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MartinP.

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I was curious so I just looked up my review of Borgnine's Marty, and here's what I said:

While Ernest Borgnine is tremendously earnest and forthright as the title character, he doesn’t quite capture the same amount of deep-seated angst about his miserable single life and the repeated rejections that Rod Steiger imbued into his TV performance. He plays it a bit lighter and more chatty which seems right for the film but less dramatically heavy....

This is why I prefer Borgnine's performance. There's an oft-repeated notion that many comedians come to their work because of troubled backgrounds in one way or another. To me, Marty's "miserable single life and repeated rejections" are dealt with in that lighter and more chatty way as it helps him cope with those things, whereas Steiger's Marty is internalizing those things and creating a harsher personality that isn't as welcoming to an audience. Both are valid ways to approach it, but one is more hopeful, IMO. At the end of Steiger's Marty I don't feel it's necessarily going to work out.
 

mskaye

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This is why I prefer Borgnine's performance. There's an oft-repeated notion that many comedians come to their work because of troubled backgrounds in one way or another. To me, Marty's "miserable single life and repeated rejections" are dealt with in that lighter and more chatty way as it helps him cope with those things, whereas Steiger's Marty is internalizing those things and creating a harsher personality that isn't as welcoming to an audience. Both are valid ways to approach it, but one is more hopeful, IMO. At the end of Steiger's Marty I don't feel it's necessarily going to work out.
The "Steiger version" is sad and grim. It's more authentic in every way down to the casting of leading lady. It breaks my heart. Steiger is so powerful in it. He isn't as puppy dog sympathetic as Borgnine. Overall feels raw. The Borgnine version is very good but it puts a nice Hollywood "bow" on things. To me its sort of like putting a bow on La Strada. I accept for that but when I finally saw the Steiger version I couldn't return to it.
 

Robert Crawford

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Anyone prefer Rod Steiger's earlier TV portrayal of Marty?
Not me, after spending time this weekend watching the new Kino Blu-ray twice because of the audio commentary and then watching the 2009 Criterion "Golden Age of Television" DVD again, I prefer Borgnine's portrayal of Marty. IMO, Steiger was too harsh and anguish in that role. With that said, I'm not saying Borgnine was a better actor than Steiger because he's not. However, Borgnine brought more humanity to the role and made me sympathize with his issues more so than Steiger. Granted, the film had higher production standards and better writing that made the characters have more extensive personalities in the movie over the TV showing. The "wanting a kiss" sequence is just outstanding in the movie as I think it's better done than in the TV show. Also, Blair's performance was really good as that scene with her watching the "Ed Sullivan" show with her parents was very effective.

Also, there is no way I'll ever watch "Marty" again in 1.37 ratio. A great job by Kino having the 1.85 ratio. The audio commentary on the Blu-ray is very good too.
 

Robert Crawford

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This is why I prefer Borgnine's performance. There's an oft-repeated notion that many comedians come to their work because of troubled backgrounds in one way or another. To me, Marty's "miserable single life and repeated rejections" are dealt with in that lighter and more chatty way as it helps him cope with those things, whereas Steiger's Marty is internalizing those things and creating a harsher personality that isn't as welcoming to an audience. Both are valid ways to approach it, but one is more hopeful, IMO. At the end of Steiger's Marty I don't feel it's necessarily going to work out.
There is a scene in the movie in which Marty is calling up a girl for a date that is not light or chatty.
You really see the pain of rejection on his face while closing his eyes. Steiger did that same scene well too, but Borgnine having his eyes closed made it more effective for me.
 

Robert Crawford

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I remember it fondly having reviewed the Criterion Golden Age of TV set that it was a part of. I haven't watched it in a long time now, but just from memory, I think I might prefer him to Borgnine if I compared them.
I was curious so I just looked up my review of Borgnine's Marty, and here's what I said:

While Ernest Borgnine is tremendously earnest and forthright as the title character, he doesn’t quite capture the same amount of deep-seated angst about his miserable single life and the repeated rejections that Rod Steiger imbued into his TV performance. He plays it a bit lighter and more chatty which seems right for the film but less dramatically heavy....
I prefer Borgnine's portrayal as I think he humanized the character more so than Steiger. Again, the movie flushed out the characters more, with better and more extensive writing as Borgnine had more to work with than Steiger. Another thing, as an actor, I think Borgnine could probably handle the comedic and softer moments better than Steiger. Just my opinion as Steiger was such an intense "method" actor when it comes to being in a particular role.
 

jayembee

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Glad to hear, I caught a LOT of grief about this one several years ago when I provided the widescreen documentation!

Full disclosure: I was one of those who argued in favor of the 1.37 framing. But I wasn't suggesting that you, Bob -- or anyone else who was pushing for 1.85 -- was wrong about what the ratio was supposed to be. As RAH said above in his review, I was going by "what my eyes are telling me". While some scenes did seem to have excessive headroom, there were a lot of scenes that didn't. And I thought the 1.37 framing was very comfortable. Granted that I was comparing the 1.37 framing against a zooming-in of that framing, which isn't quite a proper comparison. But it was enough to convince me that I was happy enough with the 1.37 framing.

That said, I'm pleased that Kino decided to issue a new disc with both framings so that everyone has a choice. I look forward to getting this disc, and comparing the two more properly.
 

ABritch

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Would someone be kind enough to explain why there is two versions of Marty at 1.37:1 and 1.85:1 please? Was it released theatrically in both aspect ratio? Or were we just used to it on TV in 1.37:1.
 

Robert Crawford

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Would someone be kind enough to explain why there is two versions of Marty at 1.37:1 and 1.85:1 please? Was it released theatrically in both aspect ratio? Or were we just used to it on TV in 1.37:1.
The correct ratio is 1.85. Kino decided by have both ratios probably because this movie was always shown on TV in 1.37.
 

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