A thirty-four year old Italian butcher who is still single lives at home with his mother in New York City. Everyone is after him about finding a girl, but being a below average guy he feels he’ll never find anyone and has given up on love.
This remake of a 1953 TV movie earned four Oscars including Best Picture (1955) and a best actor award for Earnest Borgnine. Though the plot is thin, Borgnine, playing the lead role of Marty, makes this film fully enjoyable.
Marty, who works at the local butcher shop has given up on love. He thinks he is ugly and that no girl would want him. His family and friends on the other hand push and push him to find a lady. When he gives it a try by calling a girl he met out a few weeks before, he gets turned down for a date in a heart-breaking scene that makes you love the poor man. Deciding he is done chasing ladies he focuses on the butcher shop he works at, the owner has offered to sell it to him. If he tries hard enough he can get the cash to buy the place. His mother on the other hand thinks it is more important to find a woman. To appease his mother he tries and goes out with his friend Angie (Joe Mantell) to a local club.
While at the club a man offers to pay him to take his blind date off his hands, since she is a “real dog”. Borgnine being the ever gentleman refuses, then sees how the poor girl is upset and goes to talk to her. The two hit it off and love sprouts. Only to be plucked when his friends keep saying how much of a “dog” Clara (Betsy Blair) is. Marty is then forced to pick between love and his friends.
The film is very light on material and short in running time (at 91min the shortest film ever to win the best picture Oscar), but it is full of heart. Borgnine’s performance made his career that is still going strong over fifty years later. The role of his mother is also performed very well here by Esther Minciotti.
Those looking for deep material or a solid plot might not enjoy this film. Though it is worth it for Borgnine’s performance and the love that radiates out of it and the moral that everyone deserves love no matter what.