Cinematography and Music in A Streetcar Named Desire

        The cinematography by Harry Stradling and music by Alex North in the 1951 Elia Kazan version of Tennessee Williams’ 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire were wonderful.

        The harsh and grainy shots of the outside of Stella (Kim Hunter) and Stanley’s (Marlon Brando) apartment building made the whole atmosphere feel dirty. I think that, if it were in color, it would nothave been so effective. The shots of the rooms getting smaller as the movie went on were a very nice effect. The close ups of Blanche Vivien Leigh) when everything was falling apart for her were definitely an integral part of the film. The walls getting smaller and the close ups of Blanche getting more haggard and tragic were perfect for getting a person watching the movie pulled into the story. It makes a person watching the movie feel empathy for the characters.

        The music in this movie also makes the person watching have certain feelings at certain parts in the movie. The jazz that filters up from the bars below Stanley and Stella’s apartment made me feel as though I were in New Orleans. New Orleans is synonymous with jazz music.

        In any movie or TV show that I have seen portraying New Orleans, jazz music has been used or to. I also thought that the music used when Blanche “heard” it in her mind was also effective in seemingly telling the audience that she was falling apart. The shot was a great sound effect to make a conclusion for Blanche’s “spells” that she would have when she would get upset.

        The wonderful cinematography and music helped make A Streetcar Named Desire a most desirable film.

Samantha Andersson

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