Remaking a Classic: Tragedy in Film Making

        As more and more classic films are digitally remastered, we begin to look at other films and pick out the scenes we would change. After watching Elia Kazan’s 1951 adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, I wondered what alterations would benefit this film classic. Normally I find myself being quite supportive of digital remastering, within limits of course.

        I grew up with color and almost flawless sound quality. I find that black and white films are boring, and the scarcity of sexual and verbal content makes the story lacking. This is not to say, however, that I do not like old movies; there are many that I do like. However, with this film, I really began to appreciate the qualities I had once hated. I found that in this movie, the lack of color sets the mood of the story. It is sexy and yet dismal. The softness of the visuals brings out the depth of the story. Too much change would take away from the beauty of this film.

        The only thing I could think of changing would be the rape scene or, rather, the lack of one. And I really think it would help to provide more clues as to what really happens since it is such a major event in the play. Graphic sex would take away from the subtlety of the story, but more clues would help to explain the story better.

        Other than that, I would not change a thing. I do, however, think a modern adaptation would be interesting to see. I would definitely be curious to see a contemporary director put his or her spin on this famous story.

         Even the scene where Stella (Kim Hunter) stands at the top of the apartment looking down at Stanley (Marlon Brando) is very sexy to me. Not a word is spoken, and yet the audience can sense so much passion. The black and white in this scene also adds much to the mood of the scene.

        The entire film really gives me a respect for “the classics” and helps me see why they are considered classics. As far as digitally remastering this film goes, I would not. A Streetcar Named Desire is a model of fine film making and is now on my own personal list of favorites.

Kristin Meschler

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