The 1955 movie Marty is one of my favorite old films. Like many people it has won over, I think a major part of its appeal is the fact that two regular looking actors were cast in the lead roles, instead of the usual glossy Hollywood phonies. We have Ernest Borgnine starring as Marty, an Italian-American butcher bachelor who still lives at home with his mother, and Betsy Blair as Clara, the plain Jane schoolteacher who awakens Marty's heart just when he's resigned himself to a lifetime of living alone (or, rather, with Mom.)
The movie was based on a teleplay by Paddy Chayefsky, and won several Academy Awards including Best Actor for Borgnine. It's a touching and timeless story that anyone in the singles scene can relate to: two ordinary people finding love and not succombing to social and family pressure (Marty's loser friends don't approve of Clara's looks, and Marty's mother fears being left alone now that the prospect of her son marrying and moving out looms on the horizon.) Marty and Clara meet at a dance (back when there were actually ballrooms, ladies wore poofy skirts, and men actually wore jackets and ties when going out.) Clara's complete arsehole of a date has deserted her because he considers her a dog (he's not exactly Charlton Heston) which turns out to be lucky for her. I hate to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but Borgnine's verbal smackdown to his so-called friends minutes before the credits roll is one of my favorite moments in cinematic history:
"What am I, crazy? I got something good here! You don't like her. My mother don't like her. She's a dog. And I'm a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night. I'm gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees. I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party on New Year's, I got a date for that party. You don't like her? That's too bad."
Here's that same scene, from YouTube. You go, Marty!
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