Magnificent Marlon

         In the classic 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire,directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, Marlon Brando does a good job of playing his role as Stanley, Stella's husband. I am a huge fan of Marlon Brando, but I had never seen him play a role at such a young age. The one famous role I picture him playing is in Mario Puzo's 1972 The Godfather. To see him as a young actor in an old film gave me greater appreciation for his work. He portrays similar characteristics in A Streetcar Named Desire as he does in The Godfather. Certain characteristics include simple things such as the way he talks, his facial expressions, and portrayal of his character in the movie. In both films, he does a great job portraying his character to the extent that the viewers believe that they are watching real life play itself out on screen versus seeing an actor just play a role.

         One of our assignments taken from this film asked us to list any five reasons why Stella in the play A Streetcar Named Desire should or should not have gone back to Stanley. I like this question because it forced me to look at issues both pro and con in any ratio. On one hand Stanley's character is one of a very crude individual who always seems to be yelling or arguing with Stella (Kim Hunter on screen). He is a person who is at times out of control and goes on drunken rampages, breaking stuff around the house and yelling. However, on the other hand, he is the only person that sees right through Blanche's (Vivien Leigh in the film) lies and deception. He is smart enough to realize that she is a fraud and that almost everything she has said is a lie. Even the way she carries herself as an individual throughout the film is highly exaggerated.

         Marlon Brando does a great job of capturing Stanley's character. His strong voice, scenes of yelling, drinking, and carrying on with his friends was depicted perfectly. The book just does not give the role of Stanley the justice that Brando does on the screen. There is just something about seeing it on screen versus reading it in a book that makes the story that much more enjoyable for the viewer.

Vincent Lucido

Table of Contents