Marty (1955) ★★★★★ 4/5
Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine) is a butch in New York. At work, his customers tell him he should be married, after all, he is 34 years old. All his brothers and sisters are married. At home, his Mother tells him he should be married. Friends want him to find a girl. Everyone around him pushes him into romance at every opportunity they get. Marty is a warm hearted guy with a charming personality. He's not the best looking guy, and he is critical of himself.
Clara (Betsy Blair) is a 29 year old school teacher. She is kind and polite. Like Marty, she does not have high self esteem and doesn't think love will find her. She too lives with her parents, and uses it to her advantage claiming her parents couldn't do without her help at home.
The two meet at the Stardust ballroom after Clara's date has left with another girl. Marty sees her crying and befriends her. That night, the two spend hours at a diner talking and getting to know each other. The get along perfectly and are attracted to each other. Marty takes her home and the two share a kiss before his Mother arrives and briefly meets Clara. Being late at night, Clara is then escorted home by Marty when they run into a friend of Marty's who he had actually lost track of earlier in the night at the Ballroom. He tries to get Marty to hang out with him, but Marty insists on taking Clara home. When he finally does, he promises to call her the next day.
Morning comes with Marty singing and happy. However everyone around him who had encouraged him to find love now protests his new interest. His Mother excalims she didn't like the girl and forbids him to see her again. Her main reason is because the girl is not Italian. This change of pace came from a conversation Marty's Mother had with her Sister in which her Sister warned that if Marty ever finds love he will try moving her out of her house and into an apartment. Moments later, Marty's cousin is in a bitter fight with his wife. He warns Marty about the problems that come with a wife and begs him to stay a bachelor. After church, Marty meets his friend who had briefly met Clara. Again Marty finds himself being talked out of his interest in Clara. His friend speaks about how ugly she is and makes Marty not want to see her. He declines calling her.
Later that night, Marty is spending times with his friends who bicker about what they want to do that night. Clara is at home watching Ed Sullivan with her parents, and clearly heartbroken. Marty himself is feeling bitter about spending another noght doing nothing when he knows he found someone he loves. Love wins and Marty calls Clara.
The film moved along nicely. It was also nice watching a film where the lead characters were more typical of everyday people instead of Hollywood icons. The dynamics and the shift in how Marty was made to feel by those in his environment was well played. While the attitudes of those around him shifted quickly in the film, it was well crafted and made sense. The development of each character and why they changed their initial viewpoint was well scripted and believable. My only issue with the film was the ending was far to abrupt. Sure, we knew what happened and it was no mystery, but I think it left for the viewer wanting to see Marty and Clara actually reunite. But, just as the film did not star mainstream idols, it did not feature a traditional Hollywood ending. Perhaps this helped the film achieve it's success as it was more releastic then it was movie like.