In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam. Cal is frustrated at ... See full summary »
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the restless years following World War Two, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is the story of Blanche DuBois, a fragile and neurotic woman on a ... See full summary »
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? Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Vivien Leigh initially felt completely at sea when she joined the tight New York cast in rehearsals. Director Elia Kazan was able to exploit her feelings of alienation and disorientation to enrich her performance. See more »
When Mitch embraces Blanche, she puts her arm around his shoulders, which changes between shots, either her left one or her right one. See more »
Can I help you, ma'am?
Why, they told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemetery and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields.
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Now that this filmization of "Streetcar" is over a half century old, it can be looked at in a more objective manner than that of the early fifties. The "classical/traditional" acting style of Vivien Leigh, which was placed in stark contrast to the rest of the production personnel, continues to hold its own brilliantly.
It's probably hard today for some to imagine the strong opposition Leigh's casting faced back in 1950, when this prim actress from England was chosen (mostly by studio chief Jack Warner) over "method" Broadway actress Jessica Tandy.
A goodly number of cast and production people from the hit play directed by Elia Kazan were engaged by the director for the film version, and they were not at all enthusiastic about risking a "clash" of acting styles in the leading, pivotal role of Blanche. Kazan himself was reportedly very pro-Tandy, and quite disappointed in the studio's decision.
Yet, Warner and his staff felt Tandy wasn't that well known to the general movie going public--especially in contrast to Leigh, whose marquee name was by then almost magical. In recent interviews, Kazan admitted that working with Vivien was "a real challenge."
In looking at the film today, however, it's Leigh who emerges as a genuine "star" of this production. True, her facial expressions, vocal inflections and body gestures may be the result of careful, deliberate planning, but so what? It's also the aspect that commands attention and draws the viewer to her portion of the screen throughout this film.
Her southern accent, so well learned and retained from her work as Scarlett in "GWTW," is convincing and very beautiful to hear. It also fits Blanche perfectly, as does Leigh's stylized "choreography," which was undoubtedly retained from her long-running London stage performance.
Not all the combined, formidable talents of "method" giants as Karl Malden, Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando or Kazan can diminish the hypnotic work of Leigh here. It may not have excited "Gadge" Kazan, but it remains a highlight performance in film history (and impressed the Academy enough to bestow an "Oscar" to Vivien.)
It also didn't hurt to have Alex North's pungent score, which remains this composer's finest hour.
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