Review No. 446
You can shout “STELLA!” all you want, and no one will shout, “YOU FORGOT THE ‘R’!”
Directed by: Elia Kazan
Screenplay by: Tennessee Williams and Oscar Saul
Based on: “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
Blanche DuBois: Vivien Leigh
Stanley Kowalski: Marlon Brando
Stella Kowalski: Kim Hunter
Harold “Mitch” Mitchell: Karl Malden
Also Starring: Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, Richard Garrick, Rudy Bond, Wright King
Distributed by Warner Bros. on September 18, 1951. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 122 mins. Rated PG by the MPAA–mature themes.
A Streetcar Named Desire was watched on March 5, 2013.
“Stella!” –Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando)
Strange. I have so much respect for 1939’s Gone with the Wind. I watched it at the age of 10, and I wasn’t expecting much, just an old, four-hour letdown to even out for Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I had watched just a day before. But I ended up loving it to death in spite of myself.
Yes, the movie is four hours long, give or take a few minutes, but no, I wouldn’t dare call it “long” or “boring.” 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire clocks in at just over two hours and I found myself checking the time excessively. I guess you could identify which one I felt was marked by a great performance from Ms. Vivien Leigh, and which one featured her as a saving grace.
A Streetcar Named Desire is an all-too-familiar abomination of the romance genre. The most interesting thing about it is exactly what makes it so banal: it’s intended a hot summer feature, and based on a play by Tennessee Williams, but Lorda mercy, it only leave yeh cold.
These characters are nothing but clichés. Okay they have names for the sake of deceptive attraction, but those names are like substituting “James Bond” with “007” for the sake of secrecy. Shh. We’re just the “bad boy,” the “hopeless romantic,” and the “married woman who seems like she’s in heaven.” A very thin façade.
It’s no secret that John Hinckley, Jr.’s assassination attempt on President Reagan was linked to Jodie Foster’s character in Taxi Driver. Thank God he failed. It’s unfortunate that Nicholas Sparks didn’t when he used A Streetcar Named Desire against the romance genre. He hasn’t admitted it, but if he’s at all honest, he will. It Happened One Night, Casablanca, His Girl Friday, and…I don’t know, maybe Gone with the Wind. These titles have righteously been dubbed as classics. You emulate these Golden Age romance gems and you end up with more recent masterpieces like When Harry Met Sally, Titanic, and Shakespeare in Love.
You emulate A Streetcar Named Desire and you get a theater full of female young adults who will do anything to see a hot guy on the big screen. Because Marlon Brando DOES look suave when he first appears sweating down his front. No that’s not sweat…that’s a good story that’s been melted away.