On the Horizon: Marty and His Friends and Neighbors
p>Marty, a quiet little movie about an unprepossessing young man who at last finds a girl, as plain and as lonely as he is, with whom he can share his loneliness, has become a commercial and critical success. In Europe it received a standing ovation and the Golden Palm as the best film at the Cannes International Film Festival this past spring. It even received a favorable notice in Pravda, according to an AP report in the New York Times (May 31,1955), which must be some kind of mark of distinction for a film that, despite its sentimental depiction of the “little man,” is so obviously free of social message. So much acclaim might well make the viewer a little suspicious, but Marty is, in fact, quite a good movie despite a number of minor faults.
Although the acting (there are excellent performances by Ernest Borgnine as Marty and Joseph Mantell as his friend Angie) and Delbert Mann’s direction are partly responsible for the quality of the film, the movie is recognizably the work of Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote the screen play, an extension of his television script. Chayefsky, one of the most successful television dramatists, has recently dignified his profession by publishing a collection of scripts, Television Plays, with extensive notes. A glance at the book and the few Chayefsky scripts the Philco-Goodyear Playhouse has produced since the collection was prepared indicates that Marty is typical of its author’s work in its realistic setting, its lower-middle-class characters, and its domestic stiuation.
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