A Vegetarian Movie

         Subtle differences can make or break a movie that is being adapted from a play. The mishandling, addition, or absence of one scene can deceive the audience about a character. Despite the overall greatness of the 1951 movie A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan (adapted from Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, appropriately named A Streetcar Named Desire, the absence of one scene affects one's perception of the character Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando on screen and stage). This particular scene is the first one. Stanley walks up to his wife, Stella (Kim Hunter on screen and stage), and heaves a package of meat at her, thereby establishing himself as the man's man and hunter that he is.

         Were the censors that opposed to raw meat on the screen? I could understand if the characters had actually slaughtered the animals while the audience watched, but I do not think that one package of raw meat will ruin any children. Maybe the censors were not opposed to the scene. If not, however, why would Tennessee Williams choose to leave it out? If it was important enough to put in the play, and I believe it was, he should have left it in the screenplay. By having Stanley come home with the meat, Williams establishes him as the "hunter": a real man's man, who brings home the bacon and takes care of his family. Furthermore, it establishes Stanley as the dominant one in their relationship. Stella even has to ask before she can walk down to the bowling alley and watch Stanley and his team bowl. Talk about whipped!

         In conclusion, while the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire was excellent, I believe there was one more scene that should have been put in. This scene was the opening one, which portrays Stella and Stanley, as we first see them and their relationship.

Rachel Jones

Table of Contents