Marty (1955) Oscar winner starring Ernest Borgnine: Discussion

I DVR’d this a while ago off TCM and finally watched it last night. I have heard about, known about, saw clips from it and seen the cultural references to it all over the place. *Quizshow *came to mind immediately. Angie: What do you wanna do tonight?
Marty Pilletti: I dunno, Angie. What do you wanna do?
These famous lines are something I think I have always known and knew they were from Marty. It is one of those films I think that pervades the American conscious like a Casablanca, On the Waterfront, Gone with the Wind or Citizen Kane though it is far less popular overall.

Well you know what? I would say this movie was under-rated if anything except I saw it has a 100% on rottentomatoes. So I will say it is under-known instead. I would give it a 10. The dialogue and acting was great, gritty and real. The capturing of the Bronx in 1954 was amazing. I wasn’t even born yet and it made me nostalgic for the NY of that time.

Surprisingly great acting from supporting actors like Jerry Paris (best known as the neighbor on the Dick Van Dyke show a few years later) and the mother and the aunt. Esther Minciotti & Augusta Ciolli who I am guessing came mainly off Broadway.

Betsy Blair as plain Clara (Gene Kelly’s wife at the time) was excellent but of course too good looking for the constant descriptions as a dog. But the movie was great enough that I could suspend my belief to treat her as Hollywood Ugly.

But it was Ernest Borgnine as Marty that made the picture. He is so much better than the affable and extremely likable character actor that I think of him as or the toughs he played prior to Marty. He was probably on par with Brando in this role at least.

So I think this movie was great and nearly perfect. I hope others will share their thoughts on it.
For those that have not seen it or want a refresher:

I saw just the beginning of it (probably the same TCM airing that you copied) and I thought it looked very good. Like you, I was curious because I’ve always been aware of the “Whaddaya wanna do tonight, Marty” line but knew basically nothing else about the movie. (I was born the year it came out… I bet relatively few people under 40 would know the reference.)

If you haven’t deleted it, could you check out about 40 minutes into it in the dancing scene. A lot of people think Jerry Orbach shows up as one of the extras dancing. While it’s possible, and the guy does look like him, I think he’s too short, unless he is really hunched down. Whaddaya think?

A truly fine film, without any frills. Every scene was compelling, and as mentioned, Borgnine’s acting was superb and never to be equalled again by him in his career.

Apart from the suspension of disbelief regarding the ugly girlfriend, it was a good movie and well acted. It might say something about my attention span, but I like simple understandable movies that hit me over the head with the point.

My favorite scene is possibly unintentionally funny.

Marty is getting down on himself. I don’t have the exact dialogue but it’s something like this.

Marty: Ma, I’m just a fat ugly man.
Ma: You not ugly…

Viewable on youtube here: Marty scene

Why do I have this idea there is controversy associated with this movie? Do I have it confused with something else?

I don’t know of much, though Betsy Blair almost did not get the role thanks to the blacklist.

I’ll try to take a look, but I am not sure I would recognize him anyway back in 1955.

BwanaBob, this is pretty much the scene from Marty (1955)

I always confuse "Marty"and “On the waterfront”.

Could it be from its use in Quiz Show? In that film, the producers made the current winner (Herbie Stimpel played by John Turturro) throw his last question so that the Ralph Finnes character would move forward. The question was about Marty, which happened to be Stipmel’s all-time favorite movie. Nobody who knew him could believe he’d really choke on that question.

He wasn’t credited in the film, but says that was indeed Jerry Orbach in the ballroom scene.

Interesting, the movie was of course based on a teleplay and “the Dog” was much more realistically portrayed by a young Nancy Marchand.

Betsy Blair was at worst, even in the movie, mousy.

“Whaddya mean, about Marty and I shouldn’t know??!!” If anything, I think “Quiz Show” would have increased the number of younger people who are at least aware of “Marty.”

Personally I found the teleplay to be a better version. I think movies that showed this kind of realism not often encountered in movies very often back then, like the mundane 'What do you wanna do tonight?".

Another interesting teleplay vs. movie comparison is* Requiem for a Heavyweight*.

Yeah, I know. Similarly, Dick Cheney is listed as cop in one of the “Die Hard” movies (as the result of the director’s commentary). Any time you’re dealing with uncredited roles, the rule is “trust, but verify.” I’ve seen this, and I’m not convinced–but not convinced that it’s not, either.

Can you link to any pictures of Jerry Orbach at around that time? Otherwise it would be silly for me to look. I only know him as an older man.

I dunno. Whadda you think?

I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard of Marty before seeing Quiz Show. I do remember seeing Marty at the video stores afterwards and being underwhelmed with the box art ( and thus never making a point to see it. Guess I should make a point to catch it sometimes…sounds right up my alley, really.

For what it is worth:

I agree it’s questionable. Orbach was born in 1935. His first official credit was in 1958, when he would have been 23. But IMDB lists him in two uncredited “face in the crowd” parts in 1955.

Orbach went to college in Chicago. He presumedly was still there in 1955. Why would he have left school to make very small walk-on roles in two movies and then not done anything else for three more years? It seems just as likely to me that the person you briefly see in Marty and Guys and Dolls was somebody else who just happened to resemble Orbach.