Trouble Near Bourbon Street

         To me, one of the things that makes for good television is drama. This is probably the reason why I am so hooked on reality television shows. Drama helps to keep the viewers tuned from week to week--not to mention the TV stations love these great ratings. Elia Kazan's 1951 cinematic version of Tennessee William's 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire had enough drama in it for a full week of reality television shows. I really enjoyed this movie a lot.

         Marlon Brando did a wonderful job playing Stanley Kowalski. It also did not hurt that Brando had his shirt off in several scenes of the movie. However, I did not like his character's attitude toward his wife, Stella (Kim Hunter), and her sister, Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh). The director of the movie picked such a handsome young man for the part, as he had already done so for the play and then gave him this mean personality. I was very disappointed in this.

         Evidently Stella and Stanley lived in a rough part of town in New Orleans. I noticed that a lot of the men in the movie were very physically and verbally abusive to their wives. It did not surprise me either to see that none of these women ever took up for themselves. They all crawled right back to their husbands just as Nora did with Torvald in Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House, and the two 1973 movies, directed by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively. As we have watched a lot of these movies throughout the semester, I have begun to realize the pattern that these women possess. As long as their husbands are happy, then they are happy too. If their husbands are not happy, then the wives need to do everything that they can to make things better.

         Stella started kissing up to Stanley a lot as the movie progressed. It seemed that she did not want to make Stanley mad for fear that he would take it out on Blanche. Another case might be that Stella was afraid that Stanley would leave her, especially since she was going to have a baby.

         I wanted both Blanche and Stella to be happy. Both of them were such nice women. Blanche did sell herself to men, which I did not approve of, although she had been suffering from a great deal of emotional stress due to the suicide of her young husband. But when she met Mitch (Karl Malden), I think that she wanted to change for him. I think that Blanche wanted to settle down and marry Mitch. They started out with such a great relationship, and then Stanley ruined it for her. I felt sorry for Blanche because toward the end of the movie she started to go crazy. Stanley never did anything to help the situation. He just continued being mean and verbally abusive toward Blanche.

         Likewise, Stella was a sweet woman who did not deserve to be treated the way Stanley treated her. He wanted to have a fun life with his "guy friends" and then leave Stella at home to cook, clean, and take care of the baby. There were a couple of different times that I got disappointed in Stella. She and Stanley would get in an argument, and he would hit her. Then after a few minutes Stella would look at him with this pathetic look on her face and run into his arms as if nothing ever happened. However, Stella finally got some sense knocked into her by the end of the movie. She left Stanley for good. I was happy that Stella finally got away from Stanley's abusive and hateful nature, which she had not done in the original play.

         Dramatic scenes are what kept me interested in this movie. I could never tell what was going to happen from one moment to the next. Tennessee Williams has my vote for a wonderful book and a wonderful remake of his book into a movie.

Katie Konrad

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