Stanley’s Sexual Rage

         The 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, has many interesting points that one could argue about all day long. The one major point I am going to focus on is the question of whether Stanley (Marlon Brando) raped Blanche (Vivien Leigh). I understand that this was described more in the play, but it was edited in the film. The first response to this by most people is it was due to censorship that this scene must have been cut. But if this were the case, I believe the director would have made some sort of attempt to better describe this in the movie. Also, there is evidence that the argument and struggle never really took place.

         If one argues that the rape scene was left out due to censorship, then my question is why was the act not brought up in dialogue? Especially in the time in which this movie was produced, directors were finding loopholes to get dialogue and even scenes that would normally be considered inappropriate into their films. If the rape really happened, it would be an important aspect of the movie. Since there were no signs of the rape in either scenes or dialogue, I believe that it did not happen. I believe the reason why most of the audience members look past this fact is because of their familiar background with the plot from the play. However, the movie differs much from the play. I believe this is one of the major ways that the movie differs form the play, but most of the public just looked past it.

         The other major argument I have on this subject is the fact that Blanche was more than half nuts in the first place. By the end of the movie, Stanley and Stella (Kim Hunter) had to send her off to a mental ward for treatment. She had ideas floating through her head about a luxurious cruise she was going to attend with an old beau, ideas which were figments of her imagination. I believe the argument and struggle between her and Stanley was also a figment of her imagination that was played out in a scene. Many scenes in numerous films show hallucinations as apparently real acts. This scene was no different. The easiest way to defend this is to look at the mirror that was broken and the mess that was made in the apparent struggle. When Stella got home from the hospital, there was no mess, nor was the mirror broken. Given Stanley's behavior in the rest of the film, it is doubtful he would fix the mirror, let alone clean up the mess that was made.

         Therefore, I believe the rape by Stanley was all in Blanche's messed-up head.

Aaron Mosier

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