Accurate Adaptation

     When film directors attempt to bring to the screen a classic novel or screenplay, they are usually faced with the complex job of maintaining the original idea of the theme of the original story and its characters, while still attempting to provide what most filmmakers attempt--an entertaining movie.

     After reading Tennessee Williams' brilliant 1947 screenplay, A Streetcar Named Desire, I decided to go to Blockbuster to pick up the movie, which was directed by Elia Kazan in 1951. I was ready to put the screenplay-to-film adaptation for A Streetcar Named Desire to test. And it came through. The film was just as good to watch as the screenplay was to read. I think Kazan did a wonderful job of showing the true feelings and personalities or the characters that Williams so very much displayed in the screenplay. As a result, I think Kazan provided a successful adaptation of Williams' original screenplay.

     In the film, Kazan successfully conveys the characters of Stanley and Stella Kowalski, played by Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter respectively. Brando, who portrays the rough, abusive-natured man who has some serious psychological issues, is very accurate is his representation as Kowalski. I think a good example of that is when the "guys" are playing the card game and Kowalski gets angry and starts beating up on Stella who is pregnant. He later then goes to try and sweeten up on her, and this cycle is repeated throughout the movie. Brando definitely brings Stanley's aggressive personality to life in his relationship with Blanche, Stella's school teacher turned hooker sister, played by Vivien Leigh.

     Stella's character, played by Hunter, was another role acted out very well. The screenplay has Stella as a distraught wife who does not favor the situation she is in with Stanley but deals with it. Hunter shows how Stella struggles between her love for both Blanche and Stanley; while she knows she cannot have both of them at the same time.

     Overall, Kazan has given a very accurate and entertaining adaptation of Williams' masterpiece screenplay.

Jason Kemp

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