The Actors That Make the Story

††††††††A Streetcar Named Desire, in its simplest form, is about lust for what one cannot normally have. Normally, we would not have such a great film adaptation of an original work, but with Streetcar, the adaptation is almost flawless.

††††††††I think Tennessee Williams wrote this play in 1947 to show a side of the Southern states that would rattle most conservatives. He captures the desire of life and the lust for companionship. He takes postwar New Orleans and captures it. When one reads the play, one feels as though one were in the middle of the bayou.

††††††††Elia Kazan took Williamsí play and brought it to the stage in 1947 and to the big screen in 1951. With Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, and Marlon Brando in tow, the film version of the play is one of the most faithful adaptations I have ever seen.

††††††††Kim Hunter, who plays Stella Kowalski, is the central character of this play and film. Life revolves around Stanley and Blancheís fight for her trust and desire. Hunterís portrayal of the torn Stella is amazing. In accordance with Williamsí intent, she brings to the screen a simple sadness, becomes Stella, and relates the best with the audience.

††††††††Blanche, portrayed by the normally beautiful Vivien Leigh, is a character on the verge of a mental breakdown in the beginning and is completely gone by the end. Leigh is able to take Blanche and slowly allow her to sink into insanity. She plays Blanche very well, almost exactly as I imagine the character while reading the play.

††††††††Marlon Brandoís Stanley is ingenious. He takes Williamsí character and goes beyond what one could ever imagine. He steals the show by becoming desirable to the audience. Even though he rapes Blanche and finally causes her to lose her mind, one cannot help but feel for him at the end of the film because he is able to turn a villainous character into a loving husband.

††††††††By choosing these three actors, Kazan was able to take Williamsí words and turn them into a cinematic masterpiece. With any other combination of actors, I do not think the film would have worked as well as it did.

Kimberly Marks

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