Streetcar Moves in the Right Direction

        As I watched the movie, A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, I could not help but think how this movie would be created in today's time. A panel discussion that I served on help me put some extra thought into my wonder. Stanley Kowalski is played by the hunky Marlon Brando. He is a very violent and stubborn husband to Stella Kowalski, played by Kim Hunter. She is pregnant during the story. Her sister, Blanche DuBois, depicted by Vivien Leigh, accompanies her and Stanley when she shows up and needs a place to stay. The drama begins immediately as their apartment gets a little bit smaller each day with the addition of Blanche. There are a few scenes that I think would be different in today's movies. However, I do not think that scenes such as this would have to be included to give viewers the storyline's point; this is why this Streetcar moves in the right direction.

        The first scene that I think would be very different is the one where Stanley gets drunk during a poker game and picks a fight with Stella, after which she runs upstairs to escape him. Later, responding to bellowing mating call of "Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah," she slinks down the stairs of the apartment to make amends while looking at him with a very desirable expression on her face. The scene ends where he takes picks her up over his shoulder and takes her away. In today's movies this scene would be taken to the next level with a more violent fight scene and a steamy sex scene between Stanley and Stella. However, I do not think that this would really improve upon the original scene, which gets its point across quite effectively.

        Another scene that directors of today would create differently is the scene between Blanche and Stanley when he rapes her. The movie shows the climax as Stanley chases her through the house, throwing debris along the way, and then finally grabbing her as the mirror behind her head breaks. The sound of glass crashing to the ground ends this scene. I think that most viewers would not know that he raped her unless they had read the book. In today's movies, this scene would probably be very graphic, as it would show the wrath of Stanley as he rapes the vulnerable Blanche in full view of the audience.

        These scenes from the movie, A Streetcar Named Desire, are just two of the many that directors could remake today with more violence, sex and evidence of a rape scene. This seems to be what movie goers want to watch, so I guess this is why they include all of this in almost every movie we watch now days. However, I do not think that sex and violence have to be included to get the point of the storyline across, so this is why this Streetcar moves in the right direction.

Beth Ann Dunavant

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