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Monday, 9 July 2012

Marty - fliXposed remembers... Ernest Borgnine

fliXposed remembers... Ernest Borgnine

I was very saddened to the hear of the death of screen legend Ernest Borgnine earlier this week.

Ernest Borgnine was born on 24 January 1917, and was the only child of immigrant parents from Northern Italy. Following the separation of his parents, Borgnine lived with his mother in Italy as a child, and returned to the US when he was 5. 

After some service in the army, his mother suggested he could be a great actor, which led to Borgnine enrolling in the Randall School of Drama in Hartford.

He enjoyed a prolific career with both films and in TV shows such as "McHale's Navy" and most recently in "SpongeBob Squarepants". Borgnine won the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in 'Marty' (1955).

Borgnine passed away on Sunday 8 July at age 95.

fliXposed pays tribute to the life and career of Ernest Borgnine with a special blog on one of his greatest films, 'Marty'.

Recommended viewing:

  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • Bad Day at Black Rock (1954)
  • Marty (1955)
  • The Catered Affair (1956)
  • Torpedo Run (1958)
  • Pay or Die (1960)
  • McHale's Navy (1962-1966) (TV SERIES)
  • The Dirty Dozen (1967)
  • Ice Station Zebra (1968)
  • The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)
  • The Wild Bunch (1969)
  • Bunny O'Hare (1971)
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1973)
  • Spongebob Squarepants (1999-2012) (TV SERIES)

Marty (1955)

"You don't like her. My mother don't like her. She's a dog and I'm a fat, ugly man." - Ernest Borgnine (as Marty Piletti in 'Marty')

'Marty' is a 1955 drama directed by Delbert Mann, and starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. The film is based on a 1953 teleplay by Paddy Chayefsky.

In 1994, 'Marty' was selected for preservation in the National Film Library by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Marty Piletti (played by Borgnine) is a 34 year old unmarried Italian-American butcher, living in The Bronx, New York. Marty is the last of this brothers and sisters to not yet be married.  Although warm hearted, Marty lacks social skills, and is constantly being pushed to get married and children by his mother, cousin and family friends.  After being harassed by his mother to go out one night, Marty meets schoolteacher Clara (played by Blair).

Marty's auntie warns his mother that once Marty is married, she will be abandoned and be alone for the rest of her life. This leads Marty's mother to treat Clara badly. Marty's unmarried friends become jealous Clara, and try to convince Marty he should remain a bachelor like them.

Marty is forced to choose between his mother and friends, and the girl he loves. 

Did you know...

  • Ernest Borgnine received $5000 for his role as Marty Piletti, and in his later years said: "I would have done it for nothing".
  • Nancy Marchand, who played the role of Clara in the TV version, was originally meant to play Clara in this film, however Betsy Blair (who was married to actor Gene Kelly at the time) wanted the role - Gene Kelly lobbied for his wife and even threatened to pull out of the film 'It's Always Fair Weather', if Blair was not given the role of Clara
  • Jerry Orbach made his film debut in this film as an uncredited ballroom guest
  • The film was remade in 1991 as 'Only The Lonely'

Awards and nominations...

Receiving the Best Actor Academy Award in 1955
for his role in 'Marty', from Grace Kelly
  • Academy Award winner for Best Picture
  • Academy Award winner for Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine)
  • Academy Award winner for Best Director
  • Academy Award winner for Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Joe Mantell)
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Betsy Blair)
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration for a black and white film
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, for a black and white film
  • BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor (Ernest Borgnine)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama (Ernest Borgnine)
  • Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner
  • National Board of Review Award for Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine)
  • New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine)

Closing remarks

I first saw 'Marty' when I was about 15 years old. After finding out I enjoyed classic movies, one of my mother's cousin's recommended 'Marty'. I remember watching it, and thinking, "this film is okay, but it's not as great as I expected." I re-watched it again recently as a 28 year old unmarried Italian, and the film made much more sense. This film will resonate with unmarried European in their late 20s or early 30s, who will tell you Marty is a real character, in a real situation. 

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