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Blanche DuBois, a high school English teacher with an aristocratic background from Auriol, Mississippi, decides to move to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski, in New Orleans after creditors take over the family property, Belle Reve. Blanche has also decided to take a break from teaching as she states the situation has frayed her nerves. Knowing nothing about Stanley or the Kowalskis' lives, Blanche is shocked to find that they live in a cramped and run down ground floor apartment - which she proceeds to beautify by putting shades over the open light bulbs to soften the lighting - and that Stanley is not the gentleman that she is used to in men. As such, Blanche and Stanley have an antagonistic relationship from the start. Blanche finds that Stanley's hyper-masculinity, which often displays itself in physical outbursts, is common, coarse and vulgar, being common which in turn is what attracted Stella to him. Beyond finding Blanche's delicate ... Written by
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #47 Greatest Movie of All Time. See more »
The window after Stanley throws the radio through it. 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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"I've Always Depended On The Kindness Of Strangers."
When the history of American theater is written for the 20th Century the two most prominent names will be Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams. Both men pushed the exploration of the human soul to the very limit in their work. Writing drama will never be the same because of the work of these two men.
Williams's masterpiece is A Streetcar Named Desire which ran over 860 performances in three years. When Warner Brothers bought the film rights, they did the highly unusual thing of bringing almost the entire Broadway cast over. That included Marlon Brando for whom this was his second film. Brando was not a movie name yet and the decision was made to recast the female lead with Vivien Leigh instead of Jessica Tandy who played Blanche Dubois on Broadway.
In doing so this gave Vivien Leigh the very unique position of having played opposite the two men who are held up as male acting icons for the last century, Marlon Brando and Leigh's husband at the time Laurence Olivier. Certainly Blanche Dubois was unlike anything she ever did opposite Olivier.
In fact Blanche is opposite that other southern belle that Leigh got her first Oscar for, Scarlett O'Hara. Scarlett may come on like a spoiled brat at first, but she turns out to be made of some real stern stuff when the chips are down.
Blanche Dubois however retreats into her own fantasies when trouble brews. She's left the plantation home in a small Mississippi town where she doubles as an English teacher and comes to live with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski.
Brando is Kowalski and for years impressionists did him by yelling from the pit of their abdomens, "STELLA, STELLA." That is until The Godfather and then they stuffed their cheeks and said how one day a favor would be asked in return.
But impressionists only make a living because of the impressions made by the players. On Broadway and Hollywood, Stanley Kowalski made Marlon Brando a superstar and an icon for a couple of generations. Kowalski as done by Brando is a force of nature, primeval impulses that bubble to the surface in all of us sometimes.
Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski and Karl Malden as Mitch Mitchell also won Oscars in the Supporting categories to go with Leigh's. Hunter is a torn women fighting both suspicions about her husband and her sister. The real reason why Blanche has come to live with them and the affect her silly flirtations are having on her husband and their marriage.
Malden as Mitchell starts out as passive and as nice as Jim Connor, the gentleman caller from that other Tennessee Williams masterpiece, A Glass Menagerie. But he proves to be something less than meets the eye in his dealings with Leigh.
A Streetcar Named Desire won all kinds of Awards, the three acting Oscars, one for Elia Kazan as Best Director and a whole bunch of technical ones. But An American In Paris won for Best Picture and Hollywood decided young Brando could wait for his and they gave it that year to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen.
This film is still the best adaption to the screen of a Tennessee Williams play and is an absolute must to see.
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