A Streetcar Named ‘Desire’ is one of my favourite books/plays/movies of all time. It made the jump from stage to screen effortlessly and worked just as well in both formats.
Originally written as a play by Tennesse Williams in 1947, it went on to earn acclaim and prizes the following year. It was adapted into a movie in 1951 and the main stars (Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter) were chosen from the Broadway stage version. Vivien Leigh was featured in the West End version before being chosen to star in the movie as well.
A Streetcar Named ‘Desire’ is a triumph and is one of the few stories I enjoy time and time again that doesn’t have a horror or comedy genre/ theme. It is incredibly dark in places with some of the themes of the movie including rape, suicide, mental health issues, and homosexuality — very advanced for its time. Of course, in the original movie version, some of these materials were censored but if you buy the DVD now, some content has been put back in.
What I like most about the movie, however, is that there are no fancy effects or any camera trickery. What makes this film so great is the sheer brilliance of the main actors in it. It must have been so emotional to film, and this really comes across in the way they all play their parts. For me, the most memorable scene is when Stanley (Brando) is screaming at his wife Stella (Hunter) following an argument — it is so animalistic and full of feeling. Also, you can’t really dislike a film where Brando is sweaty and sporting no more than a vest!
Are you a film buff who found this article interesting? Go ahead and check out other articles from the Appreciating Films series!