A Streetcar Named Desire.

A Streetcar Named Desire.

An early entry in Elia Kazan’s string of 1950’s neo-neo-realistic films, modeled on the Italian neo-realism a la Il Ladri di Biciccleta. The film doesn’t work quite as well as On the Waterfront, as the translation from the stage play makes it claustrophobic and, well, stagey. Vivien Leigh carries the film here, as Brando’s borish and intentionally weak Stanley submissively allow Blanche reign of the screen.

Shot carefully, with shadows and fog, Leigh embodies the false and helpless Blanche, with a certain irony in that it was a mirror of her own life.

Kaxzan’s craft was developing, and his early brilliance shines through here, later to be embodied in OtW.

Discuss. No HUAC bullshit.

Having seen this movie version years and years ago, I recall thinking that they might have had censorship problems. In particular, I recall how they handled the scene between Blanche and a young man at the door. They were discussing ice cream and other goodies, with an undertone of sexual innuendo. Blanche says to the lad, “You make my mouth water.” The line, I believe, was supposed to be suggestive and flirtatious – he could take it to mean “all the goodies you mention make my mouth water” or “you turn me on.”

In this movie version, they have Blanche turn around, face away from the young man and even walk away, (IIRC) and say the line with a sort of worried look. Maybe they wanted to suggest that she was afraid of her own sexual response. But it also comes across as if censors had them tone the scene way down. It is much more effective if she just fixes him with a frank and challenging gaze and says the line.

I don’t recall which scenes were restored, but my LD edition of ‘Streetcar’ claims to contain scenes originally cut so that the original release would make it past the censors.

Does anyone have specifics beyond my air-fairy comment?

Yes. Three minutes were restored, extensions of the newspaper collector scene and the Blanche rape scene.

I have nothing really to add but I was going to ask “HUAC?” Then it hit me “Oh, THAT HUAC!” :smiley:

Carry on folks! I’ll just sit over there and be quiet now.
Tennessee Williams is one of my top two favorite American playwrights.

One of the great melodramas, but I think it would have been a little closer to perfect with a more visionary director than Kazan. His earthbound–though frequently brilliant–direction fails ultimately to synergize with the hysteria of Williams’s script and create the sublimity of good opera. Jacques Tourneur, for example, might have made the melodrama transcendant, rather than, well, heavy-handed. Or Carl Dreyer! Man, that would have been a movie.

My point exactly. Witness On The Watefront, which really fit him like a glove. The film felt restrained, in a way.

I realize that I recently provided this link in another thread, and I don’t mean to do a shameless plug, but the coincidence is uncanny. I had selected A Streetcar Named Desire as the second most important film in Hollywood history.

The 50 Most Important Hollywood Films

They did indeed have censorship problems, but there is a restored version. Even with the censorship, though, it was truly groundbreaking with its content. But the most significant thing about it, in my opinion, was that it marked the dawn of method acting as a viable style and the end of the grand era of ham acting. The justaposition of Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando is remarkable.

Truly. Leigh’s ham is so out of place compared to Brando’s brilliant, brooding method makes her almost painful to watch, given that she carries the film. Her ham was bearable, even enjoyable in place, like in GWTW, but here it is kinda irritating

You’re right, Ilsa. And it’s a watershed film for exactly that reason. Film acting finally grew up. Gone with the wind… rather ironic! :wink: