Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Sunday, 3 March 2013

#226 - 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1951)

"I like you to be exactly the way that you are, because in all my experience, I have never known anyone like you." - Mitch. 
Blance DuBois (Vivien Leigh) travels to New Orleans to visit her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter) and her husband Stanley (Marlon Brando), after some troubles back home. Stella fears how her husband will react to the arrival of Blanche and he reasons for leaving her home town of Auriol come under question. The mental state of Blanche is explored through her relationship with Mitch (Karl Malden), a friend of Stanley's. She has delusions of grandeur, living through the pretence that she is a lot younger than she actually is. When Stanley finds out from a co-worker about Blanche's endeavours back in Auriol, he confronts her and things come to a head.
Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.
There were Oscars aplenty for the performances in this film with Vivien Leigh winning 'Best Actress', Kim Hunter winning 'Best Supporting Actress' and Karl Malden winning 'Best Supporting Actor'. Surprisingly, Marlon Brando was nominated for 'Best Actor' but didn't win. I think the Academy acclaim was deserved as the acting was very good. I have to single out Vivien Leigh's performance because she portrayed the vulnerability of Blanche's mental state with an impressive impact.   
Blanche is losing her mind.
The best scene for me was where Mitch confronts Blanche about the fact that he hasn't ever seen her in the day. He wants to know why Blanche is shielding her real self from him, while Blanche wants to continue living her pretence. The audience get an insight into the way Blanche's mind works, epitomized by the following quote: "I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don't tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth."

Mitch and Blanche.
It is easy to see why 'Streetcar' is such GCSE / A-level English / Media studies analytical fodder as there are a lot of themes to explore and there are endless essays that could be written on the character development of each of the four major protagonists. I'm just glad I could watch it and enjoy it without having to break down every scene into minute detail. Those days are behind me now!

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