Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
Blanche DuBois, a high school English teacher with an aristocratic background from Auriol, Mississippi, decides to move to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski, in New Orleans after creditors take over the family property, Belle Reve. Blanche has also decided to take a break from teaching as she states the situation has frayed her nerves. Knowing nothing about Stanley or the Kowalskis' lives, Blanche is shocked to find that they live in a cramped and run down ground floor apartment - which she proceeds to beautify by putting shades over the open light bulbs to soften the lighting - and that Stanley is not the gentleman that she is used to in men. As such, Blanche and Stanley have an antagonistic relationship from the start. Blanche finds that Stanley's hyper-masculinity, which often displays itself in physical outbursts, is common, coarse and vulgar, being common which in turn is what attracted Stella to him. Beyond finding Blanche's delicate ...Written by
Vivien Leigh initially felt completely at sea when she joined the tight New York cast in rehearsals. Director Elia Kazan was able to exploit her feelings of alienation and disorientation to enrich her performance. See more »
The window after Stanley throws the radio through it. See more »
Can I help you, ma'am?
Why, they told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemetery and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields.
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Kazan was forced to cut several seconds from the scene where Stanley calls Stella down from Eunice's apartment, particularly the shots of Stella lingering at the top of the stairs and regarding her husband with a look of pure lust on her face before slowly making her way down and meeting him in a passionate embrace. Instead, several prints had Stella shadowed, opening the door to exit the apartment, and following with a shot of her already halfway down the steps. The music cue was also different: the raw, sultry jazz score was replaced with a more flowery romantic one. Both the full scene and the original music cue were restored in the "director's cut" DVD. See more »
I often asked myself this question with mixed responses. Did Brando make Streetcar great? Or was he just great in it?
Vivien Leigh is simply haunting and never not shocking. There is more going on there than just a performance. She appears out of herself and hovering ever so softly above. As for the rumored mental illnesses, I can only speculate. I do know for sure that her visualization of Blanche DuBois is the single best performance by an actress I've seen. Well that might not mean much, but I've seen a lot of movies.
Brando made On the Waterfront a classic, but Leigh made Streetcar unforgettable. I always felt like it was a continuation from her most timeless role as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Like what would have happened to Scarlett, if she was allowed to grow old. Maybe I'm just crazy. But I think the billing says it all; Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden. I don't think you could dream up a finer cast. Brando might have been the sexiest thing alive, but it's obvious that Leigh made this film great with some memorable help from some movie icons.
Brando may have sent an Indian to receive his second Oscar, but Leigh used her second as a doorstop to her bathroom.
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