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A Streetcar Named Desire

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“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a movie, based on a play, of two opposites, Blanche and Stanley. Blanche is the sister of Stanley’s wife. The most obvious difference between Blanche and Stanley is one of social background. Whereas Blanche comes from an old Southern family and was raised to see herself as socially elite, Stanley comes from an immigrant family and is a proud member of the working class. Each represents values that are antagonistic to the other’s chance at success in the modern world. Blanche and Stanley are polar opposites in several respects.

Blanche clearly represents the world of fantasy. As she admits to Mitch, she wants to misrepresent things, and she wants things misrepresented to her. She lives for how things ought to be, not for how they are. She prefers magic and shadows to facing facts in bright light.

Stanley, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase kind of guy. He looks for joy in life, and where he finds it, he celebrates it. But, as he says, he expects people to lay their cards on the table. Blanche repeatedly refers to Stanley and his world as brutish, primitive, apelike, rough, and uncivilized.

Camera work is not emphasized throughout the movie as it is in other films such as Citizen Kane. In this movie, the emphasis is placed on the actors and their ability to exhibit their thoughts, feelings, and mood. Close-ups are used to some degree with an actors head. However, medium shots are used in abundance, showing enough of the set while still being intimate with the actor. The sensational acting is remembered by many, including Chris Hicks of Desert News, Salt Lake City who wrote, “The powerful performances remain untarnished by time.”

For the 1950’s, some themes and scenes in the movie may have seemed too risqué. Perhaps this added something. The ending, although requiring some thought, is sometime after Stanley has raped Blanche. This theme could be considered too ahead of its time, however… It Works.

Another great thing is that the film allows the viewer to make connections, easily shown in the scenes before and after the “rape.” The way Blanche, Mitch, and others react, allow one to conclude that Stanley has, in fact, raped Blanche.

The movie has won over 25 credited awards, including 4 Oscars, and other minor awards ranging from “Best Supporting Actor/Actress” to “Best Screenplay” and even “Best Black and White Cinematography.” The movie won all these, and rightfully so. With paramount acting, many will remember this film for how easily one can become the character, as the themes are exceptionally simple for one to relate to.

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