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A Streetcar Named Desire

Should A Streetcar Named Desire remain on the list?  

7 members have voted

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  1. 1. Should A Streetcar Named Desire remain on the list?

    • Yes, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers who vote for the AFI list.
    • No, this movie isn't clean enough to bring home to mother.

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  • Poll closed on 06/05/20 at 07:00 AM

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Paul & Amy roll into 1951’s Southern Gothic Tennessee Williams drama A Streetcar Named Desire! They compare the opposite physicality of Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, analyze the buildup to Brando’s famous scream, and listen to a montage of musical Streetcar references. Plus: Brian Lohmann from the Impro Theater discusses improvising in the style of Tennessee Williams.

For Blade Runner week, give us your rendition of the “tears in rain” speech! Call it in to the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824. Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Also check out our live Spool Party episodes on youtube.com/earwolf! Photo credit: Kim Troxall

You can watch the Tennessee Williams UnScripted show we talk about in our interview with Brian here: https://vimeo.com/291407149/46ddada77a

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For a dramatic play adapted from the stage (meaning musicals are excluded), this is probably my favorite example. The performances translate brilliantly to the screen, and unlike many theater directors, Kazan seemed to have a strong understanding right from the start about how camera angles and movement can inform the drama. To me it feels "cinematic" despite the stagebound origins.

Given that it also serves as a kind of milestone, contrasting the "New Hollywood" acting style of Brando with the older style of Leigh (and both of them being excellent in the movie, and the contrast of styles serving the themes of the piece to boot), I think it's certainly worthy of a spot in the Top 100.

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I'm totally behind this movie, 100%. I love it. And as I've seen it over the years, it's really grown on me more and more. I've seen some Tennessee Williams movies that dive into craziness (Suddenly Last Summer actually hits on cannibalism) but this one keeps it realistic. It's a great worthy classic.


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I wouldn't consider this to be "southern Gothic". A gothic story should take place in an old house with a lot of history which will come up in the story. But here the old family property has already been lost, and Blanche is moving in to her sister's apartment in New Orleans. One could tell a gothic story in New Orleans, but this one isn't about a past that took place there.

A 17 year old is a year away from being a legal adult (and at the age of consent in many jurisdictions). Rather than a "child" molester, let's say she's an ephebophile who abused her position as a teacher.

I know that Kubrick's Lolita was considered to be a failure as a result of the Code, but I don't think any remake of that has been better received. Contrariwise, William Wyler directed "These Three" under the Code, not even being allowed to use the name of the play "The Children's Hour" until decades later. Wyler actually preferred his original version to the post-censorship remake, and from what I've seen of both I agree with him.

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