Monday, 12 January 2015

''A Streetcar Named Desire'' (1951 movie)- Review

Directed by: Elia Kazan
Released: 1951
Country: United States

Genre: Drama

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

Rating: 5 out of 5


''A Streetcar Named Desire'' is an intense and powerful film, with two of the most powerful performances I have ever seen. Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, two of the greatest film stars of all time, give extremely powerful performances as Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, respectively. Vivien Leigh's performance is simply so strong that by the end of the film, I was literally in tears, seeing the fate of her character, Blanche. On the other hand, Marlon Brando's character, Stanley Kowalski, is so excellently-developed that by the end of the film the only thing that I felt for the character was pure hatred and outrage.

The film's protagonist, Blanche DuBois, arrives in New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter) and her (Stella's) husband, Stanley. Blanche claims that she has taken a leave from the school she works at, because she has been suffering from depression. In reality, there are secrets that she has been hiding. Dark secrets. The short-tempered, violent and wild Stanley doesn't let things go on smoothly. He often treats Blanche with contempt, and then decides to look into Blanche's past. He finds out about the circumstances that caused Blanche to move to New Orleans. 

I was greatly saddened, greatly shocked, and literally terrified seeing the torture and the difficulties that Blanche has to go through. Sure, she might not have had an agreeable past. But HOW can Stanley treat her, torment her in the way he does? How can a human treat somebody in this way? Stanley Kowalski is definitely one of the most hate-able movie villains I have ever seen. I mean, this character is inhuman and savage. And how excellently the character development is done! It takes time. Initially I felt only a mere loathing and even pity for Stanley, but by the end of the film, I felt pure hatred towards the character. For all the things that he does to Blanche.

 The most memorable line from the film is definitely ''Stella! Hey Stella!'' These lines, spoken by Brando's character, are spoken twice during the film, when Stella, tired of her husband's violent nature and torments, decides to leave her husband (twice). The first time this happens, I felt pity for Stanley, because of the circumstances, and because of the way he calls Stella. But by the second time he says this, at the very end of the film, my heart was filled with pure hatred, extreme loathing for the character of Stanley. The character development is done gradually, and I couldn't possibly feel any sympathy for him after the things he does over the course of the film. By the end of the film, I was left with tears in my eyes, having been shocked and saddened seeing Blanche's fate, and outraged and terrified seeing the inhumanity and savageness of Stanley. Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh both give extremely memorable performances- perhaps two of the most powerful performances in the history of cinema.

This is indeed one of the most powerful, one of the most intense, one of the most shocking, and one of the most excellently-acted films that I have ever watched. Elia Kazan's direction is, definitely, excellent, while Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh's performances are unforgettable and powerful enough to be called two of the greatest performances in film history. Besides the direction and the acting, the cinematography and the background score are great as well, and overall, this is a powerful film, a must-watch.


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