Brando Spurs Desire In the Hearts of Streetcar's Fans

     Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire was adapted to the big screen in 1951. Director Eliz Kazan successfully cast the characters as Williams had in mind as he was writing the play. Kazan's achievements were paid off by the number of awards the picture was nominated and awarded.

     Kazan's greatest casting accomplishment in this production was casting Marlan Brando as Stanley for many reasons. Williams intended Stanley to be the stereotypical "bad boy." Stanley was every girls' fathers' worst nightmare. Full of testosterone, he respected no one more than his bowling ball, deck of cards and his liquor. He was rugged and just oozed with sexuality. Williams wanted him to be in the rawest form possible.

     Brando fulfilled everything Williams had imagined. In his sweat-stained wife-beater shirt, he fit the stereotypical Polish husband who was more interested in his bowling game than in his wife. Brando added more to the role than what other actors during the time period. With his bulging biceps and washboard stomach, he made every woman in the audience swoon. It was no wonder Blanche, played by Vivien Leigh, could not resist this rough, beast of a man.

     Hollywood has a history of adding sex to movies to make make it a box office hit. Williams had the sexual component present; Hollywood just elaborated on it. The end result was a hit. The movie was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor (Brando); Best Screenplay; and Best Cinematography. Academy Awards include Best Actress (Leigh); Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden); Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter); Best Art Direction B/W (Richard Day). Other awards include New York Film Critics Awards Best Picture; the National Board of Review Awards Ten Best List; and Number 5 on the Best Selling Movie List for Year 1951.

Denise Higgins

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