Realistic Acting Is Hard Work

         There are many actresses and actors that are well known for realistic roles that they portray on screen. There are two actors that do an excellent job portraying characters. Marlon Brando, who played Stanley Kowalski in Elia Kazan's 1951 adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Audrey Hepburn, who portrayed Eliza Doolittle in George Cukor's 1964 version of My Fair Lady. Both films are adapted from famous plays. A Streetcar Named Desire is an original play by Tennessee Williams, which was written in 1947. My Fair Lady is adapted from the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw from 1913.

         Marlon Brando played Stanley in both the play and the movie A Streetcar Named Desire. I am sure that depicting this character took some adjusting and hard work in acting skills. Stanley's character is very rough, rude, and at times seems a bit uncivilized. He is very aggressive toward women and possesses little manners of a gentleman. We viewed a documentary on Elia Kazan in class that told us that Brando had to toughen up for this role on both the stage and screen. He had to train himself to behave in such a rotten manner on stage. It is not easy for someone to walk on a set and begin acting naturally when the character's role calls for showing aggression toward women and to yell and throw objects around. He had to train his mind to be in a mean man mentality. He was a very talented actor, so he was successful in training himself. Not all actors can do this. There were many foolish things that were expected of Brando such as acting like a drunken idiot sometimes. I think the film depicts Stanley's mental and physical abuse more accurately than the play on the page can do because in the film one can actually see what his behavior is.

         Eliza Doolittle's character was played by Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn was a natural actress and had a natural talent for the job. During the movie, Hepburn has to train herself multiple times. She first has to step out of her own mind set of being Audrey into playing the role of a very poor flower girl, Eliza. This had to be very hard work because Audrey Hepburn was a beautiful woman, and she was made up to be very rough and poor looking, almost uncivilized. We see this work in progress through her beauty being disguised and her voice being changed to talk with that horrible accent. The book does not do justice to what a horrible voice this character had and what Higgins must have gone through in teaching her to talk with a proper English accent. Audrey Hepburn did an excellent job with this horrible accent because her voice was nowhere near that horrible in real life. She also goes from being a flower girl to a beautiful young princess. This was probably an easier and more natural transition for Audrey. She is naturally poised and beautiful and refined. So the princess character was probably easier for her to act out. These two different changes ensure Audrey Hepburn's credentials. She is versatile just like Marlon Brando.

         It was a pleasure viewing these films and reading the written works. Stanley and Eliza are both powerful characters who require astounding talent of actors. Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn are two people who were perfect for their respective part. They both possessed a lot of talent, and that is what contributed to the success of these two films.

Rhiannon Mitchell

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