A Streetcar Named Desire


2h 2m 1952
A Streetcar Named Desire

Brief Synopsis

A fading southern belle tries to build a new life with her sister in New Orleans.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 22, 1952
Premiere Information
New York opening: 19 Sep 1951
Production Company
Charles K. Feldman Group Productions; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, as presented by Irene Mayer Selznick (3 Dec 1947).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,977ft

Synopsis

Blanche DuBois arrives in New Orleans by train, and follows a sailor's directions to take a streetcar named "Desire" to her sister Stella Kowalski's apartment at Elysian Fields in the French Quarter. Blanche, an aging Southern belle, is horrified by the dilapidated building in which her sister lives with her husband Stanley, but is delighted to reunite with Stella, whom she feels abandoned her after their father's death. Blanche explains that she was given a leave of absence from her teaching job because she had become a little "lunatic," and now makes herself at home in the cramped apartment, which affords little privacy. Blanche is immediately offended by Stanley's coarse manners, and he is infuriated when he learns that Blanche has lost the family home at Belle Reve. Stanley rants about the "Napoleonic code," which he claims decrees that what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband. Unimpressed by Blanche's genteel manners, Stanley reveals that his wife is pregnant, and at his insistence, Blanche reluctantly digs out the papers which document the many unpaid loans written against the Belle Reve estate.

That night, Stanley's poker game runs late, and when Stella and Blanche return from an outing together, Blanche meets Stanley's best friend Mitch, a bachelor who looks after his sick mother. Blanche turns on the radio and dances by herself, but Stanley is distracted by the music and flies into a drunken rage, during which he beats Stella. Stella and her terrified sister run up to their neighbor Eunice's apartment, but later, when Stanley calls up to her in remorse, Stella is drawn back to her husband and makes up with him. Blanche, horrified by Stanley's brutality, lingers in the street with Mitch. The next day, Stanley overhears Blanche encourage Stella to leave Stanley, whom she calls an "animal" and "subhuman," but she is unable to shake Stella's devotion to her husband. Stanley reveals that he has heard some unsavory gossip about Blanche, and his apparent secret knowledge unnerves her.

That night, Blanche and Mitch go out on a date, and she resists his amorous advances by telling him that she is old-fashioned. After avoiding Mitch's questions about her age, she reveals that she drove her first young husband to suicide by mercilessly demeaning him because their marriage was not consummated. She then accepts Mitch's kiss. Five months later, when Mitch reveals his plans to marry Blanche, he and Stanley fight after Stanley tells him about her sordid past. Stanley then tells Stella that he has learned that Blanche was fired for seducing a seventeen-year-old student, and that she has a notorious reputation. Mitch stands up Blanche on her birthday and refuses to take her calls. When Stanley tells Blanche that she has overstayed her welcome, she insults him by calling him a "Polack." Stanley defends his Polish heritage, and then gives her a birthday gift of a one-way bus ticket home. Blanche then becomes hysterical and shuts herself in the bathroom. Stella and Stanley start to fight, but she goes into labor and Stanley takes her to the hospital.

Later, Mitch comes to see Blanche, who is hearing music in her head, and calls her a hypocrite. Blanche truly loves Mitch, but admits that she has had "many meetings with men." Mitch forces a kiss on Blanche, but breaks their engagement and is run out of the apartment by her. She then dresses up as if she were attending a ball, and when Stanley returns home, claims that Mitch has apologized and that she has received an invitation to a cruise. Stanley accuses Blanche of lying and assaults her. When Stella returns home with her baby, she finds that Blanche has gone insane and now lives under the delusion that she is going on a Caribbean cruise. Stella has reluctantly arranged for her sister to be sent to a sanatorium, but when the doctor and matron arrive, Blanche goes completely berserk. Mitch attacks Stanley, who vows that he never touched Blanche. Blanche finally calms down, and is touched by the doctor's gentlemanly manner, telling him that she has "always depended on the kindness of strangers." After they leave, Stella rebuffs Stanley and runs to Eunice's apartment with her baby, vowing never to return.

Photo Collections

A Streetcar Named Desire - Lobby Card
Here is a lobby card from Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - Napoleonic Code Having ejected her sister, Blanche (Vivien Leigh) encourages her New Orleans brother-in-law Stanley (Marlon Brando) to continue with his inquiries about her affairs, Elia Kazan directing, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952.
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - Which One Is He? Travel-weary Blanche (Vivien Leigh) finds younger sister Stella (Kim Hunter) at the bowling alley, where she points out husband Stanley (Marlon Brando) early in Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952.
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - You Must Be Stanley Stanley (Marlon Brando) arrives home from bowling to meet sister-in-law Blanche (Vivien Leigh) for the first time in his New Orleans apartment, in Elia Kazan's production of Tennesee Willliams' A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952.
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - Open, Elysian Fields Alex North's booming, jazzy score for the opening credits to Elia Kazan's celebrated A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952, starring Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden, from Tennessee Williams' play.
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - Old Fashioned Ideals On an official date, widow Stella (Vivien Leigh) and working class bachelor Mitch (Karl Malden) try to discern each other's intentions, in Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952, from Tennessee Williams' play.
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - Stella! Famous, torrid scene in which Stanley (Marlon Brando), remorseful after a tantrum, shouts for his wife Stella (Kim Hunter), in Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952, from Tennessee Williams' play.
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1952) - You Must Be Stanley Stanley (Marlon Brando) arrives home from bowling to meet sister-in-law Blanche (Vivien Leigh) for the first time in his New Orleans apartment, in Elia Kazan's production of Tennesee Willliams' A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 22, 1952
Premiere Information
New York opening: 19 Sep 1951
Production Company
Charles K. Feldman Group Productions; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, as presented by Irene Mayer Selznick (3 Dec 1947).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,977ft

Award Wins

Best Actress

1951
Vivien Leigh

Best Art Direction

1951

Best Supporting Actor

1951
Karl Malden

Best Supporting Actress

1951
Kim Hunter

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1951
Marlon Brando

Best Cinematography

1951

Best Costume Design

1951
Lucinda Ballard

Best Director

1951
Elia Kazan

Best Music, Original or Comedy Series

1952

Best Picture

1951

Best Sound

1951

Best Writing, Screenplay

1952

Articles

The Essentials - A Streetcar Named Desire


SYNOPSIS

Blanche DuBois is an aging schoolteacher who leaves her hometown under mysterious circumstances and stays with her pregnant sister Stella in New Orleans. Stanley Kowalski, Stella's brutish husband, resents Blanche's presence and accuses her of squandering the family inheritance. He soon sets about tearing down the fragile world of illusion with which Blanche attempts to surround herself.

Director: Elia Kazan
Producer: Charles K. Feldman
S creenplay: Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul
Cinematography: Harry Stradling
A rt Direction: Richard Day (Oscar winner)
Set Decoration: George James Hopkins
Music: Alex North
Cast: Vivien Leigh (Blanche DuBois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella), Karl Malden (Mitch), Rudy Bond (Steve Hubbell), Nick Dennis (Pablo Gonzales).
BW-125m.

Why A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Is Essential

Although The Glass Menagerie (1950) was William's first commercial success, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) became his signature play, full of visceral emotion and unnerving tragic realism. It earned Williams' his first Pulitzer Prize and the first of four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. In the stage version directed by Elia Kazan, Jessica Tandy played Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter was Stella, and Marlon Brando became the talk of Broadway for his performance as the primal Stanley Kowalski. The major principals and the same director were also recruited for the movie version with the exception of Tandy. Her coveted stage role of Blanche went instead to Vivien Leigh, who had starred in a London production of the play directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier.

During the filming of A Streetcar Named Desire, Vivien Leigh clashed with Elia Kazan over her interpretation of Blanche and also had problems connecting with her fellow cast members who were trained in the "Stanislavsky Method." At the time, Leigh's relationship with her husband was also starting to unravel and her immersion into the role of Blanche only accented her current manic-depressive state. "In many ways she was Blanche," Brando said in his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me. "She was memorably beautiful, one of the great beauties of the screen, but she was also vulnerable, and her own life had been very much like that of Tennessee's wounded butterfly...Like Blanche, she slept with almost everybody and was beginning to dissolve mentally and to fray at the ends physically. I might have given her a tumble if it hadn't been for Larry Olivier."

While in production, Streetcar began to encounter resistance from the film industry's self-regulating Production Code office. References to the homosexuality of Blanche's deceased husband were removed and the harsh original ending was altered, with Stella rejecting her husband rather than remaining by his side. Still, the film encountered controversy during its release and Warner Brothers deleted an additional five minutes of material (it was later added back in a 1993 restoration) which included dialogue references to Blanche's past promiscuity and visual evidence of the lustful relationship between Stanley and Stella.

A Streetcar Named Desire also deserves another footnote in Hollywood history because of its revolutionary mode of production. While Hollywood filmmaking was still firmly entrenched in the studio system which used only studio-contracted actors and craftsmen, A Streetcar Named Desire turned out to be a harbinger of things to come. Independent agent-producer Charles Feldman purchased the property and brought it to Jack L. Warner, the head of Warner Bros. Studios. Independent director Elia Kazan was brought on board to direct, and playwright Tennessee Williams adapted his own work to the screen. Furthermore, none of the cast members were Warner contract players, and only a few crewmembers came from outside of Warner Bros. This film put one more crack in the studio system's ironclad hold on filmmaking in America, leading to even more power for independent producers and smaller filmmaking companies.

All the trouble was worth it in the end because A Streetcar Named Desire is now considered a landmark film in terms of the ensemble performances, Kazan's direction and the evocative art direction by Richard Day. The derelict New Orleans tenement is given a convincing presence through the accumulation of details such as crumbling stucco and bricks, peeling wallpaper, streaks of dirt on the walls and the dramatic courtyard staircase with wrought iron railings. In collaboration with Harry Stradling's evocative textures of light and shadow, the sets provide crucial atmospheric support for the actors' naturalistic performances. Academy Awards for the film included Best Actress (Leigh), Best Art Direction (Richard Day and George James Hopkins), Best Supporting Actor and Actress (Karl Malden and Kim Hunter); nominations included Best Actor (Brando), Best Director (Kazan), Best Original Screenplay (Williams) and Best Score (Alex North).

by Scott McGee & James Steffin

The Essentials - A Streetcar Named Desire

The Essentials - A Streetcar Named Desire

SYNOPSIS Blanche DuBois is an aging schoolteacher who leaves her hometown under mysterious circumstances and stays with her pregnant sister Stella in New Orleans. Stanley Kowalski, Stella's brutish husband, resents Blanche's presence and accuses her of squandering the family inheritance. He soon sets about tearing down the fragile world of illusion with which Blanche attempts to surround herself. Director: Elia Kazan Producer: Charles K. Feldman S creenplay: Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul Cinematography: Harry Stradling A rt Direction: Richard Day (Oscar winner) Set Decoration: George James Hopkins Music: Alex North Cast: Vivien Leigh (Blanche DuBois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella), Karl Malden (Mitch), Rudy Bond (Steve Hubbell), Nick Dennis (Pablo Gonzales). BW-125m. Why A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Is Essential Although The Glass Menagerie (1950) was William's first commercial success, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) became his signature play, full of visceral emotion and unnerving tragic realism. It earned Williams' his first Pulitzer Prize and the first of four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. In the stage version directed by Elia Kazan, Jessica Tandy played Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter was Stella, and Marlon Brando became the talk of Broadway for his performance as the primal Stanley Kowalski. The major principals and the same director were also recruited for the movie version with the exception of Tandy. Her coveted stage role of Blanche went instead to Vivien Leigh, who had starred in a London production of the play directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier. During the filming of A Streetcar Named Desire, Vivien Leigh clashed with Elia Kazan over her interpretation of Blanche and also had problems connecting with her fellow cast members who were trained in the "Stanislavsky Method." At the time, Leigh's relationship with her husband was also starting to unravel and her immersion into the role of Blanche only accented her current manic-depressive state. "In many ways she was Blanche," Brando said in his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me. "She was memorably beautiful, one of the great beauties of the screen, but she was also vulnerable, and her own life had been very much like that of Tennessee's wounded butterfly...Like Blanche, she slept with almost everybody and was beginning to dissolve mentally and to fray at the ends physically. I might have given her a tumble if it hadn't been for Larry Olivier." While in production, Streetcar began to encounter resistance from the film industry's self-regulating Production Code office. References to the homosexuality of Blanche's deceased husband were removed and the harsh original ending was altered, with Stella rejecting her husband rather than remaining by his side. Still, the film encountered controversy during its release and Warner Brothers deleted an additional five minutes of material (it was later added back in a 1993 restoration) which included dialogue references to Blanche's past promiscuity and visual evidence of the lustful relationship between Stanley and Stella. A Streetcar Named Desire also deserves another footnote in Hollywood history because of its revolutionary mode of production. While Hollywood filmmaking was still firmly entrenched in the studio system which used only studio-contracted actors and craftsmen, A Streetcar Named Desire turned out to be a harbinger of things to come. Independent agent-producer Charles Feldman purchased the property and brought it to Jack L. Warner, the head of Warner Bros. Studios. Independent director Elia Kazan was brought on board to direct, and playwright Tennessee Williams adapted his own work to the screen. Furthermore, none of the cast members were Warner contract players, and only a few crewmembers came from outside of Warner Bros. This film put one more crack in the studio system's ironclad hold on filmmaking in America, leading to even more power for independent producers and smaller filmmaking companies. All the trouble was worth it in the end because A Streetcar Named Desire is now considered a landmark film in terms of the ensemble performances, Kazan's direction and the evocative art direction by Richard Day. The derelict New Orleans tenement is given a convincing presence through the accumulation of details such as crumbling stucco and bricks, peeling wallpaper, streaks of dirt on the walls and the dramatic courtyard staircase with wrought iron railings. In collaboration with Harry Stradling's evocative textures of light and shadow, the sets provide crucial atmospheric support for the actors' naturalistic performances. Academy Awards for the film included Best Actress (Leigh), Best Art Direction (Richard Day and George James Hopkins), Best Supporting Actor and Actress (Karl Malden and Kim Hunter); nominations included Best Actor (Brando), Best Director (Kazan), Best Original Screenplay (Williams) and Best Score (Alex North). by Scott McGee & James Steffin

Pop Culture 101 - A Streetcar Named Desire


In an October 1992 episode of The Simpsons that spoofs A Streetcar Named Desire, Marge decides to try out for the Springfield Community Center's musical production of "Oh! Streetcar!" Marge plays Blanche, while next-door neighbor Ned Flanders is Stanley and Reverend Lovejoy's wife Helen is Stella. Homer is not in the cast, but he does get into the homage act: when the tab breaks off his pudding can, he stands outside in the yard and screams "Marge!" just as Marlon Brando shouted "Stella!" in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Tweety and Sylvester the Cat starred in a Warner Bros. animated short called A Street Cat Named Sylvester in September 1953, but all connections with A Streetcar Named Desire ended with the title.

There have been two different television movies based on the Tennessee Williams play. In 1984, Treat Williams and Ann-Margret starred as Stanley and Blanche, while Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid filled out the cast as Stella and Mitch, respectively. Then in 1995, Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange starred in another TV-movie adaptation of Williams' play as Stanley and Blanche. Diane Lane and John Goodman co-starred as Stella and Mitch.

by Scott McGee

Pop Culture 101 - A Streetcar Named Desire

In an October 1992 episode of The Simpsons that spoofs A Streetcar Named Desire, Marge decides to try out for the Springfield Community Center's musical production of "Oh! Streetcar!" Marge plays Blanche, while next-door neighbor Ned Flanders is Stanley and Reverend Lovejoy's wife Helen is Stella. Homer is not in the cast, but he does get into the homage act: when the tab breaks off his pudding can, he stands outside in the yard and screams "Marge!" just as Marlon Brando shouted "Stella!" in A Streetcar Named Desire. Tweety and Sylvester the Cat starred in a Warner Bros. animated short called A Street Cat Named Sylvester in September 1953, but all connections with A Streetcar Named Desire ended with the title. There have been two different television movies based on the Tennessee Williams play. In 1984, Treat Williams and Ann-Margret starred as Stanley and Blanche, while Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid filled out the cast as Stella and Mitch, respectively. Then in 1995, Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange starred in another TV-movie adaptation of Williams' play as Stanley and Blanche. Diane Lane and John Goodman co-starred as Stella and Mitch. by Scott McGee

Trivia - A Streetcar Named Desire - Trivia & Fun Facts About A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE


A Streetcar Named Desire was only Marlon Brando's second movie. He first appeared in director Fred Zinnemann's The Men (1950) as a wounded ex-GI trying to readjust to civilian life in a wheelchair.

By the time Brando agreed to appear in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire he had become a major star. He was now able to demand twice his previous salary, billing on all screen, marquee, and advertising credits in lettering which was just as large as the title, and veto power over wardrobe fittings, makeup tests, and press interviews during the first week of production.

Brando's reputation as a difficult actor has been confirmed by several directors but Elia Kazan isn't among them. He was one of the few who commanded the actor's complete respect. In his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, Marlon wrote, "I have worked with many movie directors - some good, some fair, some terrible. Kazan was the best actors' director by far of any I've worked for. Gadg, who got his nickname because of an affection for gadgets, was the only one who ever really stimulated me, got into a part with me and virtually acted it with me."

Although A Streetcar Named Desire made Marlon Brando a star, he admits he never liked playing Stanley Kowalski and his identification with the role has haunted him ever since.

Vivien Leigh, who suffered from bipolar disorder in real life, later had difficulties in distinguishing her actual life from that of Blanche DuBois.

Kim Hunter, who plays the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, was blacklisted for several years after her name appeared in Red Channels, a rabid anti-communist publication.

Kim Hunter and Wright King, who plays the Young Collector, later appeared together in Planet of the Apes (1968).

Karl Malden co-starred with Marlon Brando in three movies. After A Streetcar Named Desire, they were both Oscar nominated for their performances in On the Waterfront (1954). They also played former friends turned arch enemies in One-Eyed Jacks (1961).

Vivien Leigh's two Academy Award-winning performances in Gone With the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire have much in common. First, Leigh plays an emotionally conflicted Southern belle in both films. Secondly, both were adapted from works by Southern authors, Margaret Mitchell and Tennessee Williams, respectively. And lastly, both films involved the creative hand of a Selznick: David O. Selznick produced Gone With the Wind and Irene Mayer Selznick, MGM chief Louis B. Mayer's daughter and David Selznick's wife, produced the New York production of A Streetcar Named Desire. By the time A Streetcar Named Desire hit movie screens, Irene and David were divorced.

In his autobiography, Marlon Brando confirmed his preference for the film over the original stage production of the Tennessee Williams play due to the casting. He thought A Streetcar Named Desire reached a pinnacle of "perfect casting" when Vivien Leigh took on the role of Blanche DuBois.

While Vivien Leigh was in Hollywood shooting A Streetcar Named Desire, her husband, Sir Laurence Olivier, was in town as well, shooting Carrie (1952) for director William Wyler.

A Streetcar Named Desire marked the first of Marlon Brando's four consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. His subsequent films included Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953), and On the Waterfront (1954), for which he finally won the coveted Oscar. Brando won again over 20 years later with his monumental work in The Godfather (1972).

The wonderful film score was composed by Alex North, a relative newcomer at the time, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on A Streetcar Named Desire. Throughout his career, North was nominated for 15 Academy Awards but did not win one until 1985, when he was awarded an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar "in recognition of his brilliant artistry in the creation of memorable music for a host of distinguished motion pictures." North died in 1991.

On Broadway, Brando's understudy for the part of Stanley Kowalski was Ralph Meeker, who would later follow Brando to Hollywood where he would give acclaimed performances in such films as Teresa (1951), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), and Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957). Unfortunately, Meeker never reached the level of success that Brando achieved in motion pictures and his biggest acting triumph remains his stage performance in William Inge's Picnic in 1953.

Prior to the Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Margaret Sullavan and John Garfield had been approached for the lead roles of Blanche and Stanley, respectively. However, Tennessee Williams vetoed Sullavan after she read for him and Garfield was dropped after he insisted on several contract demands, such as having Williams rewrite the play to make Stanley the major character.

The original title of A Streetcar Named Desire had been The Poker Night but Tennessee Williams decided to change it after he completed the play in 1946.

by Scott McGee

Memorable Quotes from A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

Blanche: Please don't get up.
Stanley: Nobody's going to get up, so don't be worried.

Stanley: Hey STELLA!

Blanche: Deliberate cruelty is unforgivable, and the one thing I've never been guilty of.

Blanche: Oh look, we have created enchantment!

Blanche: I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.
Mitch: I guess we strike you as being a pretty rough bunch.
Blanche: I'm very adaptable to circumstances.

Blanche: Tarantula was the name of it! I stayed at a hotel called the Tarantula Arms!
Mitch: Tarantula Arms?
Blanche: Yes, a big spider! That's where I brought my victims. Yes, I've had many meetings with strangers.

Stanley: I never met a woman that didn't know if she was good-looking or not without being told, and some of them give themselves credit for more than they've got.

Blanche: Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Blanche: I know I fib a good deal. After all, a woman's charm is 50% illusion.

Blanche: I don't want realism. I want magic!

Trivia - A Streetcar Named Desire - Trivia & Fun Facts About A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

A Streetcar Named Desire was only Marlon Brando's second movie. He first appeared in director Fred Zinnemann's The Men (1950) as a wounded ex-GI trying to readjust to civilian life in a wheelchair. By the time Brando agreed to appear in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire he had become a major star. He was now able to demand twice his previous salary, billing on all screen, marquee, and advertising credits in lettering which was just as large as the title, and veto power over wardrobe fittings, makeup tests, and press interviews during the first week of production. Brando's reputation as a difficult actor has been confirmed by several directors but Elia Kazan isn't among them. He was one of the few who commanded the actor's complete respect. In his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, Marlon wrote, "I have worked with many movie directors - some good, some fair, some terrible. Kazan was the best actors' director by far of any I've worked for. Gadg, who got his nickname because of an affection for gadgets, was the only one who ever really stimulated me, got into a part with me and virtually acted it with me." Although A Streetcar Named Desire made Marlon Brando a star, he admits he never liked playing Stanley Kowalski and his identification with the role has haunted him ever since. Vivien Leigh, who suffered from bipolar disorder in real life, later had difficulties in distinguishing her actual life from that of Blanche DuBois. Kim Hunter, who plays the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, was blacklisted for several years after her name appeared in Red Channels, a rabid anti-communist publication. Kim Hunter and Wright King, who plays the Young Collector, later appeared together in Planet of the Apes (1968). Karl Malden co-starred with Marlon Brando in three movies. After A Streetcar Named Desire, they were both Oscar nominated for their performances in On the Waterfront (1954). They also played former friends turned arch enemies in One-Eyed Jacks (1961). Vivien Leigh's two Academy Award-winning performances in Gone With the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire have much in common. First, Leigh plays an emotionally conflicted Southern belle in both films. Secondly, both were adapted from works by Southern authors, Margaret Mitchell and Tennessee Williams, respectively. And lastly, both films involved the creative hand of a Selznick: David O. Selznick produced Gone With the Wind and Irene Mayer Selznick, MGM chief Louis B. Mayer's daughter and David Selznick's wife, produced the New York production of A Streetcar Named Desire. By the time A Streetcar Named Desire hit movie screens, Irene and David were divorced. In his autobiography, Marlon Brando confirmed his preference for the film over the original stage production of the Tennessee Williams play due to the casting. He thought A Streetcar Named Desire reached a pinnacle of "perfect casting" when Vivien Leigh took on the role of Blanche DuBois. While Vivien Leigh was in Hollywood shooting A Streetcar Named Desire, her husband, Sir Laurence Olivier, was in town as well, shooting Carrie (1952) for director William Wyler. A Streetcar Named Desire marked the first of Marlon Brando's four consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. His subsequent films included Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953), and On the Waterfront (1954), for which he finally won the coveted Oscar. Brando won again over 20 years later with his monumental work in The Godfather (1972). The wonderful film score was composed by Alex North, a relative newcomer at the time, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on A Streetcar Named Desire. Throughout his career, North was nominated for 15 Academy Awards but did not win one until 1985, when he was awarded an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar "in recognition of his brilliant artistry in the creation of memorable music for a host of distinguished motion pictures." North died in 1991. On Broadway, Brando's understudy for the part of Stanley Kowalski was Ralph Meeker, who would later follow Brando to Hollywood where he would give acclaimed performances in such films as Teresa (1951), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), and Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957). Unfortunately, Meeker never reached the level of success that Brando achieved in motion pictures and his biggest acting triumph remains his stage performance in William Inge's Picnic in 1953. Prior to the Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Margaret Sullavan and John Garfield had been approached for the lead roles of Blanche and Stanley, respectively. However, Tennessee Williams vetoed Sullavan after she read for him and Garfield was dropped after he insisted on several contract demands, such as having Williams rewrite the play to make Stanley the major character. The original title of A Streetcar Named Desire had been The Poker Night but Tennessee Williams decided to change it after he completed the play in 1946. by Scott McGee Memorable Quotes from A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Blanche: Please don't get up. Stanley: Nobody's going to get up, so don't be worried. Stanley: Hey STELLA! Blanche: Deliberate cruelty is unforgivable, and the one thing I've never been guilty of. Blanche: Oh look, we have created enchantment! Blanche: I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action. Mitch: I guess we strike you as being a pretty rough bunch. Blanche: I'm very adaptable to circumstances. Blanche: Tarantula was the name of it! I stayed at a hotel called the Tarantula Arms! Mitch: Tarantula Arms? Blanche: Yes, a big spider! That's where I brought my victims. Yes, I've had many meetings with strangers. Stanley: I never met a woman that didn't know if she was good-looking or not without being told, and some of them give themselves credit for more than they've got. Blanche: Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. Blanche: I know I fib a good deal. After all, a woman's charm is 50% illusion. Blanche: I don't want realism. I want magic!

The Big Idea - A Streetcar Named Desire


Born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911, Thomas Lanier Williams was known for most of his life as 'Tom' but earned the nickname of Tennessee in college. The nickname stuck after a college roommate made a humorous reference to Williams' heritage as a Tennessee pioneer.

Much has been written about Williams' turbulent adolescence, his troubled parents' marriage, and his invalid sister Rose, and it no doubt had a great influence on his art. His father, Cornelius, had frequent bouts with alcoholism and gambling. His mother, Edwina (allegedly the model for Amanda in The Glass Menagerie), was a controlling figure who allowed the family doctor to perform a frontal lobotomy on her emotionally disturbed daughter, Rose. (This disturbing event would later form the basis for Suddenly, Last Summer.)

Williams later developed an interest in drama at the University of Missouri but his college education was cut short when his father, in dire financial straits, forced him to drop out and go to work at the International Shoe Company. It was there that Williams became good friends with a co-worker named Stanley Kowalski, whose name would later figure prominently in the play, A Streetcar Named Desire.

Eventually, Williams obtained his college degree (from the University of Iowa) and after a brief stint in Chicago, moved to New Orleans where he began his career as a playwright. Arthur Rimbaud, Hart Crane, Frederico Garcia Lorca, and D.H. Lawrence were some of the writers who had a profound effect on Williams' work and in 1945, he scored his first commercial success with The Glass Menagerie.

After The Glass Menagerie, Williams began writing his next work based on an image he had of a woman sitting alone in a chair by a window, bathed in moonlight. She had been jilted on the eve of her wedding. This image became the inspiration for Blanche DuBois, the central character of his new play, A Streetcar Named Desire which he finished in 1947. Williams not only used New Orleans as the setting for the drama but he also took the title from the famous 'Crescent City' street railway Desire. The Desire line was started by the New Orleans Railway and Light Co. in 1920 and the original route ran down such streets as Bourbon, Esplanade, and Elysian Fields which is the location of the Kowalski's apartment.

by Jeff Stafford

The Big Idea - A Streetcar Named Desire

Born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911, Thomas Lanier Williams was known for most of his life as 'Tom' but earned the nickname of Tennessee in college. The nickname stuck after a college roommate made a humorous reference to Williams' heritage as a Tennessee pioneer. Much has been written about Williams' turbulent adolescence, his troubled parents' marriage, and his invalid sister Rose, and it no doubt had a great influence on his art. His father, Cornelius, had frequent bouts with alcoholism and gambling. His mother, Edwina (allegedly the model for Amanda in The Glass Menagerie), was a controlling figure who allowed the family doctor to perform a frontal lobotomy on her emotionally disturbed daughter, Rose. (This disturbing event would later form the basis for Suddenly, Last Summer.) Williams later developed an interest in drama at the University of Missouri but his college education was cut short when his father, in dire financial straits, forced him to drop out and go to work at the International Shoe Company. It was there that Williams became good friends with a co-worker named Stanley Kowalski, whose name would later figure prominently in the play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Eventually, Williams obtained his college degree (from the University of Iowa) and after a brief stint in Chicago, moved to New Orleans where he began his career as a playwright. Arthur Rimbaud, Hart Crane, Frederico Garcia Lorca, and D.H. Lawrence were some of the writers who had a profound effect on Williams' work and in 1945, he scored his first commercial success with The Glass Menagerie. After The Glass Menagerie, Williams began writing his next work based on an image he had of a woman sitting alone in a chair by a window, bathed in moonlight. She had been jilted on the eve of her wedding. This image became the inspiration for Blanche DuBois, the central character of his new play, A Streetcar Named Desire which he finished in 1947. Williams not only used New Orleans as the setting for the drama but he also took the title from the famous 'Crescent City' street railway Desire. The Desire line was started by the New Orleans Railway and Light Co. in 1920 and the original route ran down such streets as Bourbon, Esplanade, and Elysian Fields which is the location of the Kowalski's apartment. by Jeff Stafford

Behind the Camera - A Streetcar Named Desire


For the Broadway production, several Hollywood stars were considered for the role of Stanley Kowalski, including John Garfield, Burt Lancaster, Van Heflin, Edmond O'Brien, John Lund, and Gregory Peck. Marlon Brando, still a relative newcomer to the stage, was originally rejected for the role because he was considered too young and too handsome. It was only because of Brando's agent, Edie Van Cleve, that Brando got a chance to read for the play's author, Tennessee Williams, who came away from the audition with the assurance that Brando was perfect for the part.

Elia Kazan directed the play A Streetcar Named Desire in New York, and when Hollywood knocked, he and most of the Broadway cast went with him, including Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter (who was almost replaced by Anne Baxter), Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, and Edna Thomas. Jessica Tandy, who had been an absolute smash as Blanche DuBois on Broadway, was replaced with Vivien Leigh. (Olivia de Havilland was offered the role first, but she ended up turning it down.) Studio executives did not think Tandy was a household name outside of the New York stage, so her role went to Leigh, who was famous for having played another colorful Southern belle in Gone With the Wind (1939). Leigh, in fact, was starring in a London presentation of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier, when she got the call from Hollywood to appear in the film version.

Tennessee Williams was brought in to write the screenplay for A Streetcar Named Desire in collaboration with Oscar Saul. Because of the Production Code that was still very much in effect, concessions and compromises had to be made in terms of the play's sexual content. References to the homosexuality of Blanche's dead hubby were deleted, and the film ends with Stella deciding to leave Stanley after he rapes her sister, unlike the play in which it's obvious that Stella will stand by her man. Other cuts took out dialogue that suggested Blanche was promiscuous and possibly even a nymphomaniac who was attracted to young boys. The censors also cut out much of the violent intensity of Stanley's assault on Blanche. A scene between Stella and Blanche lost crucial dialogue. Stella tells her sister, "Stanley's always smashed things. Why, on our wedding night, as soon as we came in here, he snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing the light bulbs with it." After Blanche is suitably shocked, Stella leans back with a strange grin and says, "I was sort of thrilled by it." This deleted line and other cuts were replaced in a 1993 restoration of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Of all the cuts suggested by the Production Code censors, the one that Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams were most adamantly against was the rape of Blanche. Kazan threatened to walk off the production if the scene was to be deleted. And in an August 1950 missive to Joseph Breen, the director of the Production Code office, Williams wrote, "The rape of Blanche by Stanley is a pivotal, integral truth in the play, without which the play loses its meaning, which is the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society. It is a poetic plea for comprehension..."

If the suggested cuts were not made, the Catholic Legion of Decency threatened to sink the box office prospects for A Streetcar Named Desire with a Condemned rating. Elia Kazan made a last ditch effort to get his un-cut version of A Streetcar Named Desire seen by the public. He asked Warner Bros. to try releasing the film in both his director's version and the edited version, with each clearly marked so audience members could choose for themselves. Warners said no. Kazan then campaigned for his director's cut to be screened at the Venice Film Festival. Again, Warners refused, since the Legion mandated that only their approved version could be released, and the studio didn't want to risk earning a Condemned rating which would hurt the film at the box office. As a result, Kazan's version would not be seen until Warners restored the film in 1993.

Director Elia Kazan worked closely with the production designer to create the authentically sordid look of A Streetcar Named Desire. They had the walls of Stanley and Stella's home built in small sections that could be removed, so that as Blanche feels more constricted and threatened inside the Kowalski home, the walls could literally move in and create a claustrophobic tension within the space.

There were clashes on the set between Vivien Leigh and her fellow cast members. Besides being the only major cast member not to have come from the Broadway production, Leigh was a classically trained actress, whereas most of the other actors studied under the "Stanislavsky Method," also known as Method acting. But Leigh was determined to make a good picture and create a great performance. She reportedly could not wait to get to the set every day, and was often the last lead actor to leave at day's end. There was some bad blood between Leigh and Marlon Brando at the beginning of the shoot, but these conflicts had nothing to do with acting style. Brando was simply annoyed at Leigh's typically British manners and stuffiness. The two acting giants eventually became friends as the shoot progressed. Brando's dead-on perfect imitations of Laurence Olivier's Henry V did much to break the ice between him and Leigh.

For the London stage production, Vivien Leigh bleached her famous brunette locks. But she wore bleached wigs throughout the production of A Streetcar Named Desire, since Blanche DuBois was supposed to have ragged-looking hair and look like someone who had led a rough life. Since she did not trust the American hairdressers, Leigh air-mailed her wigs back to London to be cleaned and redressed by wig-maker and theatrical entrepreneur Stanley Hall.

To prepare for the part of Stanley Kowalski, Brando began a daily workout routine at a local gym where he exercised with weights to build up his chest and biceps. Prior to this role, the actor was not known for his muscle-bound physique and when Truman Capote first observed Brando's transformation, he said "It was as if a stranger's head had been attached to the brawny body, as in certain counterfeit photographs."

Brando was paid a sizable $75,000 for his work, partially because of the insider scoop that hailed Brando's acting style as the most revolutionary thing to hit Hollywood since the Talkies. Vivien Leigh received a $100,000 salary, making her the highest paid English screen actress of the day.

At a test screening for A Streetcar Named Desire, Elia Kazan and producer Charlie Feldman received a shock: the audience laughed at Blanche DuBois. Ever observant of his actors, Kazan discovered that the audience was laughing specifically at the scene when the Young Collector, played by Wright King, reacts to Blanche's bold and yearning way in which she reaches for him from her door. Kazan eliminated King's reaction shots, which did the trick of quelling the unintended laughter.

by Scott McGee

Behind the Camera - A Streetcar Named Desire

For the Broadway production, several Hollywood stars were considered for the role of Stanley Kowalski, including John Garfield, Burt Lancaster, Van Heflin, Edmond O'Brien, John Lund, and Gregory Peck. Marlon Brando, still a relative newcomer to the stage, was originally rejected for the role because he was considered too young and too handsome. It was only because of Brando's agent, Edie Van Cleve, that Brando got a chance to read for the play's author, Tennessee Williams, who came away from the audition with the assurance that Brando was perfect for the part. Elia Kazan directed the play A Streetcar Named Desire in New York, and when Hollywood knocked, he and most of the Broadway cast went with him, including Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter (who was almost replaced by Anne Baxter), Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, and Edna Thomas. Jessica Tandy, who had been an absolute smash as Blanche DuBois on Broadway, was replaced with Vivien Leigh. (Olivia de Havilland was offered the role first, but she ended up turning it down.) Studio executives did not think Tandy was a household name outside of the New York stage, so her role went to Leigh, who was famous for having played another colorful Southern belle in Gone With the Wind (1939). Leigh, in fact, was starring in a London presentation of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier, when she got the call from Hollywood to appear in the film version. Tennessee Williams was brought in to write the screenplay for A Streetcar Named Desire in collaboration with Oscar Saul. Because of the Production Code that was still very much in effect, concessions and compromises had to be made in terms of the play's sexual content. References to the homosexuality of Blanche's dead hubby were deleted, and the film ends with Stella deciding to leave Stanley after he rapes her sister, unlike the play in which it's obvious that Stella will stand by her man. Other cuts took out dialogue that suggested Blanche was promiscuous and possibly even a nymphomaniac who was attracted to young boys. The censors also cut out much of the violent intensity of Stanley's assault on Blanche. A scene between Stella and Blanche lost crucial dialogue. Stella tells her sister, "Stanley's always smashed things. Why, on our wedding night, as soon as we came in here, he snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing the light bulbs with it." After Blanche is suitably shocked, Stella leans back with a strange grin and says, "I was sort of thrilled by it." This deleted line and other cuts were replaced in a 1993 restoration of A Streetcar Named Desire. Of all the cuts suggested by the Production Code censors, the one that Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams were most adamantly against was the rape of Blanche. Kazan threatened to walk off the production if the scene was to be deleted. And in an August 1950 missive to Joseph Breen, the director of the Production Code office, Williams wrote, "The rape of Blanche by Stanley is a pivotal, integral truth in the play, without which the play loses its meaning, which is the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society. It is a poetic plea for comprehension..." If the suggested cuts were not made, the Catholic Legion of Decency threatened to sink the box office prospects for A Streetcar Named Desire with a Condemned rating. Elia Kazan made a last ditch effort to get his un-cut version of A Streetcar Named Desire seen by the public. He asked Warner Bros. to try releasing the film in both his director's version and the edited version, with each clearly marked so audience members could choose for themselves. Warners said no. Kazan then campaigned for his director's cut to be screened at the Venice Film Festival. Again, Warners refused, since the Legion mandated that only their approved version could be released, and the studio didn't want to risk earning a Condemned rating which would hurt the film at the box office. As a result, Kazan's version would not be seen until Warners restored the film in 1993. Director Elia Kazan worked closely with the production designer to create the authentically sordid look of A Streetcar Named Desire. They had the walls of Stanley and Stella's home built in small sections that could be removed, so that as Blanche feels more constricted and threatened inside the Kowalski home, the walls could literally move in and create a claustrophobic tension within the space. There were clashes on the set between Vivien Leigh and her fellow cast members. Besides being the only major cast member not to have come from the Broadway production, Leigh was a classically trained actress, whereas most of the other actors studied under the "Stanislavsky Method," also known as Method acting. But Leigh was determined to make a good picture and create a great performance. She reportedly could not wait to get to the set every day, and was often the last lead actor to leave at day's end. There was some bad blood between Leigh and Marlon Brando at the beginning of the shoot, but these conflicts had nothing to do with acting style. Brando was simply annoyed at Leigh's typically British manners and stuffiness. The two acting giants eventually became friends as the shoot progressed. Brando's dead-on perfect imitations of Laurence Olivier's Henry V did much to break the ice between him and Leigh. For the London stage production, Vivien Leigh bleached her famous brunette locks. But she wore bleached wigs throughout the production of A Streetcar Named Desire, since Blanche DuBois was supposed to have ragged-looking hair and look like someone who had led a rough life. Since she did not trust the American hairdressers, Leigh air-mailed her wigs back to London to be cleaned and redressed by wig-maker and theatrical entrepreneur Stanley Hall. To prepare for the part of Stanley Kowalski, Brando began a daily workout routine at a local gym where he exercised with weights to build up his chest and biceps. Prior to this role, the actor was not known for his muscle-bound physique and when Truman Capote first observed Brando's transformation, he said "It was as if a stranger's head had been attached to the brawny body, as in certain counterfeit photographs." Brando was paid a sizable $75,000 for his work, partially because of the insider scoop that hailed Brando's acting style as the most revolutionary thing to hit Hollywood since the Talkies. Vivien Leigh received a $100,000 salary, making her the highest paid English screen actress of the day. At a test screening for A Streetcar Named Desire, Elia Kazan and producer Charlie Feldman received a shock: the audience laughed at Blanche DuBois. Ever observant of his actors, Kazan discovered that the audience was laughing specifically at the scene when the Young Collector, played by Wright King, reacts to Blanche's bold and yearning way in which she reaches for him from her door. Kazan eliminated King's reaction shots, which did the trick of quelling the unintended laughter. by Scott McGee

A Streetcar Named Desire


Blanche DuBois is an aging schoolteacher who leaves her hometown under mysterious circumstances and stays with her pregnant sister Stella in New Orleans. Stanley Kowalski, Stella's brutish husband, resents Blanche's presence and accuses her of squandering the family inheritance. He sets about tearing down the fragile world of illusion with which Blanche attempts to surround herself.

Although The Glass Menagerie (1950) was William's first commercial success, A Streetcar Named Desire became his signature play, full of visceral emotion and unnerving tragic realism. It earned Williams' his first Pulitzer Prize and the first of four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. In the stage version directed by Elia Kazan, Jessica Tandy played Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter was Stella, and Marlon Brando became the talk of Broadway for his performance as the primal Stanley Kowalski. The major principals and the same director were also recruited for the movie version with the exception of Tandy. Her coveted stage role of Blanche went instead to Vivien Leigh, who had starred in a London production of the play directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier.

Needless to say, the filming of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) was more problematic than the stage production. Vivien Leigh clashed with Elia Kazan over her interpretation of Blanche and also had problems connecting with her fellow cast members who were trained in the "Stanislavsky Method." At the time, Leigh's relationship with her husband was also starting to unravel and her immersion into the role of Blanche only accented her current manic-depressive state. "In many ways she was Blanche," Brando said in his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me."She was memorably beautiful, one of the great beauties of the screen, but she was also vulnerable, and her own life had been very much like that of Tennessee's wounded butterfly...Like Blanche, she slept with almost everybody and was beginning to dissolve mentally and to fray at the ends physically. I might have given her a tumble if it hadn't been for Larry Olivier."

While in production, Streetcar began to encounter resistance from the film industry's self-regulating production code office. References to the homosexuality of Blanche's deceased husband were removed and the harsh original ending was altered, with Stella rejecting her husband rather than remaining by his side. Still, the film encountered controversy during its release and Warner Brothers deleted an additional five minutes of material (it was later added back in a 1993 restoration) which included dialogue references to Blanche's past promiscuity and visual evidence of the lustful relationship between Stanley and Stella.

All the trouble was worth it in the end because A Streetcar Named Desire is now considered a landmark film in terms of the ensemble performances, Kazan's direction and the evocative art direction by Richard Day. The derelict New Orleans tenement is given a convincing presence through the accumulation of details such as crumbling stucco and bricks, peeling wallpaper, streaks of dirt on the walls and the dramatic courtyard staircase with wrought iron railings. In collaboration with Harry Stradling's evocative textures of light and shadow, the sets provide crucial atmospheric support for the actors' naturalistic performances. Academy Awards for the film included Best Actress (Leigh), Best Art Direction (Richard Day and George James Hopkins), Best Supporting Actor and Actress; the other Oscar® nominations included Best Actor (Brando), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Score.

Director: Elia Kazan
Producer: Charles K. Feldman
Screenplay: Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul
Cinematography: Harry Stradling
Art Direction: Richard Day (Oscar winner)
Set Decoration: George James Hopkins (Oscar winner)
Music: Alex North
Principal Cast: Vivian Leigh (Blanche DuBois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella), Karl Malden (Mitch), Rudy Bond (Steve Hubbell), Nick Dennis (Pablo Gonzales).
BW-125m.

by James Steffen & Jeff Stafford

A Streetcar Named Desire

Blanche DuBois is an aging schoolteacher who leaves her hometown under mysterious circumstances and stays with her pregnant sister Stella in New Orleans. Stanley Kowalski, Stella's brutish husband, resents Blanche's presence and accuses her of squandering the family inheritance. He sets about tearing down the fragile world of illusion with which Blanche attempts to surround herself. Although The Glass Menagerie (1950) was William's first commercial success, A Streetcar Named Desire became his signature play, full of visceral emotion and unnerving tragic realism. It earned Williams' his first Pulitzer Prize and the first of four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. In the stage version directed by Elia Kazan, Jessica Tandy played Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter was Stella, and Marlon Brando became the talk of Broadway for his performance as the primal Stanley Kowalski. The major principals and the same director were also recruited for the movie version with the exception of Tandy. Her coveted stage role of Blanche went instead to Vivien Leigh, who had starred in a London production of the play directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier. Needless to say, the filming of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) was more problematic than the stage production. Vivien Leigh clashed with Elia Kazan over her interpretation of Blanche and also had problems connecting with her fellow cast members who were trained in the "Stanislavsky Method." At the time, Leigh's relationship with her husband was also starting to unravel and her immersion into the role of Blanche only accented her current manic-depressive state. "In many ways she was Blanche," Brando said in his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me."She was memorably beautiful, one of the great beauties of the screen, but she was also vulnerable, and her own life had been very much like that of Tennessee's wounded butterfly...Like Blanche, she slept with almost everybody and was beginning to dissolve mentally and to fray at the ends physically. I might have given her a tumble if it hadn't been for Larry Olivier." While in production, Streetcar began to encounter resistance from the film industry's self-regulating production code office. References to the homosexuality of Blanche's deceased husband were removed and the harsh original ending was altered, with Stella rejecting her husband rather than remaining by his side. Still, the film encountered controversy during its release and Warner Brothers deleted an additional five minutes of material (it was later added back in a 1993 restoration) which included dialogue references to Blanche's past promiscuity and visual evidence of the lustful relationship between Stanley and Stella. All the trouble was worth it in the end because A Streetcar Named Desire is now considered a landmark film in terms of the ensemble performances, Kazan's direction and the evocative art direction by Richard Day. The derelict New Orleans tenement is given a convincing presence through the accumulation of details such as crumbling stucco and bricks, peeling wallpaper, streaks of dirt on the walls and the dramatic courtyard staircase with wrought iron railings. In collaboration with Harry Stradling's evocative textures of light and shadow, the sets provide crucial atmospheric support for the actors' naturalistic performances. Academy Awards for the film included Best Actress (Leigh), Best Art Direction (Richard Day and George James Hopkins), Best Supporting Actor and Actress; the other Oscar® nominations included Best Actor (Brando), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Score. Director: Elia Kazan Producer: Charles K. Feldman Screenplay: Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul Cinematography: Harry Stradling Art Direction: Richard Day (Oscar winner) Set Decoration: George James Hopkins (Oscar winner) Music: Alex North Principal Cast: Vivian Leigh (Blanche DuBois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella), Karl Malden (Mitch), Rudy Bond (Steve Hubbell), Nick Dennis (Pablo Gonzales). BW-125m. by James Steffen & Jeff Stafford

Critics' Corner - A Streetcar Named Desire


A Streetcar Named Desire grossed more than $4 million at the box office which was a considerable chunk of change in 1951. It was also a popular favorite among the major film critics.

Some critics referred to Marlon Brando's style of acting and carnal attractiveness as "the torn T-shirt school of acting." Brando's fashion statement, of wearing only T-shirts around the house, caused a national surge in undershirt sales.

The Hollywood Reporter thought that both A Streetcar Named Desire and another contemporary film, A Place in the Sun (1951), "would land on their nose when they got out in general release...because of the downbeat type of stories and because those stories were made so realistic." Nevertheless, The New York Film Critics Association awarded A Streetcar Named Desire as the Best Picture of the year.

While not a critical organization, the Catholic Legion of Decency certainly had much to say about A Streetcar Named Desire: the Legion condemned it, since "the entire tone of the picture is 'desire,'" with "no mitigating circumstances whatsoever." In their not-so humble opinion, the film was beyond redeeming, that is, unless substantial cuts were made to the film before its national release. After much debate over artistic license and moral turpitude, memo blasting, and cinematic compromising, three to four minutes of footage was excised from the final screen time. The film was released to the public with the Legion's seal of approval. Although the film still shocked many patrons, it did very well at the box office. But its biggest accomplishment was opening the doors further for the Production Code Administration's acceptance of more racy and sensational fare.

A Streetcar Named Desire earned a slew of Academy Award nominations. Vivien Leigh won her second Best Actress Oscar for her work, while Kim Hunter and Karl Malden each picked up respective Oscars for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. This was the first time a motion picture won three awards for acting. Richard Day won the Oscar for Art Direction, and George James Hopkins took home the little golden guy for Set Decoration. Marlon Brando was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen (1951). A Streetcar Named Desire was, of course, nominated for Best Picture, but it lost to An American in Paris (1951). The film also earned nominations for Best Director, Best Score, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Recording, and Best Costume Design. After the film became a big hit at the Oscars, Jack Warner scurried to get A Streetcar Named Desire in more theaters, especially in the Los Angeles area, where it was scheduled to leave theaters a week after the awards to make way for Abbott and Costello in Jack and the Beanstalk (1952).

Humphrey Bogart received a pleasant surprise on March 20, 1952, at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award, Bogart did not expect to win, even though his performance in The African Queen was some of his best work. Bogie and the rest of Hollywood simply expected the sensational Marlon Brando to win for A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando lost, and Bogie won his first and only Oscar. The folks over at MGM were caught by surprise as well, since their entry, An American in Paris, was expected to lose the Best Picture award to either A Streetcar Named Desire or A Place in the Sun. But the lavish musical extravaganza walked off with Oscar that night, becoming the third musical in Oscar history to win Best Picture. MGM ran a congratulatory ad in the trade papers that had Leo the Lion, MGM's logo mascot, looking slightly embarrassed and off-guard, saying, "Honestly, I was just standing 'in the Sun' waiting for 'A Streetcar.'"

Influential film critic Pauline Kael raved about Vivien Leigh's "rare" performance, one "that can truly be said to evoke pity and terror." Praising both Leigh and Marlon Brando as giving "two of the greatest performances ever put on film," she was equally praiseworthy toward Tennessee Williams' screenplay, which she wrote had "some of the finest dialogue ever written by an American..."

Film reviewer Roger Ebert has said that one could make the case that "no performance had more influence on modern film acting styles than Brando's work as Stanley Kowalski, Tennessee Williams' rough, smelly, sexually charged hero."

by Scott McGee

Critics' Corner - A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire grossed more than $4 million at the box office which was a considerable chunk of change in 1951. It was also a popular favorite among the major film critics. Some critics referred to Marlon Brando's style of acting and carnal attractiveness as "the torn T-shirt school of acting." Brando's fashion statement, of wearing only T-shirts around the house, caused a national surge in undershirt sales. The Hollywood Reporter thought that both A Streetcar Named Desire and another contemporary film, A Place in the Sun (1951), "would land on their nose when they got out in general release...because of the downbeat type of stories and because those stories were made so realistic." Nevertheless, The New York Film Critics Association awarded A Streetcar Named Desire as the Best Picture of the year. While not a critical organization, the Catholic Legion of Decency certainly had much to say about A Streetcar Named Desire: the Legion condemned it, since "the entire tone of the picture is 'desire,'" with "no mitigating circumstances whatsoever." In their not-so humble opinion, the film was beyond redeeming, that is, unless substantial cuts were made to the film before its national release. After much debate over artistic license and moral turpitude, memo blasting, and cinematic compromising, three to four minutes of footage was excised from the final screen time. The film was released to the public with the Legion's seal of approval. Although the film still shocked many patrons, it did very well at the box office. But its biggest accomplishment was opening the doors further for the Production Code Administration's acceptance of more racy and sensational fare. A Streetcar Named Desire earned a slew of Academy Award nominations. Vivien Leigh won her second Best Actress Oscar for her work, while Kim Hunter and Karl Malden each picked up respective Oscars for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. This was the first time a motion picture won three awards for acting. Richard Day won the Oscar for Art Direction, and George James Hopkins took home the little golden guy for Set Decoration. Marlon Brando was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen (1951). A Streetcar Named Desire was, of course, nominated for Best Picture, but it lost to An American in Paris (1951). The film also earned nominations for Best Director, Best Score, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Recording, and Best Costume Design. After the film became a big hit at the Oscars, Jack Warner scurried to get A Streetcar Named Desire in more theaters, especially in the Los Angeles area, where it was scheduled to leave theaters a week after the awards to make way for Abbott and Costello in Jack and the Beanstalk (1952). Humphrey Bogart received a pleasant surprise on March 20, 1952, at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award, Bogart did not expect to win, even though his performance in The African Queen was some of his best work. Bogie and the rest of Hollywood simply expected the sensational Marlon Brando to win for A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando lost, and Bogie won his first and only Oscar. The folks over at MGM were caught by surprise as well, since their entry, An American in Paris, was expected to lose the Best Picture award to either A Streetcar Named Desire or A Place in the Sun. But the lavish musical extravaganza walked off with Oscar that night, becoming the third musical in Oscar history to win Best Picture. MGM ran a congratulatory ad in the trade papers that had Leo the Lion, MGM's logo mascot, looking slightly embarrassed and off-guard, saying, "Honestly, I was just standing 'in the Sun' waiting for 'A Streetcar.'" Influential film critic Pauline Kael raved about Vivien Leigh's "rare" performance, one "that can truly be said to evoke pity and terror." Praising both Leigh and Marlon Brando as giving "two of the greatest performances ever put on film," she was equally praiseworthy toward Tennessee Williams' screenplay, which she wrote had "some of the finest dialogue ever written by an American..." Film reviewer Roger Ebert has said that one could make the case that "no performance had more influence on modern film acting styles than Brando's work as Stanley Kowalski, Tennessee Williams' rough, smelly, sexually charged hero." by Scott McGee

The Tennessee Williams Collection - Tennessee Williams' South
Revealing Rarely-Seen Feature Documentary Available as Part of Boxed-Set Collection


The Tennessee Williams Film Collection -- an eight-disc DVD set containing the acclaimed film adaptations of one of America's greatest playwrights - debuts April 11 from Warner Home Video. The collection features the long-awaited DVD debuts of Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone along with a newly remastered two-disc Special Edition of A Streetcar Named Desire and single disc Deluxe Edition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Also included is a bonus disc, the rarely seen feature-length documentary, Tennessee Williams' South.

Bonus materials in this collection include new making-of documentaries for each film, plus expert commentaries, never before seen outtakes, rare screen tests with Brando, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, a radio broadcast with Brando from 1947 and vintage featurettes. Exclusive to the collection is a special bonus disc, Tennessee Williams' South, a feature-length vintage documentary that includes remarkable interviews with Williams in and around New Orleans, plus great scenes from Williams' plays especially filmed for this documentary, including rare footage of Jessica Tandy as Blanche (the role she created in A Streetcar Named Desire) and Maureen Stapleton as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie.

Williams -- from whose pen came stunning unforgettable characters, powerful portraits of the human condition and an incredible vision of life in the South -- stands with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller as one of the three quintessentially eminent American playwrights. Thomas Lanier Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911 and his southern upbringing was reflected in the subjects, often based on family members, that he chose to write about. He published his first short story at the age of sixteen and his first great Broadway success was The Glass Menagerie, starring Laurette Taylor that won the New York Drama Critics' Circle award in 1945 as the best play of the season.

Williams himself often commented on the violence in his own work, which to him seemed part of the human condition; he was conscious, also, of the violence in his plays. Critics who attacked the "excesses" of Williams' work often were making thinly veiled assaults on his sexuality. Homosexuality was not discussed openly at that time but in Williams' plays the themes of desire and isolation show, among other things, the influence of having grown up gay in a homophobic world.

A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire: 2-Disc Special Edition is a celebration of what is, perhaps, Williams' greatest masterpiece. This edition features three minutes of footage that was deleted from the final release version ( and thought lost until its rediscovery in the early 1990s) that underscores, among other things, the sexual tension between Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando), and Stella Kowalski's (Kim Hunter) passion for husband Stanley. The Legion of Decency required these scenes be cut in order for the film to be released.

A Streetcar Named Desire depicts a culture clash between Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh), a pretentious, fading relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando), a rising member of the industrial, inner-city immigrant class. Blanche is a Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask her nymphomania and alcoholism. Arriving at the house of her sister Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter), Stella fears Blanche's arrival will upset the balance of her relationship with her husband Stanley, a primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual force of nature. He dominates Stella in every way, and she tolerates his offensive crudeness and lack of gentility largely because of her sexual need for him. Stanley's friend and Blanche's would-be suitor Mitch (Karl Malden) is similarly trampled along Blanche and Stanley's collision course. Their final, inevitable confrontation results in Blanche's mental annihilation.

The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Karl Malden), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh) , Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Hunter), and Best Art Direction -- Set Decoration, Black-and-White. It was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White, Best Director, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Picture, Best Sound Recording and Best Writing, Screenplay. In 1999 the film was selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Special Features Disc One:
- Commentary by Karl Malden and film historian Rudy Behlmer
- Elia Kazan movie trailer gallery
- Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

Special Features Disc Two:
- Movie and audio outtakes
- Marlon Brando screen test
- Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey documentary
- 5 new insightful documentaries:
o A Streetcar on Broadway
o A Streetcar in Hollywood
o Desire and Censorship
o North and the South
o An Actor Named Brando

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: REMASTERED DELUXE EDITION

The raw emotions and crackling dialogue of Tennessee Williams' 1955 Pulitzer Prize play rumble like a thunderstorm in this film version whose fiery performances and grown-up themes made it one of 1958's top box-office hits.

Paul Newman earned his first Oscar® nomination as troubled ex-sports hero Brick. In a performance that marked a transition to richer adult roles, Elizabeth Taylor snagged her second. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Also starring Burl Ives (repeating his Broadway triumph as mendacity-loathing Big Daddy), Judith Anderson and Jack Carson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof sizzles.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a Southern family in crisis, focusing on the turbulent relationship between Maggie the Cat (Elizabeth Taylor) and Brick (Paul Newman), and their interaction with Brick's family over the course of a weekend gathering at the family estate. Brick, an aging football hero, has neglected his wife and further infuriates her by ignoring his brother's attempts to gain control of the family fortune. Although Big Daddy (Burl Ives) has cancer and will not celebrate another birthday, his doctors and his family have conspired to keep this information from him and his wife. His relatives are in attendance and attempt to present themselves in the best possible light, hoping to receive the definitive share of Big Daddy's enormous wealth.

Oscar® nominations were for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Newman); Best Actress (Taylor), Best Director (Richard Brooks) and Best Cinematography.

Special Features:
- Commentary by biographer Donald Spoto, author of The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams
- New featurette Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Somebody Up There Likes Him
- Theatrical trailer
- Languages: English & Francais
- Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

Sweet Bird of Youth
Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, Madeleine Sherwood and Ed Begley recreated their stage roles in this bravura film version which featured Shirley Knight. Begley won Best Supporting Oscar® and Page and Knight were nominated.

Sex, money, hypocrisy, financial and emotional blackmail are familiar elements in Williams' literary realm and combine powerfully in Sweet Bird of Youth as Chance (Newman) battles his private demons in a desperate bid to redeem his wasted life and recapture his lost sweet bird of youth.

Handsome Chance Wayne (Newman) never found the Hollywood stardom he craved, but he's always been a star with the ladies. Now, back in his sleepy, sweaty Gulf Coast hometown, he's involved with two of them: a washed-up, drug-and-vodka-addled movie queen. And the girl he left behind…and in trouble.

Special Features:
- New featurette Sweet Bird of Youth: Broken Dreams and Damaged People
- Never-before-seen Geraldine Page and Rip Torn screen test
- Theatrical trailer
- Languages: English & Francais
- Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

Night of the Iguana
With an outstanding cast headed by Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr, direction by legendary John Huston and a steamy screenplay, Night of the Iguana pulses with conflicting passions and a surprising edge of knowing humor. Winner of one Academy Award and nominated for three more, the film explores the dark night of one man's soul - and illuminates the difference between dreams and the bittersweet surrender to reality.

In a remote Mexican seacoast town, a defrocked Episcopal priest (Richard Burton), ruined by alcoholism and insanity, struggles to pull his shattered life together. And the three women in his life - an earthy hotel owner (Ava Gardner), an ethereal artist (Deborah Kerr) and a hot-eyed, willful teenager (Sue Lyons) - can help save him. Or destroy him.

Shot just south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the tension-filled shoot put that small city on the map. Due in no small part to the presence of non-cast member Elizabeth Taylor, the shooting of the film during 1963 attracted large numbers of paparazzi, made international headlines, and in turn made Puerto Vallarta world-famous.

Special Features:
- Commentary by John Huston
- New featurette The Night of the Iguana: Dangerous Creatures
- Vintage featurette On the Trail of the Iguana
- 1964 premiere highlights
- Theatrical trailers
- Languages: English & Francais
- Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

Baby Doll
With Baby Doll, as with A Streetcar Named Desire, director Elia Kazan and writer Tennessee Williams broke new ground in depicting sexual situations - incorporating themes of lust, sexual repression, seduction, and the corruption of the human soul.

Time magazine called the film "just possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited." The film caused a sensation in 1956, also earning condemnation by the then-powerful Legion of Decency and causing Cardinal Spellman to denounce Doll from his pulpit.

Baby Doll earned laurels too: four Academy Award nominations, Golden Globe Awards for Baker and Kazan and a British Academy Award for Wallace. Watch this funny, steamy classic that, as Leonard Martin's Movie Guide proclaims, "still sizzles."

The film centers around cotton-mill owner Archie (Karl Malden) who's going through tough times but at least has his luscious, child-bride (Carroll Baker) with whom he'll be allowed to consummate when she's 20. Rival Silva Vaccaro (Eli Wallach) thinks Archie may have set fire to his mill and takes an erotic form of Sicilian vengeance.

Special Features:
- New featurette Baby Doll: See No Evil
- Baby Doll trailer gallery
- Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Widow Karen Stone is wealthy and beautiful. Her acting successes are a memory. She lives alone in a luxury apartment overlooking the Roman steps where romantic liaisons take place. And waits. She soon starts an affair with the young and expensive Paolo.

Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty are lady and lover in this tender adaptation of a Tennessee Williams novella directed by Broadway veteran Jose Quintero. Leigh won her second Oscar® for Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire; their reteaming creates a similar spell - at once romantic, sinister and nearly explosive. Adding spice to the combustion of the two leads are Best Supporting Actress Oscar® nominee Lotte Lenya as a Contessa who "arranges” romances in which she has a financial stake and Coral Browne as Karen's savvy best friend.

Special Features:
- New featurette The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone: I Can't Imagine Tomorrow
- Theatrical trailer
- Languages: English & Francais
- Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

The Tennessee Williams Collection - Tennessee Williams' South Revealing Rarely-Seen Feature Documentary Available as Part of Boxed-Set Collection

The Tennessee Williams Film Collection -- an eight-disc DVD set containing the acclaimed film adaptations of one of America's greatest playwrights - debuts April 11 from Warner Home Video. The collection features the long-awaited DVD debuts of Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone along with a newly remastered two-disc Special Edition of A Streetcar Named Desire and single disc Deluxe Edition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Also included is a bonus disc, the rarely seen feature-length documentary, Tennessee Williams' South. Bonus materials in this collection include new making-of documentaries for each film, plus expert commentaries, never before seen outtakes, rare screen tests with Brando, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, a radio broadcast with Brando from 1947 and vintage featurettes. Exclusive to the collection is a special bonus disc, Tennessee Williams' South, a feature-length vintage documentary that includes remarkable interviews with Williams in and around New Orleans, plus great scenes from Williams' plays especially filmed for this documentary, including rare footage of Jessica Tandy as Blanche (the role she created in A Streetcar Named Desire) and Maureen Stapleton as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. Williams -- from whose pen came stunning unforgettable characters, powerful portraits of the human condition and an incredible vision of life in the South -- stands with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller as one of the three quintessentially eminent American playwrights. Thomas Lanier Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911 and his southern upbringing was reflected in the subjects, often based on family members, that he chose to write about. He published his first short story at the age of sixteen and his first great Broadway success was The Glass Menagerie, starring Laurette Taylor that won the New York Drama Critics' Circle award in 1945 as the best play of the season. Williams himself often commented on the violence in his own work, which to him seemed part of the human condition; he was conscious, also, of the violence in his plays. Critics who attacked the "excesses" of Williams' work often were making thinly veiled assaults on his sexuality. Homosexuality was not discussed openly at that time but in Williams' plays the themes of desire and isolation show, among other things, the influence of having grown up gay in a homophobic world. A Streetcar Named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire: 2-Disc Special Edition is a celebration of what is, perhaps, Williams' greatest masterpiece. This edition features three minutes of footage that was deleted from the final release version ( and thought lost until its rediscovery in the early 1990s) that underscores, among other things, the sexual tension between Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando), and Stella Kowalski's (Kim Hunter) passion for husband Stanley. The Legion of Decency required these scenes be cut in order for the film to be released. A Streetcar Named Desire depicts a culture clash between Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh), a pretentious, fading relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando), a rising member of the industrial, inner-city immigrant class. Blanche is a Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask her nymphomania and alcoholism. Arriving at the house of her sister Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter), Stella fears Blanche's arrival will upset the balance of her relationship with her husband Stanley, a primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual force of nature. He dominates Stella in every way, and she tolerates his offensive crudeness and lack of gentility largely because of her sexual need for him. Stanley's friend and Blanche's would-be suitor Mitch (Karl Malden) is similarly trampled along Blanche and Stanley's collision course. Their final, inevitable confrontation results in Blanche's mental annihilation. The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Karl Malden), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh) , Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Hunter), and Best Art Direction -- Set Decoration, Black-and-White. It was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White, Best Director, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Picture, Best Sound Recording and Best Writing, Screenplay. In 1999 the film was selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. Special Features Disc One: - Commentary by Karl Malden and film historian Rudy Behlmer - Elia Kazan movie trailer gallery - Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only) Special Features Disc Two: - Movie and audio outtakes - Marlon Brando screen test - Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey documentary - 5 new insightful documentaries: o A Streetcar on Broadway o A Streetcar in Hollywood o Desire and Censorship o North and the South o An Actor Named Brando Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: REMASTERED DELUXE EDITION The raw emotions and crackling dialogue of Tennessee Williams' 1955 Pulitzer Prize play rumble like a thunderstorm in this film version whose fiery performances and grown-up themes made it one of 1958's top box-office hits. Paul Newman earned his first Oscar® nomination as troubled ex-sports hero Brick. In a performance that marked a transition to richer adult roles, Elizabeth Taylor snagged her second. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Also starring Burl Ives (repeating his Broadway triumph as mendacity-loathing Big Daddy), Judith Anderson and Jack Carson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof sizzles. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a Southern family in crisis, focusing on the turbulent relationship between Maggie the Cat (Elizabeth Taylor) and Brick (Paul Newman), and their interaction with Brick's family over the course of a weekend gathering at the family estate. Brick, an aging football hero, has neglected his wife and further infuriates her by ignoring his brother's attempts to gain control of the family fortune. Although Big Daddy (Burl Ives) has cancer and will not celebrate another birthday, his doctors and his family have conspired to keep this information from him and his wife. His relatives are in attendance and attempt to present themselves in the best possible light, hoping to receive the definitive share of Big Daddy's enormous wealth. Oscar® nominations were for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Newman); Best Actress (Taylor), Best Director (Richard Brooks) and Best Cinematography. Special Features: - Commentary by biographer Donald Spoto, author of The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams - New featurette Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Somebody Up There Likes Him - Theatrical trailer - Languages: English & Francais - Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only) Sweet Bird of Youth Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, Madeleine Sherwood and Ed Begley recreated their stage roles in this bravura film version which featured Shirley Knight. Begley won Best Supporting Oscar® and Page and Knight were nominated. Sex, money, hypocrisy, financial and emotional blackmail are familiar elements in Williams' literary realm and combine powerfully in Sweet Bird of Youth as Chance (Newman) battles his private demons in a desperate bid to redeem his wasted life and recapture his lost sweet bird of youth. Handsome Chance Wayne (Newman) never found the Hollywood stardom he craved, but he's always been a star with the ladies. Now, back in his sleepy, sweaty Gulf Coast hometown, he's involved with two of them: a washed-up, drug-and-vodka-addled movie queen. And the girl he left behind…and in trouble. Special Features: - New featurette Sweet Bird of Youth: Broken Dreams and Damaged People - Never-before-seen Geraldine Page and Rip Torn screen test - Theatrical trailer - Languages: English & Francais - Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only) Night of the Iguana With an outstanding cast headed by Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr, direction by legendary John Huston and a steamy screenplay, Night of the Iguana pulses with conflicting passions and a surprising edge of knowing humor. Winner of one Academy Award and nominated for three more, the film explores the dark night of one man's soul - and illuminates the difference between dreams and the bittersweet surrender to reality. In a remote Mexican seacoast town, a defrocked Episcopal priest (Richard Burton), ruined by alcoholism and insanity, struggles to pull his shattered life together. And the three women in his life - an earthy hotel owner (Ava Gardner), an ethereal artist (Deborah Kerr) and a hot-eyed, willful teenager (Sue Lyons) - can help save him. Or destroy him. Shot just south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the tension-filled shoot put that small city on the map. Due in no small part to the presence of non-cast member Elizabeth Taylor, the shooting of the film during 1963 attracted large numbers of paparazzi, made international headlines, and in turn made Puerto Vallarta world-famous. Special Features: - Commentary by John Huston - New featurette The Night of the Iguana: Dangerous Creatures - Vintage featurette On the Trail of the Iguana - 1964 premiere highlights - Theatrical trailers - Languages: English & Francais - Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only) Baby Doll With Baby Doll, as with A Streetcar Named Desire, director Elia Kazan and writer Tennessee Williams broke new ground in depicting sexual situations - incorporating themes of lust, sexual repression, seduction, and the corruption of the human soul. Time magazine called the film "just possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited." The film caused a sensation in 1956, also earning condemnation by the then-powerful Legion of Decency and causing Cardinal Spellman to denounce Doll from his pulpit. Baby Doll earned laurels too: four Academy Award nominations, Golden Globe Awards for Baker and Kazan and a British Academy Award for Wallace. Watch this funny, steamy classic that, as Leonard Martin's Movie Guide proclaims, "still sizzles." The film centers around cotton-mill owner Archie (Karl Malden) who's going through tough times but at least has his luscious, child-bride (Carroll Baker) with whom he'll be allowed to consummate when she's 20. Rival Silva Vaccaro (Eli Wallach) thinks Archie may have set fire to his mill and takes an erotic form of Sicilian vengeance. Special Features: - New featurette Baby Doll: See No Evil - Baby Doll trailer gallery - Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only) The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone Widow Karen Stone is wealthy and beautiful. Her acting successes are a memory. She lives alone in a luxury apartment overlooking the Roman steps where romantic liaisons take place. And waits. She soon starts an affair with the young and expensive Paolo. Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty are lady and lover in this tender adaptation of a Tennessee Williams novella directed by Broadway veteran Jose Quintero. Leigh won her second Oscar® for Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire; their reteaming creates a similar spell - at once romantic, sinister and nearly explosive. Adding spice to the combustion of the two leads are Best Supporting Actress Oscar® nominee Lotte Lenya as a Contessa who "arranges” romances in which she has a financial stake and Coral Browne as Karen's savvy best friend. Special Features: - New featurette The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone: I Can't Imagine Tomorrow - Theatrical trailer - Languages: English & Francais - Subtitles: English, Francais & Espanol (feature film only)

TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter


KIM HUNTER, 1922-2002

Kim Hunter, the versatile, distinguished actress who won the Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal as the long-suffering Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and appeared as Dr. Zira in three Planet of the Apes movies, died in her Greenwich Village apartment from an apparent heart attack on September 11, 2002. She was 79.

Born Janet Cole in Detroit on November 12, 1922, where her mother was a concert pianist, she made her professional debut at 17 with a small theatre company in Miami. She gained notice immediately with her strong voice and alluring presence, and eventually studied at the Actors' Studio in New York.

She made a striking film debut in an eerie, low-budget RKO horror film, The Seventh Victim (1943), produced by Val Lewton. She played a similar ingenue role in another stylish cult flick, When Strangers Meet (1944) - a film directed by William Castle and notable for featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his first starring roles. Hunter's big break came two years later when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cast her in their splendid romantic fantasy, Stairway to Heaven (1946).

Despite her growing popularity as a screen actress, Hunter returned to the stage to make her Broadway debut as Stella in Tennessee Williams'A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). When Elia Kazan adapted the production for the silver screen, she continued her role as Stella opposite Marlon Brando, and won an Oscar as best supporting actress. A few more film roles followed, but sadly her screen career entered a lull in the late 1950s, after Hunter, a liberal Democrat, was listed as a communist sympathizer by Red Channels, a red-hunting booklet that influenced hiring by studios and the Television networks. Kim was blacklisted from both mediums despite never having been labeled a Communist, yet as a strong believer in civil rights she signed a lot of petitions and was a sponsor of a 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. She was widely praised in the industry for her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of Red Channels, and helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist associations.

Hunter spent the next few years on the stage and didn't make a strong impression again in films until she was cast as Dr. Zira in the Planet of the Apes (1968), as a simian psychiatrist in the classic science fiction film. The success of that film encouraged her to continue playing the same character in two back-to-back sequels - Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Hunter spent the remainder of her career on the stage and television, but she a terrific cameo role in Clint Eastwood's Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997), one of her last films. She is survived by her daughter Kathryn, from her first marriage to William Baldwin, and her son Sean, from her marriage to actor and producer Robert Emmett.

By Michael T. Toole

TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002

Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989.

KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002

The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas."

Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993).

Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry.

Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia.

By Lang Thompson

TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter

KIM HUNTER, 1922-2002 Kim Hunter, the versatile, distinguished actress who won the Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal as the long-suffering Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and appeared as Dr. Zira in three Planet of the Apes movies, died in her Greenwich Village apartment from an apparent heart attack on September 11, 2002. She was 79. Born Janet Cole in Detroit on November 12, 1922, where her mother was a concert pianist, she made her professional debut at 17 with a small theatre company in Miami. She gained notice immediately with her strong voice and alluring presence, and eventually studied at the Actors' Studio in New York. She made a striking film debut in an eerie, low-budget RKO horror film, The Seventh Victim (1943), produced by Val Lewton. She played a similar ingenue role in another stylish cult flick, When Strangers Meet (1944) - a film directed by William Castle and notable for featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his first starring roles. Hunter's big break came two years later when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cast her in their splendid romantic fantasy, Stairway to Heaven (1946). Despite her growing popularity as a screen actress, Hunter returned to the stage to make her Broadway debut as Stella in Tennessee Williams'A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). When Elia Kazan adapted the production for the silver screen, she continued her role as Stella opposite Marlon Brando, and won an Oscar as best supporting actress. A few more film roles followed, but sadly her screen career entered a lull in the late 1950s, after Hunter, a liberal Democrat, was listed as a communist sympathizer by Red Channels, a red-hunting booklet that influenced hiring by studios and the Television networks. Kim was blacklisted from both mediums despite never having been labeled a Communist, yet as a strong believer in civil rights she signed a lot of petitions and was a sponsor of a 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. She was widely praised in the industry for her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of Red Channels, and helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist associations. Hunter spent the next few years on the stage and didn't make a strong impression again in films until she was cast as Dr. Zira in the Planet of the Apes (1968), as a simian psychiatrist in the classic science fiction film. The success of that film encouraged her to continue playing the same character in two back-to-back sequels - Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Hunter spent the remainder of her career on the stage and television, but she a terrific cameo role in Clint Eastwood's Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997), one of her last films. She is survived by her daughter Kathryn, from her first marriage to William Baldwin, and her son Sean, from her marriage to actor and producer Robert Emmett. By Michael T. Toole TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002 Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989. KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002 The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas." Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993). Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry. Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia. By Lang Thompson

ELIA KAZAN, 1909-2003


Elia Kazan, one of the modern greats of American film and stage, and whose tremendous artistry in both mediums were overshadowed by his testimony to HUAC during the '50s, died on September 28 of natural causes at his home in New York City. He was 94.

Kazan was born Elias Kazanjoglou in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) on September 7, 1909. In 1913, he immigrated with his parents to New York City, where his father sold rugs for a living. At age 17, Kazan enrolled in Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. After graduation, he went to Yale University's School of Drama, where he studied musical theater and began acting and directing plays.

In 1932, Kazan joined New York's socialist minded Group Theatre as an actor and assistant manager. At the time, the Group Theatre was the epicenter for radical thought and activity in the arts. Kazan befriended such notable theater personalities as Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, Stella Adler and Clifford Odets. Kazan even joined the Communist party for two years (1934-36), before resigning because of his disillusionment with its leadership.

After his stint in New York, Kazan went to Hollywood, where he found work as an actor in two Warner Brothers films: City for Conquest (1940) and Blues in the Night (1941). He made his Broadway debut in 1942, directing Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth with Tallulah Bankhead; Fredric March and Montgomery Clift. It was a huge hit. After that success, it was back to Hollywood, this time as a director for Darryl F. Zanuck at 20th Century Fox. Kazan's directorial film debut was the poignant A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), based on Betty Smith's bestseller about tenement life. From the beginning, Kazan proved his talent for enticing natural performances from his actors; James Dunn and Peggy Ann Garner both won deserved Oscars for their work in this film.

1947 would prove to be a breakthrough year for Kazan. He notched two huge hits on Broadway: Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Miller's All My Sons; co-founded the Actors Studio with Lee Strasburg, a leading proponent of "Method" acting that is still widely practiced today; and two potent treatise on anti-Semitism Boomerang and Gentleman's Agreement, the latter earning Kazan his first Oscar. Kazan's next few films were not among his best, but they were well crafted and interesting: Pinky (1949), the story of a light-skinned black woman who passes for white (hampered by Jeanne Crain in the lead); and Panic in the Streets (1950), a taut thriller about efforts to contain a burgeoning epidemic which was shot entirely on the streets of New Orleans.

It wasn't until he brought Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire to the big screen that Kazan had a major impact on American cinema. Featuring an explosive Marlon Brando in the role of Stanley Kowalski, the films' raw sensuality brought a stark and galvanizing realism to cinema that simply hadn't happened before. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) not only earned Kazan another Oscar nod for Best Director, but it made a star out of Brando and earned best acting honors for the rest of the cast: Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden and Kim Hunter.

It was around this time that Kazan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). On April 10, 1952, he informed on former associates from the Group Theater, including Clifford Odets, Lillian Hellman, John Garfield, and Lee and Paula Strasberg. Despite formal protests from many acquaintances from his past, including Odets and Arthur Miller, Kazan remained unapologetic to the end for his actions, and he would remain questioned by social critics for the remainder of his life.

Kazan continued his association with Brando in Viva Zapata! (1952), and then in the powerful On the Waterfront (1954), which took eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and a second Best Director Oscar for Kazan. Budd Schulberg's incisive drama about the corruption of longshoremen's unions was the perfect subject matter for Kazan's ever trenchant approach to social consciousness and cinematic naturalism.

Kazan's next effort, based on John Steinbeck's East of Eden (1955) featured James Dean in his first major role. Kazan's continued ability to draw such raw, vulnerable performances out of his actors (as exemplified by Dean) drew critical praise from all quarters, and the film still stands today as one of the most searing looks of a family in conflict.

After East of Eden, Kazan would never quite scale the artistic heights of his previous movies, yet he still came up with some first-rate cinema: the steamy, boldly suggestive Baby Doll (1956), with a thumb sucking Carol Baker as a provocative child bride; an early, superior look at populist demagoguery A Face in the Crowd (1957) with Andy Griffith giving the performance of his career as a corrupt media darling; the moving coming-of-age drama Splendor in the Grass (1961) starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty; the evocative America, America (1963), based on the experiences of Kazan's own uncle's immigration experience; and his final film The Last Tycoon (1976) an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished final novel, which starred Robert De Niro.

Kazan was in retirement for several years, but he made a notorious return to the limelight when in 1999, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' decided to give Kazan an honorary Oscar® for lifetime achievement. It was a decision met with vocal protests from aging blacklisted artists as well as younger activists. At the time of the presentation, several audience members would not stand up as a form of protest. Still, Kazan attended the ceremonies, thanked friends and family, avoided political discussion, and went home, a most dignified handling of a very controversial moment. Besides his widow, Frances Rudge, Kazan is survived by his sons, Leo, Marco, and Nicholas, a screenwriter who was nominated for an Oscar for Reversal of Fortune (1990); daughters Judy and Katharine; and several grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

ELIA KAZAN, 1909-2003

Elia Kazan, one of the modern greats of American film and stage, and whose tremendous artistry in both mediums were overshadowed by his testimony to HUAC during the '50s, died on September 28 of natural causes at his home in New York City. He was 94. Kazan was born Elias Kazanjoglou in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) on September 7, 1909. In 1913, he immigrated with his parents to New York City, where his father sold rugs for a living. At age 17, Kazan enrolled in Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. After graduation, he went to Yale University's School of Drama, where he studied musical theater and began acting and directing plays. In 1932, Kazan joined New York's socialist minded Group Theatre as an actor and assistant manager. At the time, the Group Theatre was the epicenter for radical thought and activity in the arts. Kazan befriended such notable theater personalities as Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, Stella Adler and Clifford Odets. Kazan even joined the Communist party for two years (1934-36), before resigning because of his disillusionment with its leadership. After his stint in New York, Kazan went to Hollywood, where he found work as an actor in two Warner Brothers films: City for Conquest (1940) and Blues in the Night (1941). He made his Broadway debut in 1942, directing Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth with Tallulah Bankhead; Fredric March and Montgomery Clift. It was a huge hit. After that success, it was back to Hollywood, this time as a director for Darryl F. Zanuck at 20th Century Fox. Kazan's directorial film debut was the poignant A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), based on Betty Smith's bestseller about tenement life. From the beginning, Kazan proved his talent for enticing natural performances from his actors; James Dunn and Peggy Ann Garner both won deserved Oscars for their work in this film. 1947 would prove to be a breakthrough year for Kazan. He notched two huge hits on Broadway: Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Miller's All My Sons; co-founded the Actors Studio with Lee Strasburg, a leading proponent of "Method" acting that is still widely practiced today; and two potent treatise on anti-Semitism Boomerang and Gentleman's Agreement, the latter earning Kazan his first Oscar. Kazan's next few films were not among his best, but they were well crafted and interesting: Pinky (1949), the story of a light-skinned black woman who passes for white (hampered by Jeanne Crain in the lead); and Panic in the Streets (1950), a taut thriller about efforts to contain a burgeoning epidemic which was shot entirely on the streets of New Orleans. It wasn't until he brought Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire to the big screen that Kazan had a major impact on American cinema. Featuring an explosive Marlon Brando in the role of Stanley Kowalski, the films' raw sensuality brought a stark and galvanizing realism to cinema that simply hadn't happened before. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) not only earned Kazan another Oscar nod for Best Director, but it made a star out of Brando and earned best acting honors for the rest of the cast: Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden and Kim Hunter. It was around this time that Kazan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). On April 10, 1952, he informed on former associates from the Group Theater, including Clifford Odets, Lillian Hellman, John Garfield, and Lee and Paula Strasberg. Despite formal protests from many acquaintances from his past, including Odets and Arthur Miller, Kazan remained unapologetic to the end for his actions, and he would remain questioned by social critics for the remainder of his life. Kazan continued his association with Brando in Viva Zapata! (1952), and then in the powerful On the Waterfront (1954), which took eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and a second Best Director Oscar for Kazan. Budd Schulberg's incisive drama about the corruption of longshoremen's unions was the perfect subject matter for Kazan's ever trenchant approach to social consciousness and cinematic naturalism. Kazan's next effort, based on John Steinbeck's East of Eden (1955) featured James Dean in his first major role. Kazan's continued ability to draw such raw, vulnerable performances out of his actors (as exemplified by Dean) drew critical praise from all quarters, and the film still stands today as one of the most searing looks of a family in conflict. After East of Eden, Kazan would never quite scale the artistic heights of his previous movies, yet he still came up with some first-rate cinema: the steamy, boldly suggestive Baby Doll (1956), with a thumb sucking Carol Baker as a provocative child bride; an early, superior look at populist demagoguery A Face in the Crowd (1957) with Andy Griffith giving the performance of his career as a corrupt media darling; the moving coming-of-age drama Splendor in the Grass (1961) starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty; the evocative America, America (1963), based on the experiences of Kazan's own uncle's immigration experience; and his final film The Last Tycoon (1976) an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished final novel, which starred Robert De Niro. Kazan was in retirement for several years, but he made a notorious return to the limelight when in 1999, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' decided to give Kazan an honorary Oscar® for lifetime achievement. It was a decision met with vocal protests from aging blacklisted artists as well as younger activists. At the time of the presentation, several audience members would not stand up as a form of protest. Still, Kazan attended the ceremonies, thanked friends and family, avoided political discussion, and went home, a most dignified handling of a very controversial moment. Besides his widow, Frances Rudge, Kazan is survived by his sons, Leo, Marco, and Nicholas, a screenwriter who was nominated for an Oscar for Reversal of Fortune (1990); daughters Judy and Katharine; and several grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

I never listen to you when you're being morbid.
- Stella
Is there something wrong with me?
- Blanche DuBois
Please don't get up.
- Blanche DuBois
Nobody's going to get up, so don't be worried.
- Stanley Kowalski
You think you're going bowling now?
- Stella
Deliberate cruelty is unforgivable, and the one thing I've never been guilty of.
- Blanche DuBois

Trivia

Jessica Tandy was originally slated to play Blanche, after creating the role on Broadway. The role was given to Vivien Leigh (after Olivia De Havilland refused it) because she had more box-office appeal.

'Garfield, John' turned down the role of Stanley Kowalski because he didn't want to be overshadowed by the female lead.

Vivien Leigh, who suffered from bipolar disorder in real life, later had difficulties in distinguishing her real life from that of Blanche DuBois.

Actor Mickey Kuhn, who played Vivien Leigh's nephew, Beau Wilkes, in Gone with the Wind (1939) also played the young sailor who helps her off the train in "A Streetcar Named Desire." It's not recorded as to whether they recognized each other after twelve years or not.

To date (2003), it is one of only two films in history to win three Academy awards for acting. The other is Network (1976)

Notes

The opening credits read: "Warner Bros. Pictures present the Pulitzer Prize and New York Critics Award Play A Streetcar Named Desire." The 1949 Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' play was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Jessica Tandy as "Blanche." The New York production featured Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando and Karl Malden, as well as Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias and Edna Thomas, all of whom appeared in the film. The play's London premiere was held on October 11, 1949, with Vivien Leigh starring as "Blanche." In August 1949, Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety news items reported that Paramount was planning to buy the screen rights to the play with the intention of featuring Bette Davis in a lead role, under William Wyler's direction. In October 1949, however, Charles K. Feldman bought the rights to the play. According to modern sources, Warner Bros. insisted that a "star" play the lead role of "Blanche," and therefore rejected Kazan's casting of Jessica Tandy.
       Information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals the following information about the production: In a April 28, 1950 letter, the MPAA office notified Warner Bros. that the script posed "three principal problems" with regard to the Production Code. These problems were cited as "an inference of sex perversion...[with] reference to the character of Blanche's young husband, Allan Grey, [as] there seems little doubt that this young man was a homosexual;" "an inference of nymphomania with regards to the character of Blanche herself;" and the "reference to the rape." The MPAA offered various plot alterations to resolve these violations of the Production Code. In the first they suggested that the filmmakers "affirmatively establish...some other reason for [Allan Grey's] suicide which will get away entirely from sex perversion." Secondly, the MPAA suggested that Blanche appear to be "searching for romance and security, and not for gross sex" and frequently call for "Allan," so that she would appear to be "seeking for the husband she has lost in any man she approaches." The MPAA also recommended that all inferences to the rape be entirely eliminated and merely be Blanche's hallucination, brought on by her "dementia." In a May 2, 1950 memo, the MPAA noted that both Kazan and Williams were telephoned after receiving their comments, and "were inclined to make speeches about the integrity of their art and their unwillingness to be connected with a production which would emasculate the validity of their production. Mr. Williams actually signed off in a great huff, declaiming that he did not need the money that much."
       Negotiation continued between the MPAA and the filmmakers; however, a May 24, 1950 note written by Joseph I. Breen, head of the MPAA, noted that "we are not entirely out of the woods on this particular production....we still have some things to do by way of straightening out the characterization of the girl and the disposal of Stanley at the end of the script." A July 25, 1950 memo recorded a meeting between the MPAA and Warner Bros. representatives, in which they specifically discussed the "so-called rape scene," which the MPAA continued to reject. "A solution was suggested...that the indication of rape be simply abolished, and that in its place it be indicated that Stanley struck Blanche quite violently, and from this blow she collapsed. This would mean that his very pointed line, 'We've had this date with each other from the beginning,' would be simply eliminated."
       According to a New York Times article, Kazan began shooting the film in mid-August 1950. As of August 24, 1950, the matter of the rape scene was still unresolved. Actor Marlon Brando noted in a August 21, 1950 New York Times article that the MPAA office would not allow him "to pick Miss Leigh up and carry her off to bed." In addition, an September 8, 1950 letter written by Breen suggests that he still found inferences in the script that Blanche's first husband was homosexual. Kazan responded to Breen's concern in a September 14, 1950 letter by stating that "I wouldn't put homosexuality back in the picture, if the Code had been revised last night and it was now permissible....I prefer the delicately suggested impotence theme; I prefer debility and weakness over any kind of suggestion of perversion." On October 20, 1950, Williams wrote the following to Breen about the rape scene: "Streetcar is an extremely and peculiarly moral play, in the deepest and truest sense of the term....The rape of Blanche by Stanley is a pivotal, integral truth in the play, without which the play loses its meaning, which is the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate by the savage and brutal forces in modern society." Williams went on to praise Leigh's performance as Blanche, and continued with "Please remember, also, that we have already made great concessions which we felt were dangerous to attitudes which we thought were narrow." Indeed, Williams rewrote the end of the screenplay to indicate, somewhat ambiguously, that Stella leaves her husband, whereas in the play she returns to him after her sister is removed.
       The film was completed and ready for release by July 1951, when the Catholic Legion of Decency condemned it. That same month, as reported in a Variety news item, a Chicago federal judge refused "to permit an extension of the two-week limitation in the Loop" for the run of the film, and declared that "he would not 'condone any picture which dealt with sex nymphomania and liquor' as its basic theme." According to Kazan, quoted in a October 24, 1951 Variety news item, Warner Bros. feared that a condemnation by the Legion of Decency would ruin their chances of getting an audience for the film. Without consulting Kazan, studio officials worked with the MPAA to make cuts in the film that would meet the MPAA's and Legion of Decency's approval. The editing was supervised by Martin Quigley (as identified in modern sources), a film trade magazine publisher and Catholic layman, who reportedly was "invited" by Warner Bros. In the October 24, 1951 Var article (which reprinted an interview with Kazan from a October 21, 1941 New York Times article), Kazan noted that twelve cuts were made in the film, which resulted in a total of "three or four minutes of film." Kazan noted the cuts as follows: "a trivial cut of three words;" "a recutting of the wordless scene in which Stella...comes down the stairway to Stanley after a quarrel;" Stanley's line "You know, you might not be bad to interfere with," which is spoken shortly before he rapes Blanche; and a few other cuts "of like nature."
       Kazan noted that the scene in which Stella descends the stairway "was carefully worked out...to show Stella's conflicting revulsion and attraction to her husband....It was explained to me that both the close shots and the music made the girl's relation to her husband 'too carnal.'" In addition, Kazan noted that the elimination of Stanley's line before he attacks Blanche "removes the clear implication that only here, for the first time, does Stanley have any idea of harming the girl. This obviously changes the interpretation of the character, but how it serves the cause of morality is obscure to me, though I have given it much thought."
       After the cuts were made, the Legion of Decency awarded the film a "B" rating, and it was released to great critical acclaim. Although the film showed at the 1951 Venice Film Festival, Italian censors refused to permit its exhibition throughout the country for three years, according to an March 18, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item. In 1993, Warner Bros. re-released the film with the cuts restored. The film won Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden), Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter), and Best Art Direction (black & white). The film was also nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music (scoring dramatic or comedy picture), Best Sound Recording (Warner Bros. Studio Sound Dept., Nathan Levinson, sound director), and Best Writing (Screenplay). In 1984, a television version of the play was aired featuring Ann-Margret, Treat Williams, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid; and in 1992, the play was revived on Broadway starring Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. That version was also adapted for television.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1951

Re-released in United States October 1, 1993

Re-released in United States October 27, 1993

Re-released in United States March 2, 1994

Released in United States on Video July 6, 1994

Released in United States 1978

Released in United States January 1994

Released in United States 1996

Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival January 6-16, 1994.

Unused clips were found during a routine inventory after Warner Brothers acquired Lorimar Telepictures in 1988. (The restoration does not involve whole scenes, but adds four minutes of dialogue, shots of the actors reacting to one another and even a portion of Alex North's score.) Although the movie was produced by Warner Brothers, the negative wound up at Lorimar after the film's original release.

Selected in 1999 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in United States 1951

Re-released in United States October 27, 1993 (restored version; New York City)

Re-released in United States March 2, 1994 (Film Forum; New York City)

Released in United States on Video July 6, 1994 (restored version)

Released in United States 1978 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs - "Salute to Oscar" - Filmex Marathon) April 13 - May 7, 1978.)

Released in United States January 1994 (Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival January 6-16, 1994.)

Re-released in United States October 1, 1993 (restored version; Los Angeles)

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "The Essential Brando" March 16 - April 7, 1996.)

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in New York City (Film Forum) as part of program "Kazan" November 22 - December 26, 1996.)

Named best picture of 1951 by the New York Film Critics.