Written by the astute Paddy Chayefsky (Network, The Hospital), this 1955 film about two regular, lonely people whose lives are suddenly brightened when they fall in love swept the Academy Awards, earning wins for Best Picture, Director and Actor—the meat and potato-faced Ernest Borgnine. As the films’ unlikely romantic lead, Borgnine was the perfect hero for Chayefsky’s “kitchen sink realism” style that focused on the struggles of the human condition instead of extraordinary or exaggerated plot, and this simple tale of an overweight butcher with a dead-end life turning his world around for a plain and humble schoolteacher (Betsy Blair) is a triumph of the human spirit.

Tue., Dec. 20; Mon., Dec. 26; Thu., Dec. 29, 2011

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