A Most Thought-Provoking Film

         I thought the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams’ 1947 play, was one of the most thought- provoking films we have seen all semester. The story line was interesting in itself, but furthermore, the film made the audience think about how much theater, as well as television, has evolved over the years. Some of the scenes in the movie are very strong, yet they do not reveal half as much as some of the movie scenes we see in today’s films.

         One of the strongest scenes in the movie is the rape scene. The rape, however, is never depicted on screen. The director simply led the audience to believe a rape had occurred, which I believe made the scene even stronger than it would have been had their been an actual depiction of a rape. In today’s films, the rape would have probably been one of the most graphic scenes in the movie; but in A Streetcar Named Desire, the director was able to make the scene just as strong without showing the actual rape. It was interesting to think about the rules and regulations that were implemented during that time period.

         In today’s films, directors are basically allowed to produce any kind of material they wish. That does not, however, make today’s movies any better than the movies of the past. Movies like A Streetcar Named Desire let viewers produce their own images of what they believe to be taking place during a particular scene. Older movies give viewers the freedom to imagine; to actually think about and understand what is happening in the film, rather than showing them every single detail. That was one thing I particularly enjoyed about Streetcar.

         I also enjoyed the setting of the film, because the viewer was able to understand a lot about the characters just by taking a moment to look at the home and the neighborhood they resided in. Each character was able to really thrive in the lower class, New Orleans setting even when Blanche (Vivien Leigh) was thrown into the mix. Plus, I thought the characters were appropriately cast because they all seemed to have very strong, distinct personalities, particularly Blanche and Stanley (Marlon Brando). All of these factors helped to make A Streetcar Named Desire a most memorable and provocative film.

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Autumn Boaz

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