Artistic Cross-Training · Ernest Borgnine · Movie Classics · Teaching's in my DNA

In class today, the film Marty

Marty Piletti and MaYes, my students rolled their eyes at me. A movie from 1955? In black and white? But after the success of While You Were Sleeping, they have learned to trust me. Sort of.

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!

"So whadda you wanna do?" "I don't know, whadda you wanna do?"
Some things never change. “So whadda you wanna do?”
“I don’t know, whadda you wanna do?”

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