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.
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
Vivien Leigh had already played Blanche in the first London production of the play, under the direction of her then-husband, Laurence Olivier. She later said that Olivier's direction of that production influenced her performance in the film more than Elia Kazan's direction of the film did. See more »
When Stanley comes back from taking Stella to the hospital, he is looking for a bottle opener. He finds it on the mantelpiece, shakes up a bottle of beer, and opens it. The beer foams up and spills on his trousers. But if you watch at the moment when he swings himself up to sit on the table - before he opens the bottle - you can see that the front of his trousers are already wet. Apparently they re-shot it without him changing into dry trousers. 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 »
Vivien Leigh Gives One of Cinema's Greatest Performances
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 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.
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