AFI 100 Progress: A Streetcar Named Desire
“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
With Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden.
I love old movies, but often feel like the actors back then did a lot of unnatural posturing and fast talking. Fortunately, Vivien Leigh was the only member of this cast to fall victim to this. I’m sure her performance was revered at the time, but now it looks like something out of a daytime soap opera. The acting from the rest of the cast, however, is some of the best I’ve ever seen. I even preferred Brando’s performance to his more renowned turn from On the Waterfront. He was so good that I actually sympathized with his hot-headed and abusive character more than the one of Vivien Leigh, even though I doubt that was the writer’s intention. I just found Leigh’s character to be so pathetic.
It’s a great movie, but I find that it falters in the same way that a lot of stage adaptations do… it’s just not cinematic enough. Doubt and Nine are more recent examples that immediately come to mind. Although the film’s music is outstanding, I was consistently distracted by the lack of different sets and the obvious separations of scenes, acts, etc.
RIYL: Lolita, Sunset Boulevard, Closer.