The Oscar Goes To…

      After reading the novels and plays in English 213, I definitely got a sense of who the characters were. I also had a certain image in my mind of what these characters looked like. The most important thing about these characters is how well these roles were depicted in the films.

      My initial Oscar would have to go to Marlon Brando for his role of Stanley in Elia Kazan's film A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). The magnitude of his character was exceptional in Tennessee Williams' 1947 play. Stanley did not strike me as an overweight unemployed abusive husband as so many similar characters are depicted. Stanley was the shrewd, egotistical husband who knew just how fair he could push everyone. Above all, Stanley was very handsome with that sought-after bad-boy attitude. Marlon Brando was the essence of all the characteristics Stanley possessed. Marlon Brando seemed to put everything he could into bringing Stanley to life on the screen. Marlon Brando's voice, appearance, body language, and facial expressions definitely fit the bill for Stanley.

      The second Oscar goes to Wendy Hiller for her role in the film Pygmalion (1938), which is based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play. Eliza Dodittle would be difficult character to portray. Eliza has a strong Cockney dialect, which would be undoubtedly difficult to decipher and recreate. Wendy Hiller did a wonderful job of recreating this dialect in Pygmalion. The time it must have taken her to develop this skill would have been great. Not only did Wendy Hiller pass the language barrier, but also she had the innocence and simplicity that Eliza Doolittle possessed.

      Overall, Marlon Brando and Wendy Hiller did excellent jobs of bringing their respective characters, Stanley Kowalski and Eliza Doolittle, on to the screen and into film history.

Jamie Steffy

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