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Marty is an indelibly charming and instantly lovable dramedy about the burgeoning romance between a lonely New York butcher and a socially awkward schoolteacher who fall in love despite the defiance of their cynical, superficial and judgmental social circle.
The great Paddy Chayefsky's touchingly humanist screenplay is very light on plot, with an intense focus on the inner lives of his protagonists as they discover each other during a long night.
Similar indie dramas that are light on plot, that put their entire narrative weight on character and dialogue are very common now, but back in 1955, such a film not only being made but winning the coveted Best Picture prize was an eye-opener for filmmakers who wanted to tell intimate human stories without having to resort to superfluous eye candy and sensationalist premises.
The natural chemistry between Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair, who respectively play the butcher and the schoolteacher, will melt your heart.
Kino's new 1080p transfer from a recent 4K restoration looks crisp and incredibly detailed. Accentuating the realist and natural style of the film, Marty frequently adopts a docu-drama look that's awashed more in grays rather than stark black contrast a more soundstage-heavy production might have captured.
In that sense, the grays show a lot of healthy grain without dipping too much into digital scrubbing, and it's very hard to see any artifacts that could have come from the transfer.
One extra note about the transfer is that the disc has options for the academy ratio and the 1:85:1 framing. The open matte 4:3 presentation is an interesting addition, but the director of photography Joseph La Salle himself said that the 1:85:1 ratio is the correct one, so I'll recommend you watch it that way.
The lossless DTS-HD 2.0 track presents the film in its original mono mix. This is a dialogue-heavy character study and the dialogue comes across as crisp and full of dynamic range.
Commentary: The commentary by film journalists Bryan Reesman and Max Evry is chock full of production details that should make any fan happy. They also dig into the careers of the cast and crew, going all the way to bit parts. They have certainly done their research.
We also get a Trailer.
Marty is one of the most impactful and charming humanist dramas in Hollywood history. Compared to its writer Paddy Chayefsky's later cynicism, it showcases a great emotional counterpart to the likes of Network while also capturing Chayefski's penchant for dryly humorous dialogue. The new blu-ray's transfer is terrific and that alone should be reason enough to buy it.
Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com