5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable performances and a whole lot of sultry atmosphere
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...
Published 16 months ago by Jamie MacDougall
3.0 out of 5 stars One Quick Question......... (3.5 stars)
I'm curious to know if anyone has read the play. Because, I want to know what they think of the ending in the movie version. It completly changes the tone and subject of the movie! Let me tell you something: this play was supposed to be about Blanche's tragedy. Changing the ending takes that element away. You can no longer call it a tragedy, and all of the sudden now...
Published on Aug. 6 2002 by Michael Crane
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4.0 out of 5 stars Looks great,
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This review is from: A Streetcar Named Desire: 60th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book [Blu-ray Book] (Blu-ray)
It's a gift which I'm sure the person I bought it for will be happy to receive it. Thank you
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable performances and a whole lot of sultry atmosphere,
This review is from: A Streetcar Named Desire: 60th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book [Blu-ray Book] (Blu-ray)
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.
3.0 out of 5 stars One Quick Question......... (3.5 stars),
I'm curious to know if anyone has read the play. Because, I want to know what they think of the ending in the movie version. It completly changes the tone and subject of the movie! Let me tell you something: this play was supposed to be about Blanche's tragedy. Changing the ending takes that element away. You can no longer call it a tragedy, and all of the sudden now the movie is about Stella.
Coming from someone who absolutely LOVED reading the play, I think this new ending is a complete cop out. Well, it is. I know it was forced on the studio from people who didn't think the original ending was "appropriate."
My advice: read the play. It's better. Actually, the movie is also really good as well....except when it gets to the ending.
All in all, I was really disappointed with how it ended. Should've stuck to the original ending that was in the play. I would've given it 5 stars had it not been for the ridiculous "forced" ending.
But that's just one man's opinion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally satisfied,
This review is from: A Streetcar Named Desire (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
The DVD arrived in timely fashion, the quality was excellent (I had been worried about that, but all was okay, it turned out) and the material on the second disc was wonderful. All in all, I am completely satisfied.
5.0 out of 5 stars some of the best the screen has ever seen,
Vivien Leigh, well-known for her portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in 1939's "Gone With the Wind", plays Blanche, a Southern belle as fragile as Scarlett is strong. In a way, Blanche is what Scarlett would have become if she had watched her mother die. "Death is very pretty compared to dying," she tells her sister Stella, who only came home for the funeral.
Stella is pregnant and married to Stanley (the inimitable Brando) who both abhors and is fascinated by his sister-in-law Blanche (and not just in a platonic manner.) Blanche in turn is interested in meeting new gentleman callers, as her great love once killed himself (as she tells us in one of the most riveting scenes in movie history.) Interesting note: the delivery boy she flirts with is Mickey Kuhn, who once played Leigh's nephew Beau in GWTW.
Blanche is so fragile that she has no choice but to break. Unfortunately, others hurry her down that path. Perhaps the worst thing one can do, it seems, is depend on the kindness of strangers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brando at his finest,
With obvious rekindled interest because of the recent death of Marlon Brando, this "one of a kind" film is making a deserved comback. Always thought to be a classic, the comparisons to Brando's acting then, and what we get now from most stars makes this film even more intense. Vivien Leigh digs deep for her emotional performance, and she's miles ahead of anything she did in Gone With the Wind. The rest of the cast is superb also.
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and Sexy,
This is a perfect date movie. It is intense, sexy, and packed with intellectual and emotional whallop. The actors are interesting and beautiful to look at, and the subject matter is mature and provoacative. It is the perfect setup for getting to know someone better, and a great warm-up for intimate activities to follow, or for super-intense action like you get when you put into practice the teachings of the "New Sex Now" dvd.
God bless you Marlon, you were a true subtle hunk!
2.0 out of 5 stars "Luck is believing you're lucky, that's all.",
Elia Kazan's film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" features some of the best tour-de-force acting cinema has ever seen. Yet, the film feels strangely lacking and deficient. This is due more to the shortcomings of the source material than Kazan's direction. While Williams' minimalist story contained enough material to produce an engaging stage play, the same work comes across as diminutive when adapted to the larger canvas of the big screen.
Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) arrives in New Orleans after losing her family estate. Scandalous rumors have tarnished her reputation and she is hoping to find some comfort and peace of mind by moving in with her sister, Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter). Blanche tries to mask her fragile psyche by weaving tall tales about herself but Stanley (Marlon Brando), Stella's brute of a husband, sees right through them. Conflict ensues in the household as Stanley uses his insight to torment Stella while his wife tries to maintain the peace.
Brando is magnificent in "A Streetcar Named Desire." This fact is hardly in dispute. His portrayal of Stanley is tremendously masculine as the iconic image of him in his torn shirt in the pouring rain screaming for his wife will attest. His acting is also surprisingly sensitive in the quiet moments when Stanley and Stella are making romantic small-talk. The other performers are stellar as Hunter, Leigh, and Karl Malden actually manage to keep pace with Brando. However, the new standards set for cinematic emotional conflict and realism cannot overcome the simple nature of the story. This lack of narrative complexity limits "A Streetcar Named Desire" to being only a brilliant acting showcase.
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating observation of humanity...,
Although, I find that "A Streetcar named Desire", for the most part had better acting,and a stronger story(mainly due to the fact there was less alteration to please the censors)than "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, I found it slightly less entertaining.
Set in New ORleans, the story begins with the arrival of Blanch Du Bois at her sister Stella's home. Blanche gives off the impression of being an old fashioned, sophistacated woma, but as the story progresses she slowly falls into madness.Her interaction with all those around her help to slowly reveal her past and unveil her true personality.
Vivien Leigh is the shining star of Streetcar, delivering the performance of a lifetime as Blanche. The screen chemistry between her character and that of MArlon Brando as Stanley is intensely hot and brilliant. Brado alone has such magnetism you can seldom take an eye of him.
The film reflects Tennessee William's thorough examination of human experience and behavior.Possibly heightening the exploration with spectacular acting and clever camera work.
Overall, "A Streetcar Named Desire" is a masterpiece of filmwork and acting that deserves to be considered among the best of all time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Paper Moon.,
As a playwright, Tennessee Williams was to the South what William Faulkner was as a fiction writer: a creative genius who revolutionized not only the region's arts scene and literature but that of 20th century America as a whole, bringing a Southern voice to the forefront while addressing universally important themes, and influencing and inspiring generations of later writers.
Pulitzer-Prize-winning "A Streetcar Named Desire" dates from the peak of Williams's creativity, the period between 1944 ("A Glass Menagerie") and 1955 ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," his second Pulitzer-winner). After its successful 1947 run on Broadway, "Streetcar" was adapted into a screenplay by Williams himself for this movie produced and directed by Elia Kazan, starring the entire Broadway cast except Jessica Tandy, who was replaced by the star of the play's London production, Vivien Leigh. The piece takes its title from one of the New Orleans streetcar lines that protagonist Blanche DuBois (Leigh) rides on her way to the apartment of her sister Stella (Kim Hunter), foreshadowing her later path, from (ever-unfulfilled) Desire to Cemetery (death, or the loss of reality) and a street called Elysian Fields, like the ancient mythological land of the dead.
Although Blanche is the person most visibly engaging in deception (of herself and others), almost everyone of the characters suffers loss after a brutal reality check: Stella, who hasn't been back home for years, first learns from Blanche that their genteel home Belle Reve (literally: "beautiful dream") is "lost" - although in what manner precisely Blanche doesn't specify, which immediately raises the suspicion of Stella's husband Stanley (Marlon Brando) - only to later hear from Stanley that under the veneer of Blanche's appearance as a delicate Southern lady lies a promiscuous past, and the true circumstances of her ouster from her job and ultimately from their home town were not as Blanche would have Stella believe. Stanley's friend Mitch (Karl Malden), who despite their disparate social backgrounds intends to marry Blanche after they are drawn to each other by their mutual need for "somebody" in their life, is similarly disillusioned by Stanley, and subsequently by Blanche herself when he insists on seeing her in bright light instead of the dim light of dancehalls and of the paper lamp she has insisted on hanging over Stella and Stanley's living room lamp, neither able to face the effects of age and a profligate lifestyle herself nor willing to reveal them to others. And Blanche's own loss of innocence, finally, set in years earlier, when she found her young husband in bed with another man and he committed suicide after she publicly reproached him. "Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see each other in life," Tennessee Williams says about "A Streetcar Named Desire" in Kazan's 1988 autobiography "A Life;" and in a letter opposing the movie's censoring before its release he described the story as being about "ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society."
The brute, of course, is Stanley, who not only becomes the catalyst of Blanche's fate and the destroyer of Stella's, Mitch's and Blanche's own illusions, but is her antagonist in everything from background to personality: Where she is a fading belle dreaming of days gone by he is all youthful virility, a working-class man living in the here and now; where she is refined he is crude, and where she engages in pretense, he tears down the facade behind which she is hiding. The conversation during which Stanley tells Stella about Blanche's past is pointedly set against Blanche's humming the Arlen/Harburg tune "It's Only a Paper Moon," which sees love transforming life into a fantasy world, which in turn however "wouldn't be make-believe if you believed in me." Yet, as portrayed by Marlon Brando, who with this movie stormed into public awareness with his unique and volcanic approach to acting, Stanley is no mere vulgar beast but a complex, often controversial character, despite his brutal streak almost childishly dependant on his wife and frequently hiding his own insecurities under his raw appearance (thus putting up a certain front as well, but unlike Blanche's, a socially acceptable, even common one). Ever the method actor, Brando reportedly stayed in character even during filming breaks; much to the disgust of Vivien Leigh, for whom lines like "[h]e's like an animal. ... Thousands of years have passed him right by and there he is: Stanley Kowalski, survivor of the stone-age, bearing the raw meat home from the kill in the jungle" must consequently have come from the bottom of her heart.
In early 1950s' society, "Streetcar" was considered way too risque - even downright sordid - to be presented to moviegoing audiences without severe censorship, which Williams and Kazan were only partly able to fight. One of the most substantial changes made in the adaptation was that at the end of the movie Stanley is punished for his brutality towards Blanche, whereas in the play's cynical original ending he is the only character experiencing no loss at all; indeed seeing his world restored after Blanche's exit. Since Kazan's suggestion to produce two alternate versions (one to please the censors, one in conformity with Williams's play) was rejected, even the 1993 "Original Director's Version" retains its altered, censorship-induced ending. Therefore, the play will forever constitute the last word on Williams's intentions. But even in its censored version this movie was a deserved quadruple Oscar- and multiple other award-winner (albeit undeservedly not for Brando). It has long-since become a true classic: a cinematic gem of first-rate direction and superlative performances throughout.
And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.
Hart Crane, "The Broken Tower": Preface to the published version of Tennessee Williams's play.
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