MARTY (1955) B/W 91m dir: Delbert Mann
w/Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti, Karen Steele, Jerry Paris, Frank Sutton, Walter Kelley, Robin Morse, Augusta Ciolli, Joe Mantell
Borgnine is terrific as a plain Bronx butcher who forces himself to go out and socialize after he's consigned himself to a life of loneliness.
From The Movie Guide: "MARTY, coming in the mid-1950s, in an era of epics and extravagant films designed to stifle upstart television, was all the more startling in that it was a movie expanded from an original television drama (with Rod Steiger in the lead), written brilliantly by [Paddy] Chayefsky, one of the leaders of what came to be known as 'kitchen sink' or 'clothesline' dramas. ...
"Before doing this film Borgnine was nothing more than an uninteresting heavy. But here he showed the world the great depths of his own character. Mantell also gives a solid performance as the pal addicted to the more bloody passages of Mickey Spillane, constantly asserting: 'Boy, he sure can write.' Blair is less effective, and Minciotti is not much more than a prop mother. UA executives were not enthusiastic about the production and almost canceled the movie; they, along with the rest of Hollywood's elite, were amazed at the movie's universal success, and MARTY soon set a trend toward the small-budgeted, prosaic films to come."
MARTY won four Oscars: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Borgnine), and Adapted Screenplay (Chayefsky, based on his television play). It was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Mantell), Supporting Actress (Blair), Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle), and Art Direction (Edward S. Haworth, Walter Simonds, Robert Priestley).