A Streetcar Named Desire: Tragedy or Comedy?

         The 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire, by director Elia Kazan is phenomenal. Kazan created a tragic tone, but with some comedic components in the film. This is partly due to the magnificent cast of actors he put together. The actor and actress that impressed me the most from Kazan's cast were Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski and Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois.

         The incredible actor Marlon Brando brought an interesting element to the film that displayed his character's crude intelligence with a comedic flow. This is evident in Scene Eight after Stanley's ragging outburst at the dinner table; he asks Stella and Blanche "You want me to clear your places?" Stella and Blanche both quickly return with gestures, signifying a no answer.

         Consequently, this plays into Vivien Leigh's character's tragic circumstance. Leigh's portrayal of the borderline insane Blanche Dubois got increasingly better as the film came to an end. Leigh's ability to depict Blanche's helpless desperate manner was fabulous. A manner which is most evident at the end of the film in Scene Eleven, when Blanche, holding the doctor's arm, says, "Whoever you are--I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

         The complete effectiveness of the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, by director Elia Kazam is superb. The film contained excellent acting, art direction, and cinematography. I would recommend anyone with interest in film to see it.

Josh Siljander

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