Marty (1955)

United Artists
Hecht and Lancaster’s Steven Production

In 1955, Nominated for eight awards, “Marty” won four: Picture, Director Delbert Mann, writer Paddy Chayefsky, and actor Ernest Borgnine, in one of the few leading and sympathetic roles he ever played; he was usually cast as the villain.

“Marty” tells the love story of a lonely bachelor-butcher from the Bronx (Ernest Borgnine), and Clara, a shy teacher (Betsy Blair), after they meet in a dance hall. Shot in the Bronx, its American-Italian locale was captured with attention to realistic detail.¬†

But the script patronizes its “little” protagonists, an attitude demonstrated in a scene in which Marty tells Clara, “You’re not really as much of a dog as you think you are.”

“Marty” is one of the least commercially successful Oscar-winning movies. Years later, the film served as inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky,” which won the 1976 Best Picture Oscar.

Oscar Nominations: 8

Picture, produced by Harold Hecht
Director: Delbert Mann
Screenplay: Paddy Chayefsky
Actor: Ernest Borgnine
Supporting Actress: Betsy Blair
Supporting Actor: Joe Mantell
 Cinematography (b/w): Joseph LaShelle
Art Direction-Set Decoration (b/w): Edward S. Haworth and Walter Simonds; Robert Priestley

Oscar Awards: 8


Oscar Context

In 1955, the most nominated (9) film was “The Rose Tattoo,” based on Tennessee Williams play and directed by the other Mann, Daniel. Most of the nominated pictures were screen adaptations of popular stage or TV plays. The other three nominees were the romantic melodrama “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” John Ford’s “Mister Roberts,” and “Picnic.”


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