The Vampire Blanche Part II

         Of all the actors in the films shown in this class, I should say that Vivien Leigh transformed herself the most effectively to her role as Blanche DuBois in Elia Kazan’s 1951 version of Tennessee Williams’ 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire. This is based solely on the notion that she was playing a vampire. Most of the scenes in the film support the idea that she is a vampire, such as the vast amount of scenes that she does in the dark.

        When she first arrives, it is nighttime. This continues throughout the entirety of the film. If she does appear during the day, she tends to stick to the shadows or wear clothing that covers the majority of her body. Darkness is there to show her nature and that the sun might very well burn her up. I personally do not believe that she would sparkle like Edward from Twilight. I think that she would burn to ashes like Claudia from The Interview with a Vampire, written by Ann Rice in 1973 and filmed by Neil Jordan in 1994.

        This brings me to my next topic. What kind of vampire would Blanche be? There are only a few popular variations to choose from. There are the stone-skinned, shiny vampires from Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series. These all tend to be romantic characters or characters of great selfishness. She would definitely not fall into the category of being romantic, so we have to look at the selfish vampires. For these types of vampires, some good examples are Victoria and possibly the female of the twins. Victoria is scorned because the loss of her mate. The twin is just generally mean. I think that she has a lot less of the twin in her, but the cries of Victoria’s character ring true. Blanche tells a similar tale of the loss of a young husband. In this, there are similarities but not dead on.

        Next there are the vampires from all the Ann Rice novels. In my opinion, these are much closer to Blanche’s archetype. Some vampires that I believe to be closer would have to be Lestat, Louis, and Armond. The vampire Claudia could also have some similarities, but they are opposite. Claudia wanted to get older, while Blanche wants to stay young. Lestate is a flamboyant vampire with an unquenchable thirst. Blanche seems to be a selfish vampire that would require a lot of blood to survive. When she says, “I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers,” I see this as a leeching type of personality much attributed to vampires. Louie has an eternal broodiness about him, which Blanche seems to have a slight case of. Armond shows a lot of sadness. If you can combine all of these attributes, then Blanche is starting to fill out as a vampire.

        The last common type of vampires that Blanche might be associated with would be the vampire from Vampire: The Masquerade. In this there are multiple clans or “species” of vampires. There are the artistic Tendor, the ugly Nosferatu, the leading Ventrue, the masculine Gangreal, the brutish Bruha, and the original Teravalde. The Tendor are very upper class and do like to get their hands dirty. Blanche would seem to have a lot to pull from them. This would also apply to the Venture. They are the natural born leaders and are very persuasive when they need to be. Blanche could be a half breed of of both if it were possible. The other clans, Blanche does not pull much from. There is, however, an odd clan that is rapidly going extinct. These are the Malkavians. These vampires are insane. Because of this, they tend to be people with severe mental and social problems then are turned to vampires. The flip side of them is that they can sometimes see truths that others cannot. Blanche can fall in with these vampires quite well.

        From these analyses, I should say that she is one third Tendor, one third Venture, and one third Malkavian. She would also have the personality of Victoria, Lestate, Louis, Claudia, and Armond.

        This brings me to my next topic of how she would act as a vampire. As stated before, she would be a heavy blood drinker. To get the amount of blood that she would need, she would probably uses some very specific skills to capture her bait. I think that her primary tool would be sex. With this she could lure in men of any walk of life. In the movie, she talks about how she would take young sailors in to have some fun. This would be a primary source of food. Military men could sustain her, but on occasion it would have to call for the random cheating husband or two. Brothels could be another place for her to turn to. Vivien Leigh makes all of this believable through the use of clever speaking and her southern accent.

        The next subject calls for the discrepancies found if she would have been a vampire. She did go out in the sunlight at least once in the story. During this, she would have been extremely wounded or killed by it. Towards the end of the film her love interest does research on her and finds out that she is not who she says that she is. If she were a vampire, then she would not have let him do research; and, even if he had, a vampire would have no past. The largest discrepancy is that Blanche is living with her sister. Most vampires leave their families to never come back. In this way Stella (Kim Hunter in the movie) would have been the vampire and not Blanche, but that is a different story. At the end, Blanche is supposedly raped; but, if she were a vampire, she could easily have taken Stanley (Marlon Brando in the film) down.

        My first section will be about Blanche’s life as a vampire. Her unlife would have begun a few years after she had lost her young love. At this point, she would have been slumming around, just trying to get someone to notice her. One evening at the bar, someone did. This dark stranger would have swept Blanche off her feet and held her in his dark embrace. When she would awake the next morning, the stranger would have been gone. She would be alone again. But in a few days afterwards, things would start to change as the poison would creep though her veins. She would become weak in the light and more attracted to darkness. Within a month, she would be something different, something more. She would be slow in figuring out what she had become. The impulse to kill would be her teacher, and the blood would be her lessons. A thousand lessons she would learn. Every night, however, her loneliness would stay the same, unchanged. Many nights she would sit upon rooftops, watching couples pass on the ground below. In these times her only companion would be the darkness, the light, her only enemy. Days would pass to weeks, weeks to months, months to years, and years to decades. All would pass and be reborn before she would find her love. This lover, however, would be a secret. He would eventually learn of her. He would enjoy her company. He would enjoy everything until he found out who she was. Then he would leave, like all the rest. Blanche would then be scorned. She would hunt him down and kill him like all the others, except this time, instead of hiding the corpse, she would prop him up at the water’s edge with her by his side. They would sit quietly the rest of the night and then watch the sun rise.

        The entire story of Stella and Stanley would have to be taken out, but Vivien Leigh would still be the person to cast this role in if it were to be made into a film.

Levi Jones