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A Streetcar Named Desire

(1951 b 122')

En: 8 Ed: 8

Based on a play by Tennessee Williams, a neurotic ex-teacher visits her sister and her crude husband, who seems opposite to her in every way.

         Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) visits her sister Stella Kowalksi (Kim Hunter) in New Orleans. Blanche left teaching and says she is not well. Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) comes home and meets Blanche. Stella tells him that Blanche lost her home. He looks in her trunk and finds expensive clothes and jewelry. Blanche says she got pearls from an admirer and that she has not cheated Stella. Blanche protects her letters and shows Stanley the loan papers. Stanley says that Stella is pregnant.

         Stanley’s card game goes late, and Stella and Blanche come home. Blanche asks Stella about Mitch (Karl Malden), who leaves the game and talks with Blanche. She turns on the radio again, and Stanley throws it out the window. Stella and Blanche stay with the neighbor Eunice (Peg Hillias) upstairs. When Stanley calls Stella, she comes down and embraces him. Blanche comes down and talks with Mitch.

         The next day Blanche wants Stella to leave, but Stella loves Stanley. He asks her if Blanche knows Shaw and the Flamingo Hotel. Stanley goes to work, and Blanche asks Stella what she heard. Blanche gets upset and tells Stella that she wants Mitch.

         When a young stranger comes to the door collecting, Blanche tries to seduce him. Mitch goes out with Blanche, and they get along; but she deters intimacy. She says that Stanley hates her. Mitch asks her age and says his mother will die soon. Blanche tells about the boy she married who shot himself. She blames herself for insulting him. Mitch says they need each other, and they kiss.

         At work Stanley and Mitch quarrel, and Stanley tells Mitch to marry Blanche and get her out of his house. At home Stanley tells Stella that Blanche was ejected from the hotel and from school because of a boy. He says he told Mitch, who does not show up for Blanche’s birthday party. Blanche calls Mitch. Stanley gives Blanche a bus ticket. Stella and Stanley quarrel and make up.

         Later Blanche lets Mitch in and offers him liquor. He turns on the light to see Blanche and realizes that she lies. Blanche admits she went from one man to another, but she does not lie in her heart. Mitch kisses her but says he won’t marry her. Blanche screams to make him leave.

         Blanche dresses up and plays out a fantasy. Stanley comes home and says the baby hasn’t come yet. Blanche says she is invited on a cruise and that she rejected Mitch courteously. Stanley says she lies, and she feels desperate. Stanley goes after her, and she breaks a bottle. Stanley grabs her.

         Stella has her baby. Stanley is playing cards with Mitch and the others. Stella tells Eunice what Blanche told her, and they help Blanche dress. A doctor and a woman come for Blanche. She is expecting a gentleman and becomes frantic. Mitch tries to hit Stanley. The doctor says that a strait jacket will not be necessary and treats her as a lady. Blanche leaves with him. Stella tells Stanley not to touch her. Stanley calls Stella, who runs upstairs with her baby.

         This drama contrasts a coarse realist with a sensitive woman who wants to be loved but does not have enough of a grip on reality to hold a man. Her sister is caught in the middle and loves both of them. Blanche hopes Mitch will marry her if she acts prim and proper, but he is horrified by her past and her deceit.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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