A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – Elia Kazan

Tennessee Williams’ classic tale comes to the big screen in this 1951 adaptation that is my next stop in DK Canada’s The Movie Book.

Now, lets be clear, I’ve never been a fan of Marlon Brando, not ever, he just kind of annoys me, and has his career progressed his lack of professionalism just became greater and greater.

And he seems perfectly tailored for the brutish Stanley Kowalski.

Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) arrives in New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter) and Stanley. Blanche is a little more refined than her sister, and is used to more men of a gentle nature than Stanley, and their relationship is aggressive, antagonistic, and verges on the violent – she’s never met a man like Stanley, and there is a weird attraction between the two.

Blanche’s world is crumbling down around her, and neither, Stella nor Stanley are helping the situation. The trio, living in a confined space that Blanche tries to spruce up find themselves caught up in one another’s drama, lives, lies, and loves as they butt heads, rile against one another, and suffer bitterness at the hands of one another.


Blanche is shocked by the behaviour of Stanley, and stunned that Stella stays with him. She in turn is doing her best to keep her past secret from her sister and Stanley and is romancing the gentler, Mitch (Karl Malden).

The brutish nature of Stanley’s behaviour keeps the film and audience on edge, as the nature of humanity is explored through the group and their interactions with one another.

Kindness of strangers, brutality at the hands of loved ones, and secrets we keep.

Honestly, I know people love this film, and the play. I know that there are moments that are iconic, and often imitated (and mocked), but honestly, this one didn’t do it for me. I think the onus of that falls squarely at Brando’s feet. I just don’t care for his performance.

I know they aren’t all going to be winners, but I.m a little troubled that a film that is though so highly of, from an equally well-regarded play, could disappoint me so much, fail to engage me, provoke or entertain me.

Admittedly they can’t all be winners, but I will say that I’m glad I can say I saw it, I can check that one off the list, and continue my exploration of the exemplary The Movie Book from DK Books.

What did you think of it? Am I wrong? Watch it tonight, or pick up The Movie Book and find a classic to watch tonight!




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