More Relevant than Others

         Some movies and novels and plays are seemingly unchanged by the passing of time. They may have some of the technologies that have been antiquated, but the storyline can easily apply today. The characters and actions of others in the novel, play, or movie could apply to today's actions without much change. The best example of the storyline still being applicable today is A Streetcar Named Desire.

         A Streetcar Named Desire, directed in 1951 by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, s the most relevant today. Although it is also one of the most recent play and film from this semester, it appears to apply today. There are many reasons for this statement. First of all, the violence and conflict that are featured in the book/movie are very much still present in today's atmosphere. There are always people fighting with each other and having disagreements. This will not change anytime soon and more than likely will just get worse. In the book and movie, Stanley (Marlon Brando)and Blanche (Vivien Leigh) are always conflicting in one way or another, whether it is Blanche and her music on the radio or Stanley taking advantage of Blanche's sickened state and raping her. There will always be conflict.

         Another factor that will not change is the fact that marriages will never be perfect. Today the divorce rate is climbing higher than ever before, partly because of these conflicts over money, affairs, and other disagreements. In the book/movie, you suspect that Stella will leave Stanley after she finds out about the rape at the very end. She considers leaving him several times like when he hits her and many times after the poker game and he has been drinking. There will never be a marriage that requires no work, no compromise, and is absolutely easy.

         The other films that we read this semester were not as relevant as A Streetcar Named Desire. Wuthering Heights is the second most relevant literary work. In Brontë's 1847 book and in Wyler's 1939 movie, there is such anger and revenge. Also there is love for a special someone. There is also a very mixed-up love relationship between Edgar (David Niven), Cathy (Merle Oberon), and Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier). All those factors are still around today. The world is full of anger and revenge. People are constantly angry with one another and seeking revenge upon each other. The love that people have for one another is sometimes complicated by adding another person into the mix and creating a love triangle. The love can be expressed in marriage, out of marriage, as an affair, or many other ways. The world of today is still angry and loving but seemingly not at the same time.

         The Turn of the Screw/The Innocents was the first in the class of a horror book-movie combination. Henry James 1898 novella was very well written and was able to scare many after reading it or watching Jack Clayton's 1961 movie. Today though, the limits of scary have been pushed. Today it is not uncommon to see people be decapitated or brutally murdered. The things that were scary a few years ago are not as scary any more.

         Pygmalion, written in 1913 by George Bernard Shaw and filmed in 1938 by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard, is not as relevant as A Streetcar Named Desire. In a world where the classes are not as well defined as back in the 1800s and early 1900s, the story loses some of its power. In today's world there is not as much fight for the upper class and middle class. It is easy to traverse the social standings and become a middle- or upper-class person. In the 1800s, it was almost impossible to change classes. You were born into a class and unless you came across a lot of luck or hard work, the class you were born into was the one you died in.

         Times change and novels and plays do not always adjust to those changes. But in the case of A Streetcar Named Desire, the main points of the story seem to last and adapt well to the situation of today. The best movies and novels and plays will last even when the times have changed. That makes them great movies and novels and plays.

Ben Hocker

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