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April 11, 2011 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

A Streetcar Named Desire: Embassy Retrospective

For girls and film buffs everywhere, a young Marlon Brandon is by itself a selling point for any film; as someone who fits both categories I was very excited to see that the Embassy Theatre was playing a retrospective screening of A Streetcar Named Desire on Friday 1 April and Sunday 3 April. Directed by Elia Kazan, written (and based on the stage play) by Tennessee Williams, and starring Vivien Leigh (aka Scarlett O’Hara) and Marlon Brando in his breakout film role, Streetcar follows ‘aging’ beauty Blanche DuBois (Leigh) as she escapes hometown troubles to stay with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) and brother-in-law, the brutish Stan (Brando).

The most memorable thing about this film is the obvious contrast between Leigh and Brando’s acting styles, a fight between the Classic Hollywood dramatics of Leigh and the gritty method acting of Brando. Both are very talented, and witnessing the contrast between the classic approach and Brando’s revolutionary style (he is widely considered the greatest actor of all time for it) is a fascinating aspect of the film, if a little distracting, and I can only imagine how strange and amazing it must have been in 1951.

While the film is worth it for the acting alone, it also boasts a dramatic and effective use of lighting, an interesting and universal story, and interesting thoughts about aging women and their place in society (another interesting film on the subject: Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, starring Gloria Swanson). Streetcar also makes you forget fat second-wave Godfather Brando, and reminds you why he gave James Dean a run for the money in the super- hot/talented department. Fortunately for Streetcar, it has aged a lot better than Brando did, and the result is a timeless, memorable movie.


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