Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Local Talent: A Streetcar Named Desire

Howdy all and welcome to Day 1 of Local Talent This man I speak of has been a general to Julius Caesar, a Wild One, been through Guys and Dolls, he has been to The Appaloosa and even has portrayed The Godfather. Native to these plains of wheat,corn and beef production, he debuted on Broadway in October 19th of 1944 in "I Remember Mama" as an astounding success that he made his first film debut in Fred Zinnermann's The Men in 1950, about a paralized war vet trying to adjust to the world without his limbs. I speak of none other than Marlon Brando. This particular blog covers one of his earliest films of heartache, woe and an excellent performance. This is A Streetcar Named Desire.

The face of every domestic disturbance.

Named after the play by playwright and author Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, Cat on a Hot Tin Room, Suddenly, Last Summer and The Night of the Iguana) this drama with a hint of film noir hails from a story of a southern belle, Blanche Dubois (Vivien Leigh of Fire Over England, Storm in a Teacup, A Yank at Oxford, Gone with the Wind 21 Days Together, Waterloo Bridge and Ship of Fools) an aristocrat seeks refuge after an series of losses along with her sister and brother-in-law in a rickety, run-down tenement in New Orleans. Blanche a high school teacher leaves her beloved home of Auriol Mississippi with her sister Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter of Actor's Studio, Anything Can Happen, Storm Center, Playhouse 90, Lamp at Midnight, Planet of the Apes, All My Children and Born Innocent) and her brother-in-law Stanley (Marlon Brando of The Men, Viva Zapata!, The Wild One, On the Waterfront, Guys and Dolls, The Chase, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris and Apocalypse Now). As she tells her sister, Blanche explains that the family estate, Belle Reve has been claimed by the town and there is nothing to be done about it. Stanley convinced otherwise, proceeds to go through her papers only to end up fighting with Blanche's poems sent to her by her late husband. Our thuggish brute simply defends his actions by saying his was looking out for his family and tells Blanche that Stella is going to have a baby. Clearly reason enough to behave like a thoughtless jackass.

Clearly I am superior to Jessica Tandy.

A collection of Stanley's poker buddies come over and one stands out above the rest, a fella named Mitch (Karl Malden of On the Waterfront, How the West Was Won, Patton, The Streets of San Francisco, Captains Courageous, Meteor, Skag and Nuts) who is decent, fair and honest. Blanche takes a liking to him but Stanley's drunken rage causes his buddies to vamoose when he up and slaps Stella. Hiding at Eunice's (Peg Hillias of A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wayward Girl, That Night! And Peyton Place) until Stanley redeems himself by carrying Stella to bed, Blanche has curbed her tongue long enough. That morning she is adamant about Stella leaving her subhuman animal of a husband and coming away with her.

Does Stanley stand for this abuse? Is Blanche hiding deep seeded secrets? Will these two kooky kids work out?

A few points of interest on our film now. Nine members of the original Broadway cast repeated their roles in the movie, only Vivien Leigh was chosen over Jessica Tandy for the roles of Blanche given Leigh's popularity of Gone With the Wind. Despite the incredible performance of Brando's part he loathed and detested his character to no end. Nominated for 12 awards winning four at the 24th Academy Awards, this film set an Oscar record being the first film to win three acting categories. Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter) and Best Art Direction (Richard Day and George Hopkins)

Toss the wife in the pot and the game is gonna heat up!