A Most Desirable Streetcar Named Desire

         Of all the films that I watched this semester, the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed in 1951 by Elia Kazan, was the one I enjoyed the most. I think that the successful adaptation of Tennessee Williams' film, along with proper casting, is what made it my favorite.

         While reading Williams' 1947 play, I got a sense of who the characters were. I pictured what they should look like. I pictured their mannerisms and heard their voices. Many times I am disappointed after going to see a film version of a book that I have already read. Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire did not disappoint. Stanley was young Marlon Brando. Viven Leigh was Blanche. The film was one of the few book adoptions that were, in my mind, perfectly cast.

         Not only was the casting great, but the acting was superb. I think Brando gave one of his greatest performances in this film. It is really a shame that he did not win the Oscar for this role. However, Viven Leigh, Kim Hunter, as Stella, and Karl Malden, as Mitch, all three got the Oscar nod that year.

         Leigh did an excellent job as Blanche DuBois. I thought it was interesting that she was bipolar and rather sick during the filming of this picture. Perhaps this made her role easier to play. Maybe future directors should follow suit and cast ill actors in ill roles. It might make their jobs a bit easier.

         I at first had somewhat of a problem I had with the content of the film as well as the play. Rape is a very strong subject, and is difficult to see it portrayed on screen no matter how much a director is forced to tone it down. However, after reflecting on it a bit, I think it was done as well and as tactfully as such an offensive act can possibly be. The viewer gets the sense and feels the gravity of what is happening with nothing more than great acting and a broken mirror. I also think that the humor that was injected elsewhere through the movie help balance the rape somewhat.

         A Streetcar Named Desire is the best film of not only ENG 213 this semester but also of all time. I would definitely watch it again and would recommend it to anyone mature enough to appreciate it.

Adam Hlava

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