Marty

Scarecrow Video has built an entire DVD kiosk, almost a shrine, featuring Ernest Borgnine, who died last month at the age of 95. There, you can load up on movies from a career that spanned Broadway to Hollywood to McHale's Navy to cameos on The Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants. Then walk over to the Ave to see Borgnine's Oscar-winning turn in Marty (1955), a career-defining role that ensured he'd never just be cast as another Italian-American heavy. The tale of a shy Bronx butcher, unmarried at the advanced age of 34 (!), Marty is a sentimental but still wrenching study in loneliness. Also receiving Oscars were director Delbert Mann and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, who had staged the drama on live TV two years earlier (Rod Steiger starred). Chayefsky, a Jew given an Irish nickname during the war, knew something about the smothering weight of ethnicity, family, and tradition. While Marty courts a meek schoolteacher (Betsy Blair) over one long Saturday night, his mother and aunt despair over dead husbands and the children who leave. The world is changing: Manners are in decline, Marty's shop is threatened by the A&P, and dates are requested over the telephone. In one long take, Borgnine receives a rejection with eyes closed, sad as a statue; how many actors would dare that today? And in the movie's most famous speech, Marty tells his mother, "Whatever women like, I don't got it! I'm just a fat little man!" Even in today's era of Facebook and online dating, many single viewers will know exactly how he feels. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Aug. 24-30, 6:15 p.m., 2012

 
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