Tennessee Williams' phenomenal stage play exploded onto the silver screen over sixty years ago, causing a whirlwind of controversy, and since then has lost little of its powerful punch. A vulnerable and wilting southern woman (Vivien Leigh) moves in with her sister (Kim Hunter) in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law (Marlon Brando) while her reality crumbles all around her.
Directed by Elia Kazan, the movie is a Hollywood landmark film that features a legendary performance by Brando, who oozes masculine sex appeal and an animalistic intensity in every scene as Stanley Kowalski. It’s an emotionally raw performance that not only took method acting to a whole new level, but also inspired a whole generation of actors. Vivien Leigh is also divine as the trapped and desperate Blanche and Kim Hunter’s self-aware turn as the sensual Stella (that matches Stanley’s ferociousness), is phenomenal.
In the end, the film’s plot is rather simple, but this only serves to highlight the unforgettable characters that inhabit the hot, crumbling world of ‘Desire’. Just like the films sultry score, the characters get under your skin and stay there.
A Streetcar Named Desire offers a beautiful B&W video transfer and a decent audio presentation. Special features include an edited multisource audio commentary, ‘Elia Kazan: A Director’s Journey’ PBS documentary (76 min), five in depth behind-the-scenes featurettes (totaling about 95 min), Marlon Brando’s screen test (5 min), outtakes (16 min), audio outtakes (17 min), and three trailers (7 min).
A Streetcar Named Desire is definitely a classic and offers solid video & audio quality, an impressive collection of special features, and an atmospheric landscape filled with legendary performances. Highly Recommended.