The Paddy Wagon

by Randy Fuller Mar 18, 2022

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, we come up with bottles to go with three movies written by Paddy Chayefsky.

The Hospital got Chayefsky another Oscar, for Best Original Screenplay.  The 1971 satire stars George C. Scott as a doctor who is torn between a woman – Diana Rigg, who can blame him? – and his crumbling institution.  Chayefsky takes a scalpel to the American health care system decades before it becomes a moral imperative.

There is a hospital in France’s Alsace region which prescribes wine for your ailments.  Why didn’t we think of that?  Let’s get a Bordeaux, from Château de l’Hospital.  It’s mostly Cab Franc and Cab Sauv, with a touch of Malbec for what ails ya.  Don’t let it bother you that the winery is located in a place called Graves… à votre santé!

1955’s Marty was taken from a television play which Chayefsky had written two years earlier. The effort won the film an Oscar and a Palme d’Or, one of only three movies to grab them both. Nice going for a kid from the Bronx.

There weren’t any major changes to the script from small screen to big, but casting replaced Rod Steiger with Ernest Borgnine as Marty, reportedly after Steiger demanded a three-picture deal to repeat the role. Every now and then, I try to imagine Steiger as Marty instead of Borgnine, and it just doesn’t work. In fact, all the actors in the film, every last one, were just perfect in their roles.

Chayefsky gave Borgnine a script that the actor played the hell out of, a heartbreaking performance of a guy who thinks he’s just a “fat, ugly man” who is not good enough to deserve the love of the girl on whom he is crushing. Chayefsky, he’s okay, but, “boy, that Mickey Spillane, boy, he could write.”

Portland Wine Company makes a red wine called Marty, although the label image will remind you more of the Elephant Man than the Borgnine role. At least it’s fairly cheap.

In 1964, The Americanization of Emily brought James Garner and Julie Andrews together in Chayefsky’s anti-war statement – which came at a time when American anti-war statements were not considered en vogue. Both actors remembered the film as their personal favorite in which they acted.

Americanization refers to the practice, in WWII London, of trading sexual favor for hard-to-get commodities.  Andrews wonders if she is behaving like a whore, and Garner assures her that “whoring is a peacetime activity.”  The movie is chock-full of smart writing like that, a specialty of the house at Chez Chayefsky.

Let’s make it special, a night to remember.  No, not Lowenbrau, but a sparkling wine from the British Isles.  The PR firm who decided that those wines should be called “British Fizz,” by the way, should be sacked.  Hambledon Premiere Cuvée Brut will cost you about 50 pounds the next time you drop in to Fortnum and Mason.

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