Marty (1955)

A Butcher in Love in the Bronx

Marty, a 34-year-old butcher from the Bronx, meets a plain schoolteacher at a Saturday night dance. They are drawn together by their fears of rejection and loneliness. One of the first films to bring new naturalism, new talent and new life to Hollywood from TV, Marty was known in the trade as a “sleeper”, a film that, without any obvious box-office appeal, becomes a hit. It won four Oscars – best director (Delbert Mann), best film, best screenplay and best actor for Borgnine.

Ernest Borgnine Wins Best Actor: 1956 Oscars

With his beefy build and a huge orb of a head that looked hard enough to shatter granite, Borgnine naturally was cast as heavies early on, notably as Sgt. Fatso Judson, the brute who beat Frank Sinatra’s character to death in 1953’s Pearl Harbor saga “From Here to Eternity.”

More bad guy roles followed, but Borgnine showed his true pussycat colors as lovesick Marty Piletti, a Bronx butcher who, against all odds and his own expectations, finds romance with a wallflower in “Marty.”

It turned out to be Borgnine‘s only Oscar nomination, yet it was a star-making part that broke him out of the villain mold. Borgnine went on to roles in such films as “The Dirty Dozen,” “The Wild Bunch,” “The Flight of the Phoenix,” “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Escape from New York.”

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