A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 5 mins

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Blanche is in real need of a protector at this stage in her life when circumstances lead her into paying a visit to her younger sister Stella in New Orleans. She doesn't understand how Stella, who is expecting her first child, could have picked a husband so lacking in refinement. Stanley Kowalski's buddies come over to the house to play cards and one of them, Mitch, finds Blanche attractive until Stanley tells him about what kind of a woman Blanche really is. What will happen when Stella goes to the hospital to have her baby and just Blanche and her brother-in-law are in the house?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh

Crew: Elia Kazan (Director), Harry Stradling (Director of Photography), Alex North (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Dec 1951 (India)

Tagline: THE PULITZER PRIZE PLAY of New Orleans' Latin Quarter...of a Lonely Girl...of Emotions Gone Savage!

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Did you know? Early in development, William Wyler had expressed an interest in adapting the play with Bette Davis in the part of Blanche. Read More
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as Stanley Kowalski
as Blanche DuBois
as Pablo Gonzales
as Harold "Mitch" Mitchell
as Stella Kowalski
as Eunice Hubbel
as Doctor
as Steve Hubbel
as Collector




Production Company


Screenplay Writer
Story Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Film Type:
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
THE PULITZER PRIZE PLAY of New Orleans' Latin Quarter...of a Lonely Girl...of Emotions Gone Savage!
Blanche, who wanted so much to stay a lady...
When she got there she met the brute Stan, and the side of New Orleans she hardly knew existed
Errors in Geography
Stanley says he served in the 241st Engineers and fought in the Battle of Salerno. However the 241st Engineer Combat Battalion fought in the Asiatic-Pacific Area, not in Europe.

The position of the collar on Stanley's silk pyjamas changes between shots, varying between up and down.

When Mitch embraces Blanche, she puts her arm around his shoulders, which changes between shots, either her left one or her right one.

The window after Stanley throws the radio through it.

During conversation about Napoleonic Code between Stella and Stanley, plate Stanley has been eating off disappears off top of trunk which is suddenly open.

When Stan comes back from taking Stella to the hospital, he is looking for a bottle opener. He finds it on the mantlepiece shakes up a bottle of beer and opens it. The beer foams up and spills on his trousers. But if you watch at the moment when he swings himself up to sit on the table - before he opens the bottle - you can see that the front of his trousers are already wet. Apparently they re-shot it without him changing into dry trousers.

Character Error
Stanley says that Louisiana utilizes the Napoleonic Code (which was promulgated a year after the Louisiana Purchase). Actually, Louisiana uses as its private law the Louisiana Civil Code. Although it is similar to the Napoleonic Code, it has always been the controlling legal authority in the state.
The script of this movie follows the Tennessee Williams play closely with several small changes. However, there are three notably large alterations of the original plot. The first is the exclusion of Blanche's late young husband's homosexuality, which is referred to explicitly in the play, but only obliquely referred to in the movie. In the play, Blanche caught him in bed with another man and she screamed at him, calling him weak, and he killed himself; she blames herself for not understanding his feelings and for his resulting suicide. In the movie, the fact that her husband committed suicide is masked with a line from Blanche that says that "she killed him herself" by leading him to suicide. The second large difference is the rape scene. It is not explicitly shown/described in the play, but it is more obviously alluded to than in the movie. Two of Stanley's key lines in the scene were omitted from the theatrical release: "Tiger, tiger, drop that bottle top," which has since been added back to the movie, and "We've had this date with each other since the beginning!", after which Stanley grabs Blanche and hauls her off to the bed. Both of these changes were made for censorship reasons, but they've changed the story in some basic ways and led to some confusion, especially about the rape scene, which is key to understanding Stanley's final breaking of Blanche. The last change from the play is the ending. In the play, Stella stays with Stanley at the end: "He kneels beside her and his fingers find the opening of her blouse." The reason she left him in the film was that the punishment of the rapist was demanded by the Hollywood moral code.

The varsovienne / varsouvienne / varsoviana, named for Warsaw (Poland) where it originated about 1850, is a slow, graceful dance in 3/4 time with an accented downbeat in alternate measures. It combines elements of the waltz, mazurka, and polka. The dance was popular in 19th-century America, where it was danced to the tune "Put Your Little Foot".

Della Robbia blue is a color used in the Italian Majolica bas reliefs of Luca Della Robbia (1400-1482), whose famous gates of the Sacristy of the Cathedral were said by Michelangelo to be worthy of being the Gates of Heaven.

Credited on-screen: "The Pulitzer Prize and New York Critics Award Play".

Elia Kazan's first collaboration with Tennessee Williams.

While working on the film, Brando shared an apartment with Jay Kantor, two other MCA representatives and actor Tony Curtis.

When Stella and Blanche get out of the house, there is a guy passing by on his bicycle and singing a traditional, folk Greek song called "Samiotissa".

Vivien Leigh replaced Jessica Tandy as Blanche. This was actually the second time the two of them had shared a role. Leigh previously played Ophelia opposite her husband and director Laurence Olivier as Hamlet. Tandy played Ophelia in actor/director John Gielgud's production of Hamlet.

The poetry quote, " ... and if God choose, I shall love thee better after death", is from "Sonnets from the Portuguese, No. 43" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1850).

Huey Long was the governor of Louisiana (1928-1932) and a U.S Senator from Louisiana (1932-1935). He introduced program called 'Share the Wealth' with the motto 'Every Man A King'.

Early in development, William Wyler had expressed an interest in adapting the play with Bette Davis in the part of Blanche.

The play takes place entirely in the Kowalski's apartment and their front square. The movie adds more locations such as a bus station, a bowling alley, a dance hall, a dock, and Stanley's plant.

The Broadway stage production of "A Streetcar Named Desire", directed by Elia Kazan and produced by Irene Mayer Selznick, opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on December 3, 1947 and ran for 855 performances.

The role of Blanche was first offered to Olivia de Havilland, whose wage demands proved to be too excessive.

Elia Kazan originally resisted the idea of directing the film adaptation as he felt that he had achieved everything he wanted with the stage version. It was only after Tennessee Williams implored him to take on the assignment that Kazan signed on.

Due to the highly contentious subject matter, no major studio would dare touch the property. 20th Century Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck expressed an interest but had to relinquish the idea when his boss point blank refused to allow it to happen.

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #47 Greatest Movie of All Time.

By the time the film was made, the Desire streetcar line had been converted to buses, but streetcars were still used in other parts of the city. The authorities were able to lend the production a car with the Desire destination sign for the opening sequences of Blanche's arrival in the city.

Robert Mitchum was offered the role of Stanley Kowalski, but RKO refused to let him do it.

John Garfield turned down the role of Stanley Kowalski because he didn't want to be overshadowed by the female lead.

While Vivien Leigh was playing Blanche, her real-life husband Laurence Olivier was also in Hollywood, filming Carrie (1952), costarring Jennifer Jones and directed by William Wyler. On one occasion, the celebrated couple dined with Marlon Brando.

Shot on a 36-day schedule.

Vivien Leigh initially felt completely at sea when she joined the tight New York cast in rehearsals. Director Elia Kazan was able to exploit her feelings of alienation and disorientation to enrich her performance.

As of 2014, it is one of only two films in history to win three Academy awards for acting. The other is Network (1976).

After Blanche first arrives at the Kowalskis' she and Stella have an argument in which Blanche says "Where were you. In there with your Polack!" In the play her line was, "In bed with your Polack!" In the movie Blanche says she has had "many meetings with strangers!" In the play it was, "many intimacies with strangers!"

When the film was previewed in Santa Barbara in 1951, the director Elia Kazan's date was a then obscure contract starlet, Marilyn Monroe, whom he introduced to Arthur Miller.

Jessica Tandy was originally slated to play Blanche, after creating the role on Broadway. The role was given to Vivien Leigh (after Olivia de Havilland refused it) because she had more box-office appeal. De Havilland turned down the role because her-then husband Marcus Goodrich advised against her playing it.

Nine members of the original Broadway cast (Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, Richard Garrick, Ann Dere and Edna Thomas) repeated their roles in the film, a highly unusual decision at the time and even today, when original casts of plays are often completely replaced for the film versions. However, Vivien Leigh, who had played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), was selected to play Blanche du Bois over Jessica Tandy to add "star power" to the picture (Marlon Brando had not yet achieved full stardom in films; he would be billed under Leigh in the film's credits).

The movie's line "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." was voted as the #75 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

Vivien Leigh, who was only 36 at the time of filming, had to be made up to look older.

Despite giving the definitive portrayal of Stanley Kowalski, Marlon Brando said he privately detested the character. However, it should be added that Brando was an eccentric character who loved misleading people and playing pranks.

During Blanche's birthday dinner she begins telling a joke which Stanley interrupts. In the play she finishes the joke, which told of an old maid who had a parrot with a lot of profanity in its vocabulary. The only way to silence the parrot was to cover its cage with a cloth so it would think it was night time and go to sleep. One morning the pastor comes to visit the woman right after she uncovered his cage, so she had to immediately cover it again. The pastor came inside and heard the parrot say, 'G**damn, that was a short day!'

Although Vivien Leigh initially thought Marlon Brando to be affected, and he thought her to be impossibly stuffy and prim, both soon became friends and the cast worked together smoothly.

The Production Code censors demanded 68 script changes from the Broadway staging, while the interference of the Catholic Legion of Decency led to even further cuts, most of them having to do with references to homosexuality and rape. In his memoirs, Tennessee Williams wrote that he liked the film but felt it was "slightly marred by the Hollywood ending".

Vivien Leigh had already played Blanche in the first London production of the play, under the direction of her then-husband, Laurence Olivier. She later said that Olivier's direction of that production influenced her performance in the film more than did Elia Kazan's direction of the film.

Composer Alex North wrote and recorded the first ever jazz-orientated film score for a dramatic picture, 'A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)'. The score served to color the sound of the film's steamy New Orleans setting. It has become a well-deserved landmark in the history of film music and paved the way for numerous movie jazz scores.

Mickey Kuhn plays the young sailor who helps Vivien Leigh onto the streetcar at the beginning of this film. He had previously appeared with her in Gone with the Wind (1939) as Beau Wilkes (the child of Olivia de Havilland's character Melanie) toward the end of that film when the character was age 5. When Mickey Kuhn mentioned this to someone else on the set of "A Streetcar Named Desire", word got back to her, and Miss Leigh called him into her dressing room for a half-hour chat. In an interview in his seventies, Kuhn stated that Leigh was extremely kind to him and "one of the loveliest ladies he had ever met."

Vivien Leigh, who suffered from bipolar disorder in real life, later had difficulties in distinguishing her real life from that of Blanche DuBois.

As the film progresses, the set of the Kowalski apartment actually gets smaller to heighten the suggestion of Blanche's increasing claustrophobia.