Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter
Written by: Tennessee Williams, based on his own play
Directed by: Elia Kazan
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 122
Date: 09/18/1951
IMDB

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Yelling Stella

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It must have been something to see the Broadway production of this Tennessee Williams play, with a young and virile Marlon Brando exploding onto the stage in waves of heat. Unfortunately, Elia Kazan's movie only captures a small hint of that. Like most other play adaptations, it's often too reverential to the material -- too hysterical for the camera's subtle, minute gaze -- to really break away from the stagebound into cinema. (Howard Hawks complained that all his years of working, getting actors to play smaller for the screen, had been shot to hell.) Still, Brando pulls off astonishing things as Stanley Kowalski, and Vivien Leigh gives a performance that must have taken everything she had as Blanche DuBois. Kim Hunter and Karl Malden co-starred, and both took home Oscars, in addition to Leigh. Williams adapted his own screenplay.

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