If I were to teach an English class on film and literature, I would definitely include A Streetcar Named Desire. There are three reasons why I would make this choice. First, this play and movie interpretation have a powerfully real story. Second, the characters created by the author, Tennessee Williams, are relatable to real life. Thirdly, the actors perfectly portrayed these characters.
Williams wrote this play in 1947. For the time period in which this book was written and filmed by Tennessee Williams, in 1951, it exposes a raw and rough life style. Williams wrote a story about sex, alcoholism, abuse, pregnancy, and rape. All these themes are quite common now but were shocking for the 1940s. These were topics that were not too often talked about, much less written about and later shown. The raw reality of this story is undeniable and would keep the attention and intrigue of audiences.
Another reason why I would have Streetcar on the course content list is the characters. Williams created wonderful three-dimensional characters. All of the people he created are complex and twisted in their own unique ways. None of these characters is carved out of cream cheese, and that keeps the audience interest. A person keeps reading (or watching) to see that is going to be next. These characters are relatable to real life because they are not perfect individuals, living a fairy-tale life.
Finally, I would want to use Williams' play because of the movie version. This movie version was made in 1951 by Elia Kazan. Kazan did a tremendous job of bringing this play to life on the big screen. The actors that Kazan picked to portray these characters are irreplaceable and unforgettable.
Kazan chose Kim Hunter to play Stella Kowalski. Hunter was a good choice not only because of her talent but also because of her looks. Hunter was not the typical 1940s Hollywood glamour actress. She had a plain, yet cute side to her.
Kazan did, however pick a glamorous Hollywood-beauty type to play Blanche. Vivien Leigh was chosen for the role, and the aging former star was a perfect match. Again, as with Hunter, Leigh's physique was an excellent depiction. An aging, naturally pretty woman, with some mental issues, is Blanche's character and Leigh's in real life.
The last actor that I believe was a perfect match was Marlon Brando. This young, strapping man was chosen to play Stanley Kowalski, the devishly handsome and volatile husband to Stella. Brando had the amazing ability to expose on screen and then in the next scene be completely quiet and sheepish almost. To top off Brando's complete match to Stanley was his body. A huge theme in this play is desire and sexuality and the effect it has on people. No one else could have pulled off this reaction than a young Brando with his shirt off.
In my opinion, the work done by Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan was masterful. The story was dramatically complex and filled with complicated persons. Finally these people were brought to life and immortalized by a gifted and interesting group of actors. The story told in A Streetcar Named Desire is a relatable and timeless one.