The Laurel Wreath Award: A Streetcar Named Desire

         I think the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan in 1951 and based on Tennessee Williams’ 1947 play, should be awarded the laurel wreath for best adaptation. The movie not only captures the essence of Williams’ play; it also effectively employs settings, costumes, and characters.

         When Tennessee Williams wrote Streetcar, I think he wanted audiences to walk away shocked, confused, and a little pissed. I think he wanted his audience to really think about things—the rape, abuse, etc.—and Kazan and his fellow film makers do a great job of keeping these topics controversial without overdoing it or being too risqué. The film is adapted perfectly.

           The setting and costumes suggest hot nights in New Orleans. This helps to add to the desire of the characters. If Kazan would have changed the costumes or setting, he would have lost the entire feel of the play. However, he does a great job by keeping the setting the same as the source material.

         The movie could not win this award without the actors. Marlon Brando is great at playing Stanley, a husband whose emotions run the gamut from loving to explosively violent. Vivien Leigh also does a great job going from angel to vixen to lunatic as Blanche DuBois. Overall, all the characters really add to this wonderful adaptation.

         I think this film is very deserving of the laurel wreath. It has a wonderful essence, effective scenery and costumes, and convincing actors—all ingredients in a great adaptation.

Amber Lyles

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