Driving Miss Crazy

         Though I have seen parts of Elia Kazan's 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the Tennessee Williams 1947 play of the same name, I saw it from start to finish only last week. I feel that Vivien Leigh did a fine job as Blanche DuBois, the helpless southern bell of the film. She was a little over the top; however that would seem typical of the type of personality Blanche had. I feel that Mitch (Karl Malden) helped push her over the edge, and Stanley (Marlon Brando) finished the job. In our panel discussion the possibility Stanley did not actually rape her was brought up. That had not occurred to me before, but it seemed Blanche was so far gone by the time that Stanley came home that she might have believed it happened.

         I was disappointed in the actions of Mitch. I understand why he would have been hurt and angry, but he went too far when he tried to force himself on her the way he did. That is what started her going over the edge. For Stanley to behave in such a manner might be expected, but for Mitch to behave that way was out of character.

         Even if the rape was only in Blanche's mind, the actions of Stanley were enough to push her completely over the edge. He may have only wanted to scare her, and he may also have been unaware of just how close to cracking she was, but he certainly wanted to hurt her in any way possible. His success may have been more than he had planned for.

         My personal opinion is that he did rape her. As for the mirror that was broken, it could have been repaired or even replaced. He had earlier had a radio repaired that he had thrown out the window in a drunken rage. Stanley had enough sense to clean things up and to replace a broken mirror.

         It did seem that Mitch was open to the possibility that Stanley had raped Blanche, but then he may have wanted to rid himself of the blame. I think his friendship with Stanley was over. As for Stella, I think she had to believe that Stanley was innocent. With no family to turn to for help, there was just nothing else she could do. She could count on Stanley later screaming for her as he always did. She would soon come slinking down the stairs into his waiting arms.

Deborah Black

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