The Cinematic Bastardization of Stanley

     The 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams, was adapted into a screen version in 1951, directed by Elia Kazan. Many of the great scholars in the legendary Faculty Hall 208 found themselves quite amazed by the film's accuracy when portraying the characters. All in all, the characters' lines were indistinguishable from the play. However, as I watched the film, I found myself stirred with mixed emotions. Sure the lines were the same, but the characters just seemed different.

     For example, during the play, I wanted Stanley to overcome Blanche's feeling of superiority. Now, after viewing the film, I viewed Stanley as an impetuous bastard. I guess the actions of Stanley (Marlon Brando) really contributed to this feeling. Mr. Brando really did an exceptional job of portraying the Stanley character. Before the film, I viewed Stanley as a typical hardworking male simply wanting to be the head of his household. But, once again the film painted him as a drunken ass trying to bully everyone, especially his wife (Kim Hunter).

     Despite these differences I found amongst the Stanley character, I did still find an obvious similarity. This similarity is in the Blanche (Vivien Leigh) character. The similarities, in my opinion, are the way she is portrayed as a slut. The film really made me view Blanche as a devious whore.

     Now, after much contemplating, I would have to choose the play over the film. The simple fact is I hate to see Stanley look so bad. Everyone knows sister-in-laws can be a real pain in the ass. But, at the same time, it is very difficult to defend someone who beats his wife. If it were not for this character flaw, I would be one hundred percent pro-Stanley.

Erin Eagleson

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