I am a huge
fan of old Hollywood. I’m always exploring the classics from the golden era of Hollywood and I love exploring what made the legends legends
My history with A Streetcar Named Desire
is relatively short, only discovering it a few years ago. In fact my first encounter with Streetcar
was seeing the stage play in London - the amazing Gillian Anderson played Blanche:
It was glorious and Gillian - having never seen The X Files - was superb. I have no idea why she isn’t bigger than she is. I fell in love with Blanche, and I hated
So I bought the movie and one or two edits aside and it’s very much the same - incredibly claustrophobic. I knew Vivian Leigh from (one of my all time favourite movies) Gone With The Wind
and was really keen to see her in another role because I associate her so much with Scarlett O’Hara (side note but isn’t that such a wonderful name? I love the names ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ and Blanche Du Bois - so iconic and camp).
Vivian plays Blanche quite well. Well, pretty well. I feel her performance is is very much like that of Scarlett - quite the ‘airhead’. She won me over though and as Blanche descends into madness, she fully earns and deserved her Oscar for the role.
The real revelation of the film though is Marlon Brando. My god, how I’d have ridden that Streetcar:
Shockingly, out of the four leads he was the only one not
to win an Oscar (all of the other 3 did). He’s wonderful in Stanley - who I love to hate.
In terms of the play to movie changes, in the play Stanley rapes Blanche whereas it’s a bit more ambiguous in the movie. However Hollywood homophobia was well in play as in the play, Blanche’s husband killed himself after she found him in bed with a man. This is changed in the movie.
I love this film I really do. Blanche’s descent into her safe haven and her fantasy world I think is something we can all relate to on some level. The sad truth though is that we never discover Blanche’s fate - we don’t know if made it through to the other side, recovered or found happiness. I suspect she didn’t, making it one hell of a fake story.