For, Aug. 1, 2014

The boutique DVD/Blu-ray label Kino Lorber has jumped on the bandwagon to re-release classic Hollywood films in both DVD and (for the first time) Blu-ray editions (something Olive Films and Twilight Time have been doing for some time now).

A slew of upcoming titles has been announced by Kino Lorber but one that has already been released is "Marty," the 1955 melodrama that earned Ernest Borgnine an Oscar for his portrayal of an ordinary blue-collar guy lacking in self-confidence but yearning for someone to love.

"Marty" began life as a 1953 live-TV drama written by Paddy Chayefsky for "Philco Television Playhouse," starring Rod Steiger in the title role.

The story is universal and immediately engaging, with Bronx butcher Marty Piletti a reluctant bachelor in his mid-30s living with his widowed mother while all his siblings are married with children.

One evening he goes to the Stardust Ballroom and meets Clara (Betsy Blair), a despondent schoolteacher who has been abandoned by her blind date. Neither Marty nor Clara is particularly attractive but both are sweet-natured people and they connect.


                            Betsy Blair, Ernest Borgnine, 'Marty'

Naturally, complications follow but the resolutions are as natural and real as Chayefsky's potent dialogue, right down to the film's last lines.

Chayefsky expanded his teleplay into a movie script and in 1955 the film version was released to surprising accolades, given the gentle, low-key tone of the film.

Festival awards (include Cannes), critics awards, the Golden Globes and Directors Guild awards, and even the British equivalent of the Oscars, led to Academy Awards for best picture, best actor (Borgnine), best director (Delbert Mann) and best screenplay (Chayefsky), and was nominated in four more categories.


"Marty" remains a wonderful film that comes highly recommended from this corner as first-rate entertainment for the 21st century.