Script To Screen: “Marty”

March 6th, 2013 by

The final scene from the 1955 drama Marty, written by Paddy Chayefsky, one of three screenplays for which he won an Academy Award.

Setup: Two lonely people, Marty and Clara, have almost resigned themselves to never being truly loved.

               187TH STREET. BAR. NIGHT.

               CLOSE-UP of Marty leaning against the wall in front of the 
               bar. A group of young men lounge about, killing time.

               Angie, Leo and Joe are among them. There are perhaps four or 
               five other young MEN, loosely divided into two groups. The 
               group that concerns us has Marty and the others mentioned 
               and GEORGE, a young man in a sport jacket.

                                     LEO
                         What time is it?

                                     JOE
                         About eight o'clock.

                                     ANGIE
                              (to George)
                         You don't feel like going downna 
                         Seventy-Second Street?

                                     GEORGE
                         It'll take an hour anna hour back, 
                         and the whole evening's gone.

                                     JOE
                         What's playing on Fordham Road? I 
                         think there's a good picture in the 
                         Loew's Paradise.

                                     GEORGE
                         You guys feel like working up a game-
                         a cards?

                                     ANGIE
                         Come on, let's go down Seventy-Second 
                         Street, walk around. We're sure to 
                         wind up with something.

               CLOSE-UP of Marty, his head down, his eyes closed. The group 
               continues their dialogue back and forth. Their VOICES can be 
               heard as Marty's head slowly comes up.

                                     JOE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         I'll never forgive LaGuardia for 
                         cutting out burlesque outta New York 
                         City...

                                     GEORGE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         There's a burlesque in Union City. 
                         Let's go over to Union City...

                                     ANGIE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         Yeah, you're the one who don't even 
                         wanna take a ride onna subway for 
                         half an hour. Now, you wanna go alla 
                         way over to Union City...

                                     GEORGE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         I feel like playing cards. I saw 
                         Richie Rizzo, that's what he said he 
                         felt like doing...

                                     JOE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         I don't feel like playing cards. 
                         Waddaya feel like doing tonight, 
                         Angie?

                                     ANGIE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         I don't know. Wadda you feel like 
                         doing?

                                     JOE'S VOICE
                              (off-screen)
                         I don't know, Angie. Wadda you feel 
                         like doing?

               A fury rises in Marty's face. He cries out at them.

                                     MARTY
                         "What are you doing tonight?"... "I 
                         don't know, what are you doing?!"...

               CAMERA ANGLES over to the others who, at this outburst, stare 
               at Marty astounded.

                                     MARTY
                              (continuing)
                         The burlesque! Loew's Paradise! 
                         Miserable and lonely! Miserable and 
                         lonely and stupid! What am I, crazy 
                         or something?! I got something good 
                         here! What am I hanging around with 
                         you guys for?!

               He has said this in tones so loud that it attracts the 
               attention of the few PEOPLE on the street. A little 
               embarrassed by the attention he's getting, he turns, opens 
               the door to the bar, and goes into it.

               After a stunned moment, Angie hurries after him.

               INSIDE THE BAR.

               Marty marches the length of the room toward the phone booths 
               in the rear. CAMERA ANGLES to disclose Angie right behind 
               him.

               Marty is about to enter one of the phone booths, but he stops 
               as Angie hurries up to him.

                                     ANGIE
                         Watsa matter with you?

               Marty pauses, one foot in the booth.

                                     MARTY
                         You don't like her. My mother don't 
                         like her. She's a dog, and I'm a 
                         fat, ugly little man. All I know is 
                         I hadda good time last night. I'm 
                         gonna have a good time tonight. If 
                         we have enough good times together, 
                         I'm gonna go down on my knees and 
                         beg that girl to marry me. If we 
                         make a party again this New Year's, 
                         I gotta date for the party. You don't 
                         like her, that's too bad.

               Marty has been fishing in his pocket for his address book. 
               He opens it to its proper page and steps decisively into the 
               phone booth.

               Nearby, Angie prowls around outside the booth. The booth 
               door is open. Marty starts to dial. A hush fills the room 
               except for the CLICKING of the telephone dial.

               INSIDE THE PHONE BOOTH.

               The look of fury has drained from Marty's face. He holds the 
               receiver to his ear, glances out toward Angie. CAMERA ANGLES 
               to include Angie.

                                     MARTY
                              (his old amiable self)
                         When you gonna get married, Angie? 
                         Aren't you ashamed of yourself? You're 
                         thirty-three years old. All your kid 
                         brothers are married. You oughta be 
                         ashamed of yourself.

               Still smiling at his very private joke, Marty returns to the 
               phone, and after a fraction of a second...

                                     MARTY
                         Hello... Clara?...

               As Angie looks miserable, and Marty slowly reaches out and 
               pushes the phone booth door shut, and continues to talk into 
               the phone, we very slowly...

               FADE OUT.

                                         THE END

One of the single best things you can do to learn the craft of screenwriting is to read the script while watching the movie. After all a screenplay is a blueprint to make a movie and it’s that magic of what happens between printed page and final print that can inform how you approach writing scenes. That is the purpose of Script to Screen, a weekly series on GITS where we analyze a memorable movie scene and the script pages that inspired it.

One thought on “Script To Screen: “Marty”

  1. SabinaGiado says:

    I love that it was accepted convention for dudes used to walk around on a weekend in a suit, to go to places with names like Loew’s Paradise. Sigh.

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