A Streetcar Named Desire:
A Fusion of Two Arts

         “Hey Stella! Hey Stella!” The raspy voice shouted. Almost inaudible it shrieked these four words and cinema was forever changed.

         There was something to Marlon Brando. Maybe he had an innate charm, or maybe it was his muscular physique. Whatever it was Hollywood loved him. In fact Humphrey Bogart said, “I came to Hollywood with only one suit and people called me a bum. Brando came wearing a sweatshirt, and everyone loved him.” That love, which was also shared by audience members, helped make Brando a very influential character on cinema history.

         Cinema is a relatively new art, which got its start roughly around the late 20’s or early 30’s. Since its birth cinema, undoubtedly so, has gone through many transformations adding to its essence. One such addition was Brando’s use of characterization. Theatre had been doing it for years; it seemed that cinema had tried it at points before; but Brando’s appearance in the scene (no pun intended) made a profound effect on acting.

         Theatre got its start pre-America, maybe even pre-Greece. We are not sure. But through time it had gone through many transformations as well. It is only fitting that theatre and cinema would bleed onto one another. Both arts being so closely related, they should push one another and affect one another.

         Ironically enough A Streetcar Named Desire was actually a play (1947) before it was a movie (1951, both versions directed by Elia Kazan. Brando even played Stanley on Broadway. But since this movie its legacy has made it not only acceptable but also very commonplace to create characters, use strange dialect, and feel for the lines. Practices theatre had for centuries now graced the big screen, and with that whole new doors have opened up. “Hey Stella! Hey Stella!” may not have changed all film, but it certainly introduced a large audience with something fresh. That freshness is what keeps this art interesting.

A. J. Casey

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