Indican Pictures acquired North American rights back in August to the late Ernest Borgnine’s final film The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vicente Fernández, which will be released in LA on December 7. The date provides an awards-qualification behind Borgnine’s final performance; the Oscar-winner died in July at age 95. Elia Petridis wrote and directed the pic, about a stubborn man who becomes the hero of his nursing home upon leading the Latino staff in a revolt against the tyrannical owner. Barry Corbin, Carla Ortiz, Dale Dickey and Tony Plana co-star.
In his final film, The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vincente Fernandez, Ernest Borgnine played a guy described as “Rex Page” – an old man bitter about never becoming famous and having lived a life without any meaning. Well, Borgnine was really acting in that one because, despite all the odds, he became a Hollywood star in the era of the pretty boy actor. And his life obviously had a lot of meaning, especially to the fans mourning his passing today at the robust age of 95. Judging by so many of the roles he played, somehow I thought the guy was indestructible. He was truly a rock in his rolling stone of a profession.
If ever there was an unconventional leading man it was Borgnine, although I never thought of him really as a leading man. He was, first and foremost, a character actor. As believable as the tough guy of his breakthrough role of Sgt. ‘Fatso’ Judson in 1953′s Best Picture Oscar winner From Here To Eternity as he was in his own Oscar-winning starring role of Marty Piletti, the lonely butcher in Marty just two years later. That was the film he would be most strongly associated with the rest of his life. He also won the British Academy Award, National Board of Review and New York Film Critics awards for the role. Despite competition from his own Bad Day At Black Rock co-star Spencer Tracy, his Eternity co-star Frank Sinatra, James Cagney, and a posthumous nod for James Dean, Borgnine was the unlikely shoo-in for the Oscar in 1955. Academy Awards show host Jerry Lewis even bet Borgnine $1.98 he would win - and Ernie, as everyone called him, paid Lewis with 198 pennies he had stuffed into one of his daughter’s red socks just as he passed the show host on his way up the stairs of the Pantages Theatre to accept his Oscar.
Related: R.I.P. Ernest Borgnine
Marty was a movie that was actually adapted from television’s Playhouse 90 (starring Rod Steiger) and it won hearts around the world. To this day Marty remains the only winner of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival to go on and repeat that feat by winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And for Borgnine who until his death earlier today was our longest living Best Actor winner, that statuette meant a lot. He kept it on his mantlepiece 56 years and always made a point of saying how proud he was to win it. Sometimes the Oscar Gods smile down on an actor and a certain role. That was definitely the case here. For Borgnine it was his one and only Oscar nomination but he hit it out of the park on the first try.
Oscar-winner and Emmy-nominated movie and TV unconventional leading man and esrtwhile character actor Ernest Borgnine, who was known for playing villains and nice guys alike, died today. His longtime spokesman, Harry Flynn, told The Associated Press that …
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