” culture to the point where he, too, is thinking about throwing a normal domestic life away. There’s no such thing as male and female, as everyone of his friends knew, so he’s ideologically and culturally stuck where he is.

          And then he meets a girl. Reminiscent of Clara, she’s not a knock-out, which is why Martin felt safe with her. He had grown somewhat accustomed to the hollowed-out life of a queer, but at least he was accepted in his peer group and considered “cool.” But inside he wasn’t content. His father and mother (Marty and Clara) were from another generation and had very little influence over their son, try as the did.

          But this girl shared his interest in old movies. Despite taking an active part in “Progressive” culture — so much so that he regularly took it up the butt — Martin, just like this girl he had met, was drawn to the era of Bogart, Becall, and Brando. He was vaguely aware of the kind of gutter life he was living and was deeply attracted to the soft, tender, romantic stories on the silver screen…a time when life was simple and made sense. And if life in the movies wasn’t always perfect, it at least drew clear boundaries.

          His friend, Karen, who was a deeply religious girl (a Catholic, wouldn’t you know) felt like such an outsider. She didn’t enjoy any of the things her friends were doing. She didn’t do text messaging. She didn’t do drugs. She didn’t cover her body with vulgar comic-book-like cartoons. She had given up on all the juvenile, girly-men boys. She, too, was attracted to the romance (not to mention the real men) she saw on the silver screen.

          And if I tell you any more, I’ve going to have to charge you. But I’d write a movie that was a direct thumb in the nose of the “Progressive” culture…a strict repudiation of it. I’d do the kind of “daring” movie that all the libtards in Hollywood always say they are doing even while they do little but forward the status quo of gutter culture.

          I just need to find independent financing for it.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I’m sure there’s someone, somewhere, who would be willing to produce such a movie. Perhaps the people who did The Blair Witch Project . . . Or the Citizens United people.

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