There must be few more unlikely winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture than Delbert Mann’s 1955 film Marty. It was initially conceived as a tele-play, which broadcast a couple of years earlier. It wasn’t exactly taken overly seriously by Hecht-Lancaster Productions in the beginning. One of the stars, Betsy Blair, had previously been blacklisted but was able to participate after intense lobbying from her then husband Gene Kelly. Thankfully it did, as the fourth American film to ever win the Palme d’Or at Cannes is a wonderfully heart-warming romantic drama.
Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine) has all but given up on finding love. The 34-year-old butcher lives with his mother (Esther Minciotti) in the Bronx. Kind-natured and warm-hearted, Marty is socially awkward and despairs at the repeated admonitions about his (lack of) marital status. Pressured by his mother, he goes to the Stardust Ballroom with his friend Angie (Joe Mantell) to find himself a ‘tomato’. He meets Clara (Blair), who has been abandoned by her blind date. He has a great time, but his friends and mother are less than impressed.
Marty is a wonderfully warm film abount a man who might finally find happiness if he follows his heart. Borgnine deservedly won an Oscar for his performance, whilst Blair and Mantel picked up nominations. Indeed, it’s a fine ensemble cast which doesn’t need star names to excel. Paddy Chayefsky also received a nod for expanding and adapting his own tele-play, and it’s the script which really is why Marty works so well. Mann has created a film which is full of surprises and unexpectedly emotional depth.
- 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
- Uncompressed LPCM audio (on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- A new video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard
- Marty (51 mins) – The original teleplay broadcast on NBC in 1953, also directed by Delbert Mann and starring Rod Steiger in the title role
- Archival interviews with Delbert Mann and the cast of the original teleplay (Rod Steiger, Nancy Marchand and Betsy Palmer)
- Original theatrical trailer presented by Burt Lancaster
Marty is released on dial format DVD and Blu-ray by Eureka Classics on 30 April.