Marty is a classic film that no storyteller should miss. It’s a time capsule, pulling us into an ordinary working-class neighborhood in the Bronx. For students whose concept of 1955 comes from Back to the Future, it was kind of an eye-opener. Times and fashions may have changed, but the struggles of the human heart have not.
Paddy Chayefski’s screenplay is exceptional. Who doesn’t get Marty, the socially awkward but good-hearted butcher? How we smile at the antics of his friends and family, because we get them too. My dad, a nice guy who didn’t say much, loved this movie. I think he saw much of himself in Marty.
“Ma, sooner or later, there comes a point in a man’s life where he’s gotta face some facts. And one fact I gotta face is that, whatever it is that women like, I ain’t got it.”
Ernest Borgnine won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Marty Piletti. “You don’t have to be tall, dark and handsome to be a movie star,” he said after winning the Oscar, “but I was the first one to prove it.” The film also won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
“I played Marty because I was Marty,” he said. “I was the kind of guy that was a wall flower. I didn’t know how to dance. To get a girl — my goodness, that was beyond comprehension for me, because I could see myself being turned down and I wasn’t the kind of person that liked to be turned down, you know? Why bother to ask if you’re going to be turned down? So I never asked. That was it. But time went along and I went into the service, and I grew up. When I saw that script, I said, ‘My God, that’s me.’ I was very happy to do it, because it gave me the opportunity to play something that I could easily play, and I knew that I had in my heart exactly what happened.”
Today I also learned how much high school students love Netflix. All I was thinking was that I’d saved myself a trip to the library, you know? But to them the thought of accessing Netflix at school was like opening a wondrous portal of delight. Oh, to be that young again!