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It's the love story of an unsung hero! (taglines)
- I've been looking for a girl every Saturday night of my life.
- All my brothers and brothers-in-laws tell me what a good-hearted guy I am. You don't get to be good-hearted by accident. You get kicked around long enough, you become a professor of pain.
- Ma, sooner or later, there comes a point in a man's life when he's gotta face some facts. And one fact I gotta face is that, whatever it is that women like, I ain't got it.
- [to Angie] You don't like her. My mother don't like her. She's a dog and I'm a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night. I'm gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees and I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party on New Year's, I got a date for that party. You don't like her? That's too bad! Hey Ang, when are you going to get married? You're 33 years old, and all your kid brothers and sisters are married. You oughta be ashamed of yourself.
- [to Catherine] Where you go, rain go. Someday you gonna smile, we gonna have a big holiday.
- College girls are one step from the street, I tell you. My son Joseph wife, she type on the typewriter - one step from the street!
- So I'm an old garbage bag put in the street, huh?... These are the worst years, I tell you. It's going to happen to you. I'm afraid to look in a mirror. I'm afraid I'm gonna see an old lady with white hair, just like the old ladies in the park with little bundles and black shawls waiting for the coffin. I'm fifty-six years old. And what am I gonna do with myself? I've got strength in my hands. I want to clean. I want to cook. I want to make dinner for my children. Am I an old dog to lay near the fire till my eyes close? These are terrible years, Theresa, terrible years... It's gonna happen to you. It's gonna happen to you! What are you gonna do if Marty gets married? Huh? What are you gonna cook? Where's all the children playing in all the rooms? Where's the noise? It's a curse to be a widow, a curse! What are you gonna do if Marty gets married? What are you gonna do?
- Marty Piletti: And I also want you to know that I'm having a very good time with you right now and really enjoyin' myself. You see, you're not such a dog as you think you are.
- Clara: I'm having a very good time too.
- Marty Piletti: So there you are. So I guess I'm not such a dog as I think I am.
- Clara: You're a very nice guy. I don't know why some girl hasn't grabbed you off long ago.
- Marty Piletti: Well, I don't know either. I think I'm a very nice guy. I also think I'm a pretty smart guy in my own way...You know how I figure. Two people get married and are gonna live together forty or fifty years, so it's gotta be more than whether they're just good-looking or not. Now you tell me you think you're not so good looking. Well, my father was a real ugly man but my mother adored him. She told me how she used to get so miserable sometimes — like everybody, you know? And, and she says my father always tried to understand. I used to see them sometimes when I was a kid sittin' in the living room talkin' and talkin'. And I used to adore my old man because he was always so kind. That's one of the most beautiful things I have in my life — the way my father and mother were. And my father was a real ugly man. So it doesn't matter if you look like a gorilla. You see, dogs like us, we ain't such dogs as we think we are.
- Mrs. Pilletti: (serving dinner): So, what are you gonna do tonight Marty?
- Marty: I don't know, Ma. I'm all knocked out. I may just hang around the house.
- Mrs. Pilletti: Why don't you go to the Stardust Ballroom?
- Marty: What?
- Mrs. Pilletti: I say, why don't you go to the Stardust Ballroom? It's loaded with tomatoes.
- Marty: It's loaded with what?
- Mrs. Pilletti: Tomatoes.
- Marty: (laughs) Who told you about the Stardust Ballroom, Ma?
- Mrs. Pilletti: Tommy. He say it was a very nice place.
- Marty: Oh, Thomas. Ma, it's just a big dance hall, that's all it is. I been there a hundred times. Loaded with tomatoes - boy, you're funny, Ma.
- Mrs. Pilletti: Marty, I don't want you to hang around the house tonight. I want you to go take a shave and go dance.
- Marty: (pleading) Ma, when you gonna give up? You got a bachelor on your hands. I ain't never gonna get married.
- Mrs. Pilletti: You're gonna get married.
- Marty: Ma, sooner or later, there comes a point in a man's life when he's gotta face some facts. And one fact I gotta face is that, whatever it is that women like, I ain't got it. I chased after enough girls in my life. I-I went to enough dances. I got hurt enough. I don't wanna get hurt no more. I just called up a girl this afternoon, and I got a real brush-off, boy! I figured I was past the point of being hurt, but that hurt. Some stupid woman who I didn't even want to call up. She gave me the brush. No, Ma, I don't wanna go to Stardust Ballroom because all that ever happened to me there was girls made me feel like I was a-a-a bug. I got feelings, you know. I-I had enough pain. No thanks, Ma!
- Mrs. Pilletti: Marty -
- Marty: No. I'm gonna stay home tonight and watch The Hit Parade.
- Mrs. Pilletti: (said with regret) You're gonna die without a son.
- Marty: So I'll die without a son.
- Mrs. Pilletti: Marty, put on the blue suit, huh?
- Marty: Blue suit, gray suit, I'm just a fat, little man. A fat ugly man.
- Mrs. Pilletti: You not ugly.
- Marty: I'm ugly, I'm ugly, I'm ugly!
- Mrs. Pilletti: Marty -
- Marty: (He rises, agitated) Ma, leave me alone. Ma, whaddaya want from me? Whaddaya want from me? I'm miserable enough as it is. All right, so I'll go to the Stardust Ballroom. I'll put on a blue suit, and I'll go. And you know what I'm gonna get for my trouble? Heartache. A big night of heartache.
- Marty: Don't worry about your sister. We'll get some cup of coffee and come right back. You teach chemistry. That's funny. What school?
- Clara: Benjamin Franklin High School.
- Marty: Benjamin Franklin, where's that? Brooklyn? I went to Theodore Roosevelt right up here on Fordham Road. It's right around the corner from my house. I have a cousin who's a teacher. He teaches Latin. He lives in Chicago. He was studying to be a Jesuit, but he gave it up after his first vows. I was pretty good in high school. I sound like a jerk now, but I was pretty good. I graduated with an eighty-two average. That ain't bad. I was accepted at City College. I filled out the application and everything, but my old man died, so I hadda go to work. My best class was German. That was my first language. Der, die, das -- des, der, des. There you are, I still remember...
(they walk on outside)
- Marty: You know what I was good at in high school? I was good in Math. You know how long ago I graduated high school? June, 1937. Holy cow! June, 1937! What is that? Fifteen, seventeen years ago! Holy cow! Seventeen years ago! Is that right? Seventeen, that's right. Where did it all go? I'm getting old. I'm gonna be thirty-five years old in November 8th. Thirty-five. Wow. Time goes on, boy.
(He takes her arm, and they start walking.)
- Marty: June, 1937... that's right. My old man died December, 1937. Two o'clock in the morning he died. The doorbell rings, and I knew something was wrong right away. Because my room is on the ground floor in the front, you see, and I got outta bed, and I answered the door... There was Mr. Stern. He had a house down about a block from us. He moved out though. My old man, he used to play cards with him and some other old guys. He's a Jewish feller. So he said, "Is your mother home?" So I knew right away there was something wrong. I was only 18, exactly 18 years old, just the month before. So I said, "Is something wrong, Mr. Stern?" I was in my pajamas, you know? So he said, "Marty, your father died." My father died right in the middle of playing cards, right at the table. He had a heart attack. He had low blood pressure, my old man. He used to faint a lot, you know.
(Suddenly he looks at Clara, rather startled.)
- Marty: Boy, am I talking. I never talked so much in all my life...Well, I'm gonna shut-up now and let you get a word in. Yeah, seventeen years ago. What have I been doing with myself all that time? Well, there I go again. I must be driving you crazy. Most of the time when I'm with a girl I can't find a word to say. Well, I'm gonna shut up now and let you get a word in...There I go again. I can't stop talkin'. I'm on a jag for Pete's sakes. You'd think I was loaded...I can't stop my mouth! Isn't this stupid? (He compliments her.) You got a real nice face, you know. Really a nice face.
- Clara: Thank you.
- It's the love story of an unsung hero!
- A wonderful guy . . . once you've met him, you'll never forget him!
- Ernest Borgnine - Marty Piletti
- Betsy Blair - Clara
- Esther Minciotti - Mrs. Piletti
- Augusta Ciolli - Aunt Catherine
- Joe Mantell - Angie
- Karen Steele - Virginia
- Jerry Paris - Tommy
- Frank Sutton - Ralph (uncredited)