A Streetcar Named Desire

0
0
Subscribe to Vivien Leigh alerts

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st December 1951

Box Office Worldwide: $8M

Budget: $1.8M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Fresh: 52 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Charles K. Feldman

Starring: Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois, Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski, Karl Malden as Harold Mitchell, Rudy Bond as Steve, Nick Dennis as Pablo Gonzales, Peg Hillias as Eunice, Wright King as A Collector, Richard Garrick as A Doctor, Ann Dere as The Matron, Edna Thomas as The Mexican Woman, Mickey Kuhn as A Sailor

A Streetcar Named Desire Movie Review


Stella! Stella!

Oh, Stella. What have you gotten yourself into, marrying a drunken boor and living in a squalid flat in New Orleans?

A Streetcar Named Desire is one of those Hollywood archetypes that many movies end up getting compared to, fairly or unfairly. Streetcar, as it's commonly known even among the relatively culturally ignorant, is a film that isn't like the usual Hollywood fare. For starters, it's a movie about relationships. Most of it takes place in a decrepit apartment in a city that's been falling apart for a century. None of its characters are particularly likeable. One, the infamous Stanley Kowalksy, as embodied by Marlon Brando, is downright awful.

It's into this home that the well-meaning Blanche (Vivien Leigh) comes to visit her naive sister Stella (Kim Hunter), who's pregnant and living with Stanley, a brute of a husband who likes to drink, play cards, and, apparently, scream a lot. At first Blanche seems like a refined southern lady, but soon we discover there's something not quite right with her. She's a bit crazy, suffering from that classic "nervous exhaustion," and soon we realize she's a disgraced teacher, run out of her home town for seducing a student.

Yow. While Blanche finds solace in the arms of friendly yet misguided Mitch (Karl Malden), she tangles repeatedly with Stanley over just about every subject imaginable but primarily relating to her kid sister. Will Blanche end up with Mitch or will this house of cards collapse?

Brando is of course the reason to see this movie. His performance here defined his career more than any other, even The Godfather, for his chest beating and throat warbling and, for lack of a better term, searing line delivery. There's no subtlety here, and his method inspired a generation of followers, from Pacino to Nicholson, actors that don't so much say their lines as spit them out in contempt for everyone around them, including the audience. It's an effect that has decayed over time, 50 years now, to the point where anyone seeing a typical Sean Penn performance can't help but feel he's aping Brando, and not very well.

But there's the original, a rough-hewn and bawdy film that must have felt nothing short of insane to audiences back in 1951. Men screaming in the streets? A pedophile heroine? (In all fairness, some of the harsher material had been lost to censorship in the original cut, but various director's cuts have restored it, making the film even more controversial.) This is a film about passion, and the movie positively oozes it.

And yet many of Streetcar's defining features make it less than perfect, especially today. The brazen performance by Brando overpowers everyone else, almost shamelessly. Director Elia Kazan clearly had no handle on the man (as many directors have complained), and just cut him loose. The film retains too much of its play-like demeanor, too, and it's on the repetitious side. We know too well where the film is headed, and the getting there doesn't create so much a sense of anticipation as it does distress.

But maybe that's what we're supposed to feel all along. You decide.

The new DVD features commentary by Malden and a film historian, a documentary about Kazan, outtakes, Brando's screen test, and five making-of featurettes and retrospectives.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Vivien Leigh alerts

Comments

A Streetcar Named Desire Rating

" Excellent "

Advertisement

More Vivien Leigh

Entourage Trailer

After making a name for themselves in Hollywood, Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends from Queens have finally made a movie. The only problem...

Bastille - Things We Lost In The Fire [Live] Video

Live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta, Bastille perform 'Things We Lost In The Fire', the final single from their debut album...

Bastille - Oblivion [Live] Video

Bastille perform their single 'Oblivion' live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta. The track followed Platinum hit 'Of The Night' and featured...

HAERTS - Interview Video

Brooklyn band Haerts released their self-titled debut album this year, and here they talk about how they first got into music, their lifelong friendship and...

Advertisement

Mark Ronson - Daffodils ft. Kevin Parker [Audio] Video

Mark Ronson will finally unveil his fourth album 'Uptown Special' on January 26th 2015 through his new label deal with Sony Music. He has teamed...

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin [Live] Video

Meghan Trainor performs her latest single 'Lips Are Movin' at one of her favourite places in the world: an aquarium. The song features, alongside smash...

HAERTS - Be The One [Live] Video

Haerts perform an intimate live rendition of their song 'Be The One', taken from their self-titled debut album released in October 2014 through Columbia Records....

ScHoolboy Q - Hell Of A Night Video

ScHoolboy Q released his first number one with third album 'Oxymoron', and he now unveils the video to its latest single 'Hell Of A Night'...

Advertisement