Marty, from 1955
When a movie wins best Actor in a Leading Role (Borgnine), Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Writing, Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky) and Best Picture, you know it’s got to be good. Damned good. So it is with Marty. Marty is an Italian New York City (Bronx) butcher, who at 34 years old has not yet tied the knot. In fact. looking 20 years older, he doesn’t have much luck with any dames. He lives his life day to day, trying to be a nice guy and an all around good person. And he is…but nice guys finish last, don’t they?
Marty is constantly hounded by his family to get married. Trouble is, he can’t even manage to hold a girl’s attention for more than five minutes. Then along comes Clara, an average-looking schoolteacher who’s not the flashy-trashy chicks that seems to be swinging off the trees. They connect…but can they make it work?
Marty is a great mid-50s slice of life story, with fantastic performances by Borgnine, Jerry Paris and Betsy Blair. It’s part Noir, part love story and part comedy, with the fun coming from the daily lives of the characters and how they interact, not from cheesy one-liners or puns. One of my favorite scenes is when Marty and his buddy are trying to figure out what to do that night. “Let’s call Mary Feeney…”
Food: Since Marty is a butcher, it only makes sense to have some meat. Here’s and easy pot roast recipe that’s been a standard in my family for 50+ years.
5-8 lb Chuck or Bottom Round Roast
Fresh Carrots, Celery, Potatoes, Onions, string beans
Canned or frozen peas, corn
Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Bay Leaves
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the roast. In a large pot, sear the beef on high heat in a tablespoon of oil, turning until each side is brown. Add one large onion, potatoes, carrots, and celery (all diced into large chunks) and string beans, one can corn and one can peas (with water), and one cup of water. Bring to boil. Separately, dissolve bouillon cube and onion soup mix in one cup cold water. Add on teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Pour into pot and bring to boil. Add 2-3 bay leaves. Once at full boil, reduce to simmer, stir and cover. Add another cup of water and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste broth; add more water as needed and seasoning to taste. Allow roast to simmer (low) covered for at least two hours. Roast is done when it is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
Gravy: Remove two cups of broth, add one bouillon cube and bring to boil. Reduce heat and whisk in flour one tablespoon at a time, allowing to thicken a few minutes between additions. Thicken and add seasoning to taste. I like mine peppery.
Booze: Schlitz Beer, or Chianti wine, the kind that comes wrapped in a basket weave.
Here’s the trailer…