Monday, August 29, 2011

Marty (1955)

Marty is a 34-year-old butcher whose Italian family is constantly after him to get married. He then meets plain-looking schoolteacher Clara. [imdb]

Nominated for 8 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Delbert Mann (WINNER)
Best Actor: Ernest Borgnine (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actor: Joe Mantell
Best Supporting Actress: Betsy Blair
Best Writing, Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Best Art Direction, Black-and-White

You don't hear many people talking about Marty these days, even though it won Best Picture for 1955, making it the 28th winner of this category. There's a reason for the lack of interest nowadays, and mostly because it's a very very low-key film. As the film started, I actually enjoyed it and found it pleasant to watch. However, it quickly turned into pure misogyny and the ending especially managed to annoy me quite a lot.

I'm not a fan of Borgnine, and I'm sure had James Dean not died in 1955, he would've given him some serious competition for East of Eden. But given the situation, Borgnine had an easy win for Best Actor, one I can't fully agree with, even though it's not a bad performance. I just didn't like the character and didn't feel the role was challenging enough. This is strange case of film which I would've preferred more had it been a bit idealized. It gets a bit too cruel, misogynistic as I said, and also too crowded with uninteresting supporting characters.

Betsy Blair gives a flawed performance, and I guess she got nominated just because of the film. The same with supporting actor Joe Mantell, who does almost nothing in his role. The direction is better than the screenplay & the film itself, but far from being a justified winner. And yet how did Marty win all these top prizes? Simple enough: very weak competition, with a surprisingly strange Best Picture line-up of nominees.

My rating for the film: 6/10. Some will enjoy it more. It lost my interest towards the end. It sure don't look like a Best Picture winner to me, though that didn't affect my rating for it.

1 comment:

  1. It's extremely indicative of it's time.

    The win may have been partly due to the story behind the camera, Paddy Chayefsky TV movie remade with Burt Lancaster's money and the same cast.