Marty: Oscar Winner Gets New Blu-ray

Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair in Marty. Courtesy of MGM.

Marty, a four-time Oscar winner starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair, gets a new Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

At the time of its release, Marty was just the fourth American film to take home the Palme D’Or at Cannes. To date, it is one of three films to win the highest award at Cannes and the Oscar for Best Picture. The other two films are The Lost Weekend and Parasite–rare but prestigious company. Marty took home the Palme D’Or after Cannes introduced it in 1955.

Bronx butcher Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine) is 34 years old and still lives at home with his mother. He’s certainly not the best person around women as he is both shy and uncomfortable. When he meets lonely school teacher Clara (Betsy Blair), they prove to be a good match. Both are also very much in love with each other. However, the large majority of Marty’s circle isn’t a fan of his new love. Marty’s mother, Teresa (Esther Minciotti), is afraid of letting go and her sister Catherine (Augusta Ciolli) plays a part in this. They continually find something wrong with Clara, enough for Marty to start second guessing himself and having doubts. It all goes back to Teresa’s feelings of vulnerability.

Here’s the thing about love: it will always persevere at the end of the day. If it’s meant to be, it’s just that. Other people might not have to be fans of their new relationship but the only thing that truly matters is if they are happy. Marty promised Clara a phone call and right when you think it won’t happen, he rushes to the phone booth. But first, he chews out a friend:

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 and 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!

Delbert Mann transitions from television director to feature film director. He previously directed the teleplay and the feature marks his directorial debut. Talk about doing one heck of a job because not many people can say they won Oscar for Best Director in the feature debut.

Borgnine ended up in the role because teleplay star Rod Steiger wouldn’t sign onto a multi-picture commitment. To my knowledge, I don’t think they ever made a sequel anyway. Steiger’s loss is Borgnine’s gain. Meanwhile, Gene Kelly’s lobbying is what landed Betsy Blair the role. He threatened to not do a film unless she was cast. That’s Hollywood politics during the blacklist. Interestingly enough, screen legend Burt Lancaster is also one of the film’s producers alongside Harold Hecht. However, only Hecht is credited in the opening titles. If you look closely enough, you can also spot Jerry Orbach in an uncredited role in the ballroom.

The film took home four Oscars including Best Picture, Director (Delbert Mann), Actor (Ernest Borgnine) and Adapted Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). It’s other nominations were for Supporting Actor (Joe Mantell), Supporting Actress (Betsy Blair), Black-and-White Art Direction, and Black-and-White Cinematography. For Chayefsky, the Oscar would be the first of three in his career, also winning for The Hospital and Network.

This is a film that I first watched back in 2012 thanks to 31 Days of Oscar on TCM. The viewing was also long overdue for me because of it’s AFI honors in the 100 Years, 100 Passions list. However, it’s a film that one must watch at least once in their life. With the new special edition Blu-ray, viewers will be able to watch the film in one of two aspect ratios.

Marty is an all-around masterpiece thanks to its script and performances.

Bonus Features

  • Brand New 4K Master
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Entertainment Journalists/Authors Bryan Reesman and Max Evry
  • Includes Both the 1.85:1 and 1.37:1 Versions of the Film
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Optional English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Delbert Mann
SCREENWRITER: Paddy Chayefsky
CAST: Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair with Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli, Joe Mantell, Karen Steele, Jerry Paris

United Artists released Marty in theaters on April 11, 1955. Grade: 4.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.