Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

Director:

Elia Kazan

Writers:

Tennessee Williams (screen play), Oscar Saul (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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2,230 ( 1,499)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vivien Leigh ... Blanche DuBois
Marlon Brando ... Stanley Kowalski
Kim Hunter ... Stella Kowalski
Karl Malden ... Mitch
Rudy Bond ... Steve
Nick Dennis ... Pablo
Peg Hillias Peg Hillias ... Eunice
Wright King ... A Collector
Richard Garrick ... A Doctor
Ann Dere Ann Dere ... The Matron
Edna Thomas Edna Thomas ... The Mexican Woman
Mickey Kuhn ... A Sailor
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...When she got there she met the brute Stan, and the side of New Orleans she hardly knew existed. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At a test screening, Elia Kazan and producer Charlie Feldman received a shock: the audience laughed at Blanche DuBois. Ever observant of his actors, Elia Kazan discovered that the audience was laughing specifically at the scene when the Young Collector reacts to Blanche's bold and yearning way in which she reaches for him from her door. Kazan eliminated Wright King's reaction shots, which did the trick of quelling the unintended laughter. See more »

Goofs

When Stanley is about to give Blanche the birthday "gift" of a ticket back home Marlon Brando opens the wallet to discover that the envelope with the ticket it missing. There is a sharp edit and then the scene continues with the wallet missing from Stanley's hand and replaced with the envelope containing the ticket. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
A Sailor: Can I help you, ma'am?
Blanche: 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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Alternate Versions

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 »


Soundtracks

It's Only a Paper Moon
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg and Billy Rose
Sung by Vivien Leigh while doing her hair
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User Reviews

Superb writing that is matched by superb acting and incredibly atmospheric and charged direction
21 December 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Blanche Dubois arrives in the French Quarter of New Orleans suffering from a mental tiredness brought on by a series of financial problems that have ended in the family losing their plantation. She has come to stay with her sister, Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski in their serviceable little apartment. The aggressive and animalistic Stanley immediately marks himself as the opposite of the feminine and refined Blanche and Stella finds herself pulled between the two of them. Stanley suspects all is not as it seems and begins to pry into Blanche's colourful past, even as Blanche spots a way out in the arms of the Mitch, a man captivated by her. However it doesn't take long before the cracks begin to show in the relationships and in Blanche herself.

It almost goes without saying that the writing here is of top-notch quality. The story is a relatively simple character piece that can be summed up in a couple of sentences, however this would do a great injustice to the depth of development and the convincing manner in which the characters are all written and the story told. It is not so much the depth that some of the characters go to, but the complexity that is effortlessly written into them – we can see it writ large on them, but not to the point where it seems obvious or uninteresting. Blanche is of course the focus and she is a mess of neurosis barely hidden behind a front of respectability that clearly doesn't convince her anymore than it does Stanley. Mitch is also really well written – at first it is comic that he tries to be such a gentleman while having the brute just under the surface, but later his frustration is heavy on his face along with his anger. The overall story is surprisingly, well, "seedy" is the best word that comes to mind. It is in the gutter and no matter what Blanche wants to believe, that is where it stays and the film is right there the whole time.

How Kazan managed it in the early fifties is beyond me, because even now the film is pretty graphic in its violence to women, subject matter and rippling sexuality across pictures and characters. It is a compelling story due to the characters and the manner in which they are delivered – Kazan's atmospheric direction really helps; the films feels humid and close, and he has done it all with a basic set and a camera. The lighting throughout is wonderful both in the general atmosphere but also specific touches such as the way Blanche manages to visibly age due to lighting changes when the film has slight chances of tone.

Of course the main reason I keep coming back to this wonderful film is the actors, who take the opportunity and, in many cases, make it so that it is hard to see anyone else playing their roles. Leigh is perfect for the role and gets everything absolutely spot on; she is vulnerable yet self-seeking, confident yet needy, proper yet unstable. Even visually Leigh is convincing in terms of body language but also the fact that she looks the right mix of ages, looking beautiful one moment but worn and defeated the next – totally, totally deserved her Oscar. Brando made his name here and even now his performance is electrifying and memorable. He has his big scenes where he gets to play to the back row but he also has moments where he does nothing other than be a presence on screen; no matter what is going on we are watching him because we are as in awe and yet as afraid of his power as Blanche is herself. Together Leigh and Brando dominate the screen and whenever either of them are on screen it is hard to look away. As a result, Kim Hunter sort of gets lost in the background although her performance is still good. Karl Madden is great but again only holds a supporting role and deserved his Oscar for a convincing performance of a well-written character. Of course it is easier to give good performances with great material than with bad material but there have been enough versions of this play around for us to see how lesser actors can fail where this cast soared.

Overall this is a great film that sees so many critical aspects all coming together as one final product. A superb play has undergone a great adaptation that has been seized upon a great cast who deliver a collection of performances that deserve all the praise heaped on them, all directed with a real sense of atmosphere that really delivers a seedy and erotic film both for its time and today. I cannot think of an excuse for people not having seen this film.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

1 December 1951 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

A Streetcar Named Desire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,523
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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