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Not-so-arty ‘Marty’ back after 50 years

Blair intros Cannes Classics special unspooling of restored print

Bookmakers and survey hounds can flail in the dark about which competition pic will win 2005’s Golden Palm, but the jury has been in for 50 years on 1955 winner “Marty.”

Betsy Blair, who starred opposite Ernest Borgnine, introduced a Cannes Classics special screening of a restored print Friday night.

In fluent French, Blair recounted how “Everyone in Europe — and especially in Cannes — was thrilled to see a modest little Hollywood film about ordinary, normal Americans. This wasn’t Ava Gardner — it was a school teacher and a butcher.”

Blair’s fellow jurors on the Un Certain Regard jury — including jury prez Alexander Payne — were all on hand to cheer her on Thierry Fremaux, gushing with pleasure, greeted the audience with his description of the Classics sidebar as “a show away from the Barnum atmosphere of the Croisette.” As Mr. Barnum himself would have recognized, a sucker may be born every minute, but films such as “Marty,” that stand the test of timewith their humor and grace intact, are a far rarer commodity.