Before seeing the film A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, I did not know much about Marlon Brando, who plays Stanley Kowalski in the 1951 film, directed by Elia Kazan. Marlon Brando has a distinct voice and way of speaking, which was hard for me to understand at first. His sex appeal, mumbled words and intense personality sparked my interest. Apparently these three things are just how Brando is; a good friend of Brando's, Frank Sinatra, gave him the nickname Mr. Mumbles.

         After doing some research on Brando, I found he has always been quite the troublemaker; in the film he was intense and not afraid to fight with his wife, Stella Kowalski, depicted by Kim Hunter. It was always his way or the highway, not only in A Streetcar Named Desire, but in his off-screen life as well.

         The part Brando played in A Streetcar Named Desire was an exact portrayal of Brando's personality, as was the role of Blanche, acted by Vivien Leigh. Leigh suffered from bipolar disorder off-screen as did her character Blanche, who was eventually destroyed by Stanley.

         Hollywood had a hard time dealing with Brando's bad boy attitude, which started as a young child partly because his mother had neglected him and his siblings. In high school Brando took a bottle of hair tonic into class and wrote a shocking word on the wall with it. When the room was full Brando set the stream on fire to let everyone see his masterpiece.

         Hollywood has always had trouble trying to figure Brando out and what the public likes so much about him. Many women say it is his good looks or bad boy attitude that makes him desirable; but Elia Kazan said, "Nonsense, it's just simply that he is the best actor in the world today."

Brandy Couleas

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