A Streetcar Named Desire is a play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams in 1947 for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The 1951 American film adaptation directed by Elia Kazan is the legendary film that has since been labeled by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest American movies of all time. Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden, all members of the original Broadway cast, reprised their roles for the film. Vivien Leigh, who had appeared in the London theatre production, was brought in for the film version in lieu of Jessica Tandy, who had created the part of Blanche DuBois on Broadway. A Streetcar Named Desire holds the distinction of garnering Academy Award wins for actors in three out of the four acting categories. Oscars were won by Vivien Leigh, Best Actress; Karl Malden, Best Supporting Actor; and Kim Hunter, Best Supporting Actress. Brando’s performance as Stanley Kowalski has since been cited as the most influential performance in the history of American cinema and has been widely credited for being one of the first performances to introduce Method acting to Hollywood moviegoers.
I am partial to the 1995 television drama film directed by Glenn Jordan and starring Alec Baldwin, John Goodman, Diane Lane and Jessica Lange as Blanche Dubois. Lange’s performance literally makes my heart skip a beat at every line and gesture. The design and vision for this fabulous interpretation of William’s seminal text is too often in the shadow of the 1951 film. I highly recommend this exquisitely subtle and evocative work.