Desired American Drama

         A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, meets most typical requirements for an entertaining American film today. In this 1951 film directed by Elia Kazan, there are marital conflicts involving violence, family (sister vs. sister) conflicts, social class conflicts, romance, and defiance. Films containing these characteristics are appealing to audiences because the audience understands many of the situations, the audience may have been in a similar situation, and/or watching people with multiple problems may help the audience cope with their own problems.

         There is a marital conflict between Stanley (Marlon Brando) and Stella (Kim Hunter). They both love each other; but Stella keeps the fact that Stanley is plain and average in the back of her mind, which leads her to occasionally patronize him. Also, Stanley becomes abusive, especially when he drinks; not only does he yell at Stella, but he hits her, ignoring the fact that she is carrying his child.

         Blanche (Vivien Leigh), Stella’s sister, holds a grudge against Stella for the fact that Stella had left Blanche behind to tend to the family estate. It can be assumed that Blanche has much insecurity due to the fact that she has been very promiscuous; she only wears clothing that looks expensive; she is always powdering her nose; and she keeps the lights dim so that no one notices her age. Blanche takes these insecurities out on Stella and tries to make herself feel better by putting Stella down for being married to an average man living plainly.

         There is an evident romance between Stanley and Stella. After their fight, it is implied that they resolve their differences in bed. There is another evident romance between Blanche and Mitch (Karl Malden). Blanche is flattered by Mitch but initially acts as though she is above him, which is later understood as a guarding tactic. Mitch is head over heals for Blanche, until things turn for the worst when he learns of her overly extensive experience with men. There is a romance of friction between Blanche and Stanley. She pours it on thick when she moves in with them. Then Stanley returns the attention through defiance. He commits adultery via rape with his wife’s beloved sister.

         This movie has the passion and drama that Americans desire. The heated arguments and insights of love keep the audience’s attention. The battles between Stanley, Stella, Blanche, and Mitch are perfect to entertain a drama-hungry audience.

Shannon Logan

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