Hands Down for a Movie and Its Remake

        Hands down, A Streetcar Named Desire is a classic. Written in 1947 by Tennessee Williams, this play brought to life many elements of that time period, such as the liveliness of New Orleans, the superiority of a man, and the importance of a lady to giggle and powder her nose…no more what dirty deeds she had done. The proceeding 1951 film, directed by Elia Kazan, also was well liked, winning many Oscars, but probably did not have the same effect on the viewers that the play did on its audience. The play gave a story line that was both novel and reflective of the time period. The movie, however, was merely an adaptation of the play, glittering with the talents of Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. It is a good movie, no doubt, but predictable after having been played on stage after stage.

        If a remake of this play hit the screen today, the story line would be so worn and unrealistic of our time that only senior citizens would fill the theaters to remind themselves of their pasts. In order to fill the seats, Hollywood would have to create a script that had never been seen before. Due to historical shifts within the past sixty years, the movie should be very different from the play and original movie of A Streetcar Named Desire, through special effects, differencing environments, and overall outcomes.

        The special effects of our time should be used to create a shock effect in the audience, although a woman’s age and experience would have denounced her in 1940s, today an older, experienced woman can still be seen as attractive. If a gorgeous woman liked Vivien Leigh lived in 2009, her dating options would not have been limited, regardless of her age and sex life. We see that female characters, such as those in Sex and the City, might be over the hill; but their romantic lives are still at the peak. I should use special effects to make Blanche blatantly ugly. She would have a scar that covered half of her face, which would not be revealed to the audience until the end when Mitch demands to see her in the light. Later in the twentieth century, we saw the revolution of color, which brought movies to a whole new level. I should use the technology of colored film to reveal a multitude of emotions and conditions, such as the blushing on Blanche’s flustered face, the scarlet in Stanley’s angered expression, and the lurid gloominess of a dark night.

        In addition to the special effects, I should switch up the environments. After Hurricane Katrina, people do not identify New Orleans as the same populous, industrialized place. Instead of New Orleans, I should film the movie in Detroit, which is often viewed as a bleak cutthroat place. I should also incorporate flashbacks of Blanche’s and Stella’s childhoods in North Carolina instead of New Orleans. The beauty of North Carolina would contrast with the ugliness of Detroit. This would also give a viewer a perspective of the way Stella and Blanche grew from their childhoods and the way Blanches has adapted her refined, southern belle ways.

        I should also change the environment of the insane asylum. In the forties, the mentally ill and their institutions carried a stigma. Due to the evolving of mental health treatments, such as psychotherapy, and movements, such as the Era of Community Support in 1975, mental health treatment is more than the scary man in the black coat. For this reason, I should create a scene where Blanche is in inpatient therapy and depict the professionals there more so trying to incorporate her back into society rather than obsessively contain her. The movie would actually start off with Blanche at the institution shortly after being sent away, being very sick, and telling a therapist (Kevin Spacey) her experiences with Stella and Stanley in Detroit, while incorporating past memories of Belle Reve and experiences with her former husband. The ultimate dilemma would be her pregnancy from Stanley’s rape, which would not be revealed until the end of the movie, and would explain her sickness through her meetings with the therapist.

        Although the original A Streetcar Named Desire will always be a classic, movies made today must capture a viewer’s interest through unpredictability and sensitivity to the status quo.

Shauna Dillon

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