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
The movie's line, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," was voted as the #75 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100). See more »
When Stanley and his friend bring Blanche's trunk into the apartment, Stella hides behind a curtain because she is not yet dressed and wearing her slip. Yet as soon as Blanche asks her to retrieve her "blue net," she loses her modesty and walks freely in front of the same guy she had just hidden herself from. 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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Kazan was forced to cut several seconds from the scene where Stanley calls Stella down from Eunice's apartment, particularly the shots of Stella lingering at the top of the stairs and regarding her husband with a look of pure lust on her face before slowly making her way down and meeting him in a passionate embrace. Instead, several prints had Stella shadowed, opening the door to exit the apartment, and following with a shot of her already halfway down the steps. The music cue was also different: the raw, sultry jazz score was replaced with a more flowery romantic one. Both the full scene and the original music cue were restored in the "director's cut" DVD. See more »
Varsouviana Polka/Warsaw Polka
By Anna Slezakova See more »
Blanche DuBois reminds me of Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. (1950). Both characters succumb to their alter egos, and descend into their own worlds of fantasy and half-truths.
In "A Streetcar Named Desire", Blanche travels from her antebellum roots in Mississippi to New Orleans, to see her sister Stella. But, upon arriving in the Big Easy, Blanche must confront Stella's husband Stanley, a greasy, poker-playing neanderthal lout who knows a thing or two about reality. It's the clash between Blanche's stately delusions and Stanley's gritty realism that soups up the drama in this Tennessee Williams play, converted to film classic by director Elia Kazan.
The drama is absorbing. But the performances of Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, as Stanley and Blanche, are what make the film the cinematic powerhouse that it is. Excellent B&W lighting and jazzy background music amplify the seedy, sleazy atmosphere, which adds depth and texture to the story and the acting. And, of course, the claustrophobic, steamy French Quarter makes a perfect setting.
As one would expect for a film derived from a play, "A Streetcar Named Desire" is very talky. Generally, I don't care for films burdened with a ten thousand page script. But this talk-fest is an exception. Overwhelming what I would otherwise consider a weakness, the acting of Brando and Leigh alone are enough to justify a two hour investment, and render an enjoyable and memorable cinematic experience.
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