Blanche’s Last Chance

         Blanche's move to Stella's was her last chance at having the life she wanted. In Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan, she (Vivien Leigh), earned a bad reputation in her town, and that seems to be the same reason why she got fired from her teaching position. She also lost their estate Belle Reve and had nowhere else to go. There was nothing left for her in her town, so she went to Stella's (Kim Hunter) to start over. Stanley is the only thing that ruins her chance for a new life.

         Blanche started out fine, making friends and going out with Stella. Stanley (Marlon Brando) instantly hated her, though. She constantly talked down to Stella and Stanley about their living conditions and made it known to Stanley that she thought that she was better than he. The first move Stanley made to show his dislike occurred when he goes through her trunk of clothes, throwing her nice clothes all around. He made sure to tell Stella that he did not think Blanche had really lost Belle Reve and that what is Stella's is really his.

         Stanley's poker buddy Mitch (Karl Malden) was the key to Blanche's new life. She even planned how she would act around him to get him to like her. When he showed her his engraved cigarette case it was obvious that he was the gullible, dorky type. This was perfect for Blanche, who was looking for someone to believe her and put up with her.

         It was getting hard for Blanche to see her new life, but she had Mitch. and that kept her going. It was not until her birthday party that she seemed to go crazy. Stanley, Stella, and Blanche were sitting around a table with a birthday cake on it. Mitch's seat was empty because Stanley had told him about Blanche's former life. When Mitch came by later on and told her she was not good enough to marry, her dreams for a new life became too unreal for her. This is the point in the movie when Blanche had lost her chance at starting over. Blanche started talking about an ex-boyfriend, Shep Huntleigh, who was taking her on a cruise. She dressed up in eccentric dresses and acted crazy.

         One key scene on Blanche's road to a new life was largely left out of the movie. When Stella was in the hospital, awaiting the birth of her baby, Stanley wanted to show Blanche who had the control in the house, and he raped her. In the movie, there is a scene with her wanting to get out the door and Stanley not letting her by, thus foreshadowing the inevitable rape, which was barely suggested in the film.

         When Stanley and Stella sent her to a mental hospital, her chance at even living a semi-normal life was over. If it had not been for Stanley, Blanche would have married Mitch and been able to start over in a new place.

Jessica Critchlow

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