Friday, July 27, 2012


“Dogs like us; we ain’t such dogs as we think we are.” Marty the butcher to Clara the teacher, in the movie, Marty.

Who could write such a line? Paddy Chayefsky - One of those wonderful writers – Rod Serling was another - who came out of television in the fifties. Chayefsky wrote Marty as a teleplay for the Goodyear Playhouse. Goodyear Playhouse along with others such as Playhouse 90, were staples of early television and produced programs that later ended up as feature films, as Marty and Requiem for a Heavyweight did.

Who could deliver such a line? Ernest Borgnine.

Turner Classic Movies, yesterday, was running films featuring Borgnine in remembrance of his death earlier this month. So back to back I saw Marty and then From Here to Eternity featuring Borgnine as the sadistic stockade Seargent of the Guard who brutalizes Frank Sinatra as Maggio. Seeing Borgnine as Marty and then shortly after as Fatso in Eternity showed his range as an actor.

I have one of those 6 degrees of separation things with Borgnine. When I was still working in LA, his daughter Nancy Borgnine was my agent. I never met Ernest.

Marty is ‘slice of life’ drama and it fulfills one of the tenets of Aristotle’s Poetics. Everything occurs in a 24 hour period of time.

It is really just a sweet movie, with characters that you care about and hope will be happy and in whom you may see yourself. It is a simple story that draws you in because of the writing and the performances: both Borgnine and Betsy Blair as Clara.

It was nice to see it again, last night.

“Dogs like us; we ain’t such dogs as we think we are.” What a hopeful line and one I think may resonate (even secretly) with all of us.

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