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Plot: Blanche is in real need of a protector at this stage in her life when circumstances lead her into paying a visit to her younger sister Stella in New Orleans. She doesn't understand how Stella, who is expecting her first child, could have picked a husband so lacking in refinement. Stanley Kowalski's buddies come over to the house to play cards and one of them, Mitch, finds Blanche attractive until Stanley tells him about what kind of a woman Blanche really is. What will happen when Stella goes to the hospital to have her baby and just Blanche and her brother-in-law are in the house? Runtime: 122 mins Release Date: 30 Nov 1951
Vivien Leigh Gives One of Cinema's Greatest Performances (by Mayesgwtw39)
Tennessee Williams himself wrote of Vivien Leigh"s performance in "Streetcar Named Desire": "She brought everything I intended to the role and even much more than I had dared dream of".Brando is wonderful as Stanley Kowalski, but the new viewers to the film seem to come away with the haunting greatness of Vivien Leigh in what is one of the most harrowing and shattering pieces of acting ever committed to film.Although some have expressed regret that Jessica Tandy did not repeat her stage performance, it is probably good to note that her husband Hume Cronyn and Elia <more>
Kazan the director of the film and play both never felt that Tandy quite got the character right. If you listen to the radio performance of extracted scenes that Tandy gave on the occasion of the Pulitzer Prize award, it will reenforce the perfection of Leigh's inflections and innate understanding of the role. This inner and complete understanding is what Brando praises Leigh for in his autobiography. He agrees that she plays this Hamlet of female roles better than anyone because he felt she was quite like the character...sadly.If anyone is interested in great acting check out "Streetcar" for Vivien Leigh's Academy Award winning performance. The supporting cast is outstanding from Kim Hunter and Karl Malden both Oscar winners for the film to, of course, the iconographic T-shirt-torn Brando.
I had put off watching this video for sometime. I was afraid that I might be disappointed in this classic. Instead I was drawn into this marvelous film with its great Tennesse Williams' script.Williams doesn't let any of his characters off. Brando's Stanley is a boorish, bullying, loudmouth. But he also possesses an extraordinary physical sexuality and also seems to be more than a little bit of a victim himself. Life has not been smooth for Stanley. No silver spoon here. Both his wife and sister-in-law put him down as a crude "Polack" and other variations on that theme. <more>
Not that there isn't some obvious truth to their put downs. However, truly nice people as opposed to "nice" people do not engage in such speech. There's also the table scene where Stanley is eating chicken and receives a harsh verbal reprimand from Stella. Whereupon he sees the tactics of class shame being used and he proceeds to blow up in a very physical and blue collar fashion. Stanley sexually assaults Blanche at he end of the film. Blanche was already hearing voices by this time in the film, and this act of aggression pushes her over the edge. Brando's performance was really superb.Hunter's Stella is by far the most likeable character of the major 3 players. She's honest, kind, sexy, and very much in love with Stanley--despite his obvious faults. The depiction of the physical love and lust between Stanley and Stella is classic. She also loves her sister and wants what's best for her. She and Blanche collude to some extent against Stanley which provides much of the film's strongest tensions. Stella is financially and sexually/emotionally dependent on Stanley, but she's also a strong character in her own right. We don't really know for sure if she'll go back to Stanley at the end of the film after the baby and the sexual aggression against Blanche. We do know that Stanley for all his macho swagger is extremely emotionally dependent on her.Vivien Leigh's character was a revelation. I thought the most brilliant moments in the film were towards the end when her character was speaking. I didn't really think Leigh's accent was all that great, but hey, when you can act like that who cares? Blanche is a victim, but Blanche is anything but innocent. She was having sex with one of her high school English lit students back in Mississippi. Naturally, the small town locals did not take a shine to such behavior. Also, she was more than just a bit on the promiscuous side for a high school teacher in mid-century small town America. It's not surprising that she got chased out of her small town teaching job. There's also the touching scene where she asks for and gets a kiss from the boy who is collecting for the newspaper. It's all tied in to her love for the boy who killed himself over her when she was 16. She said some very cruel words to him about being weak which led to the boy's suicide. She's not an innocent--by any means. The sexual attraction between Stanley and her is noticeable in a number of scenes. And yet for all her pretentiousness, lies, and putting on airs, the audience is drawn to her. Her fading beauty, vulnerability, and weakness can hardly help but elicit a sympathetic response. Blanche is the human condition writ large. In some respects there is some of Blanche in all of us: hidden ugliness from the past, both emotional and sexual neediness, and just plain old human weakness. I think Leigh's performance was really brilliant. And thank God for Tennnessee Williams and his ability to portray people more as we are than as we would like to be.I do agree with at least one of the previous viewers that the term "nymphomaniac" seems somewhat out-of-date in describing Blanche. Blanche uses sex in a promiscuous fashion to escape from her loneliness. I think this is the same pathology that both men and women engage in when having "casual--such a strange contradiction in terms--sex". I certainly don't think that Williams saw her as either a "nympho" or a "slut". Rather, just a lonely, tortured individual.
Sexy, Brutal, and Endlessly Fascinating (by Rathko)
There is little to be said about this movie that thousands of critics have not stated already. It is a magnificent piece of cinema, with an intricate script delivered by actors at the peak of their talents. Leigh is unbearably brittle and fragile and she dances precariously on the edge of sanity. Marlon Brando embodies a sense of brooding masculinity that other men can only dream of attaining, while creating an enduring cinema icon and delivering one of the all-time great movie lines. From the raucous jazz score to the sleazy production design bathed in smoldering grey, 'Streetcar' is <more>
a class-act from beginning to end; sexy, brutal, and endlessly fascinating.
"Streetcar" is screen perfection, from the script to the actors who are flawless without exception. Marlon Brando illuminates the screen with his presence, his sensuality leaps off the screen, this has to be one of the finest performances ever captured on film. He has an illuminosity similar to Marilyn Monroe, an incredible "light" to his performance. In contrast, Vivien Leigh, twelve years after GWTW, has a fadedness to her beauty, she shrinks into the shadows around her, hiding from the light. An outstanding performance - more so when we consider her luminous presence in <more>
GWTW. What an actress! Marlon basks in full view, flexing his muscles, stripping off his t-shirts. Marlon deserved an Oscar for this - it should have been a draw between himself and Humphrey Bogart who won it that year. Marlon wrote the book on "method acting". He is the definitive Stanley. This was made in the years of heavy censorship and I saw both the cut and the uncut version. Apparently some of the cuts were forever lost, more is the shame. The homosexuality of Blanche's first husband is only obliquely referred to. However, the hungry sexuality between Stanley and Stella is now restored. There is a raw scene of her coming down the stairs in response to his screaming for her that exposes the incredible primitive sexuality that exists between them. Stanley's torture and exposure of Blanche is terrifying in its relentlessness and her final scene is heartbreaking. There is no other option for Blanche and Stella has to live forever with her collusion in her downfall. 9 out of 10. A must see.
Spoilers herein.The vast majority of films use someone else's vocabulary, so when you can run across one that helped create that vocabulary it is cause for celebration. Usually the originality is in the vision of the filmmaker, but here it is in the manner of acting, indeed what an actor is.Brando changed the nature of society's mind with this. Changed even how actors move in your dreams. Think of it.To this point, actors existed in as many as two worlds: playing the character in their world; and working on the stage to exaggerate in such a way that the audience was affected. But the <more>
character's world was always viewed from the `outside' of the stage. The `method' changed that.In the method, you literally become the character. The two dimensions and the center of gravity are changed. That center is now placed not on the stage but in the character's world. In other worlds, the play is not set in your mind, rather you are transported to an artificial world outside your mind. Film alone has the power to do this repeatedly now, so in a very real sense film starts right here.So the two dimensions are now: watching the character in his world, and watching the actor manage the transformation. Brando is pure, at least from here to `Godfather.' But he opened the door for actors to annotate their management of the transformation, with messages to the audience. Usually those are of an ironic form because it is easy. Sometimes -- as with Sean Penn -- the real power of the performance is all the extra metadialog that gets overlain on the base of the character.Leigh tried the transformative bit, and it eventually drove her mad.
Hard to watch for some, but exceptional in its depiction of horribly screwed up people! (by MartinHafer)
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is not a film you love because it makes you feel good or because of some sweet message! No, you instead watch and admire the film and perhaps love it due to its brave depiction of seemingly real people--real but severely screwed up people. In fact, considering how screwed up they are and plot, I am shocked the film got made in 1951! After all, this is a very adult film and NOT one for kids.Blanche DuBois is an incredibly deluded and annoying woman. She lives in a world that is the way she wants it to be--not how it really is. In her screwed up existence, she is a <more>
"lady"--a person of refinement and gentility--even though she is from the lowest strata of society and you would assume survives by selling herself to men. While she says she gets by due to "the kindness of strangers", only a lunkhead back in 1951 wouldn't have known this meant she was a kept woman or street walker. Regardless, by the time the film begins, she's down on her luck. Due to the ravages of age and an annoying personality, she is without a home or support and is forced to move in with her sister, Stella Kim Hunter and her neanderthal husband, Stanley Marlon Brando . However, over time, her genteel faded belle routine wears very, very thin--and apparently gives Stanley the justification in his own mind to rape her and teach her a lesson now THAT'S sick . The trouble is, Blanche has lived and talked so much about her dreamworld that now no one believes she was raped. The film ends with the sister and brother-in-law having her institutionalized! This was a very abbreviated summary, but as you can tell, this is NOT a "feel good movie". But, it sure has some amazing performances and characters. I loved Vivian Leigh as Blanche--she was perfectly suited to play this sad, faded belle. Perhaps Leigh's own personal struggles with Bipolar Disorder helped her to get in touch with the character.The rest of the cast were really good, but I am about to say something that will no doubt irritate many...so hold on tight. As for Marlon Brando and his much lauded performance, while much of what he did was very good, his standing in the rain and yelling "STELLLLLA" is one of the most iconic and annoying things about the film. To me, this is a prime example of overacting, while many feel this is transcendent. Unlike the other performances, his seemed to be, at times, overdone. Okay, hit the "not helpful" button now.Still, I really am glad I saw this difficult movie--difficult to watch though thoroughly fascinating from start to finish. I nearly gave the movie a 10, but only reserve this for truly perfect films. Imagine, then, the surprise that "An American in Paris" beat out this film along with "A Place in the sun--"The African Queen" and "Ace in the Hole didn't even get nominated in the category for Best Picture! What were they thinking?!
A Streetcar Named Desire is a film of sheer quality. (by dj_xand325)
A Streetcar named Desire is a thorough and faithful adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play. Despite 1951 being the height of cinematic censorship, this film escapes achieving all of the effects the original play wanted to achieve.The performances were bold and excellent. Marlon Brando will always be considered as one of the greatest actors of all time. He plays the primitive brute, Stanley Kowalski. His performance was amazing to watch; hes cold, clumsy yet has an odd emotional side that occasionally seeps out. There is no doubt Brando deserved an Oscar for the performance and this should <more>
be considered as one of his greatest performances next to Godfather. Vivien Leigh also pulled off a stunning performance as the nervy and unstable Blanche DuBois. Her Oscar was very well deserved.Elia Kazan implemented some cunning direction in the film. The lighting was also greatly-executed. It was always very shadowy and dark, much like the decaying streets of New Orleans.A Streetcar named Desire achieves on all levels; its whimsical, tense, chilling and questioning whilst having 2 of the greatest performances ever achieved.Sheer Quality 8.2/10
An intelligent and honest portrayal of faulty human nature (by nostromo999)
This film is not just about class in a society but the world at large and the deeper prejudices that produce them. Stanley is a brute that is staunchly prejudiced against what he perceives as privileged or sensitive as he feels degraded.This on the surface seems understandable but the real truth doesn't let him off the hook so easily. His character flaw and immorality is played out as he wishes to degrade and punish what is innocent in order to satisfy his jealousy or contempt. The tragedy begins as what he percieves as wrong in Blanche is not blanche at all but a selfish society. Blanche <more>
is a tragic victim but is not altogether innocent herself but what she is struggling to save in herself actually and poignantly is. What is powerfully brought to life on this surface interplay is not what is really going on. Blanche points out that "intentional cruelty" is unforgivable. For all her mistakes, she realizes in the end she really wanted sensitivity in an insensitive world. Stanley is a tragic figure in the sense he is too morally weak and embraces brutality and in the end intentionally. The real tragedy that is showcased so brilliantly is the punishment and scapegoating of the innocent and true piece of the soul in a world of competing and irrational egos and selfishness at the expense of what is truly of value humanity and ultimately willing to sacrifice and do the unthinkable to ourselves and others.
I think this movie must have really be something when it came out back in 1951. However, watching it for the first time recently, I was rather unimpressed and slightly disappointed. I can see how, compared to most of the other films at the time, the realism and top notch acting must have been a blast of fresh air and rather revolutionary.But 50 years and hundreds of great movies later, this movie strikes me as rather dated. The story and characters are interesting, but not engrossing enough to make this a true classic.