like us; we ain't such dogs as we think we are’
glad to report that Eureka’s new Blu-ray release of “Marty” (the film’s debut
on Blu-ray in the UK) is certainly no dog. Over 60 years on, the film still
remains a warm and sentimental favourite. On the surface, Paddy Chayefsky’s
story is arguably as thin as they come. A lonely Bronx butcher in his mid-30s,
Marty (Ernest Borgnine) by nature is both shy and uncomfortable around women.
The story sees Marty again facing another regular weekend hanging out with his
buddies. It’s as dull a prospect of his life as it might equally appear on
paper. However, this peach of a film has plenty of richness tucked away in its
reserve tanks. Marty wins on a great deal of levels, warm characters, great
performances (Borgnine won the Best Actor Oscar) and above all, a super screenplay. It’s a magnificent script that manages
to hook you in from the opening scene and rightly saw Chayefsky rewarded with
an Academy Award. On this fateful weekend, Marty’s life is about to change. A
chance meeting with lonely schoolteacher Clara (Betsy Blair) is about to adjust
Marty’s destiny. It’s not an easy journey, as there are plenty of tests and
decisions that Marty has to face - small subplots that gently but effectively
hold the frail narrative together and strengthen the story.
has presented a beautiful Blu-ray/DVD dual format package for Marty. The moody (but handsomely crafted)
monochrome photography is crisp and clean for the best part of its 90 minutes
with just a few brief scenes looking a little softer in places Print quality is
also fine throughout with only a few odd speckles evident on some darker scenes
or static backgrounds – but overall, there is really little to quibble about
here. Audio is also clear and sharp with no significant problems.
the bonus material is the full length 1953 TV play (performed live) which was
presented on NBC. Also directed by Delbert Mann, the play features Rod Steiger
in the title role. It’s a lovely little discovery which showcases nicely
Marty’s journey from written page to TV and eventually its big screen triumph.
Also included is a short piece hosted by Eva Marie Saint, a collection of
interviews with (among others) Steiger and Mann provide a great deal about the
production and co-producer Burt Lancaster’s input behind the movie. This
featurette manages to pack a lot into its fairly short time and works
especially well as an introduction to the movie.
is also a newly filmed and very enjoyable retrospective account of “Marty” by
film scholar Neil Sinyard. Many of the film’s key aspects are explored,
including how the principles landed their roles, how the film was almost
scrapped before completion and again how significant the intervention of Burt
Lancaster was to the production – all of which is very engrossing stuff and
lasting some 20 minutes. After watching this interview, I was left convinced
that Sinyard could have provided a very interesting commentary - it’s just a
shame that the opportunity was not picked up and followed through.
original trailer concludes the bonus features, and a welcome one it is too. Screen
legend Burt Lancaster introduces the trailer and provides the narration
throughout. As a co-producer he was naturally available to lend his influential
power and weight to the film – and naturally does it very well indeed. Full of
spectacle and sparkle, it’s a great example from the Golden age of Hollywood.
still holds up incredibly well and there’s very little (if anything at all) not
to like about it. It’s an everyman tale that arguably still relates to a lot of
people and continues to warm hearts. In today’s somewhat cynical world, it
still works as a timely reminder of a much more innocent and respectful time.