A Streetcar Named Desire
It is a rare occasion in the world of cinema that an author plays a part in his story's translation to film. One of the few given this opportunity was Tennessee Williams. In Elia Kazan's 1951 "big screen" adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams penned not only the original manuscript, but also the screenplay.
Another are in which Williams was active in was the casting. Marlon Brando, a twenty three year-old inexperienced actor, was cast as Stanley Kowalski, a crass, vulgar, Polish man. Brando was able to perfectly express the raw nature of Stanley's actions, from his wild fits of rage, to his desperate calls to the woman he loves, adding to the emotion subtext of the film. A man with no regards for the couture of polite society, Stanley's role is a perfect fit for a rough young man from Nebraska. As the lead role of Blanche DuBois, Jessica Tandy replaced her on-stage counterpart, Vivien Leigh. Delivering her lines with a wispy, almost evasive tone Tandy captured the true demeanor of a southern belle. This, in my opinion is what prevented her from truly depicting the frenetic nature of Blanche's decent into the maelstrom of insanity.
Although the script is almost word-for-word the same as the book, certain changes were made to the setting of several scenes. The explanation for these changes is simple: Convenience. On stage, sets must be simple and few to make scene changes manageable. Wile filming, on the other hand, cameras can be moved and placed without the inconveniences of a stationary audience. One example of a setting change is the first scene, when Blanche arrives. In the original text, she nervously awaits the arrival of her sister in their dingy two-room apartment. In the film she ventures down to the bowling alley to find her herself. The expansion of the setting serves to broaden the viewers image of the characters environment, giving glimpses into the lives of not only a select group of players, but that of...
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