Review from the past: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and welcome a new Kernel, ALISTAIR SHIELDS

Let’s start firstly with a warm welcome to a new member of the Salty team, ALISTAIR SHIELDS. In an attempt to further cover as many films as possible and the fact he asked, submitted, and wrote some test reviews Alistair will be joining the Kernels. Make sure to let us know your thoughts on all our reviews, as getting comments whether on the site, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and all the other social media outlets makes a world of difference to the people writing the review. None of us have the same taste so debating the films is what makes this all so fun. And the fact we have nine Kernels for you to read gives you the opportunity to find the personality and tastes of a reviewer that suits you. 

Now in regards to his first review, I have to admit something I am not very proud of, I have never seen A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, I have to admit something more, I just blew $40- buying it on Blu Ray from Europe in a fully remastered copy. I have seen it at the theatre a couple of times but never the movie. But after reading Alistair’s review, looking at all the pictures and the trailer for the film, and discovering a new found love for Brando – I had to get it – bad critic, bad critic – I need to embrace the old stuff but it is so hard keeping up with the new stuff 🙂 So without further ado please enjoy Alistair’s film virginity breaking review of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.

 

a streetcar named desire review, a streetcar named desire movie, alistair shields, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul, Elia Kazan
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – THE SALTY REVIEW

 

Marlon Brando. Need more be said? If you are a fan of Brando you have probably seen ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ if you haven’t and call yourself a fan, it’s alright, you must have just become one. This film essentially serves as a show reel for Marlon Brando, highlighting his range and talent as he plays Stanley Kowalski. Brando bares his soul for this film and through it influences generations to come. James Dean’s cry for help in ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ (“you’re tearing me apart!”) bears a striking resemblance to Brando’s cry For “Stella, Steeellllaaa!!”

Brando is perfectly cast for this role as he can bear himself with animalistic magnetism essential for the blue collar worker that is Stanley; a primal animal capable of only the baser instincts such as anger, love and sadness. This is highlighted in Stanley’s relationship with his wife Stella (Kim Hunter) where he sometimes pleads for her forgiveness with complete remorse and sorrow but more often than not Stan assumes the role of the alpha male and Stella just another concubine. The relationship is often brutal, harsh and unforgiving. However, while Brando may be the showpiece of this film he is made to work for it with Academy Award winning performances by Kim Hunter (Planet of the Apes) and Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind) (playing the complicated role of the sister, Blanche Debois) alike. Honourable mention to Karl Malden (On the Waterfront) who plays Harold Mitchell, Blanche’s love interest and one chance for happiness, who plays his part as it is needed. His role also resulted in another Academy award for the Supporting Actor category resulting in 3/4 of the main cast gaining Academy Awards for their performances.

 

a streetcar named desire review, a streetcar named desire movie, alistair shields, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul, Elia Kazan
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – THE SALTY REVIEW

 

The script, adapted from a Pulitzer Prize winning play, works hand in hand with the enthralling performances of the actors, contributing to the overall engrossing nature of the film. It is sharp, fast and never misses a beat. This may be due to the original writer of the play (the legendary Tennessee Williams) collaborating to write the film adaptation and three of the four main actors were all in the original Broadway play together, so everyone had plenty of practice.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ starts at a furious pace when the sisters, Stella and Blanche, meet up in a diner, shocking the senses but providing a refreshing change of pace from mainstream movies today which lay everything out for you like you have the memory of a goldfish and the I.Q of a peanut. The further the movie continues along it begins to slow down and becomes a dramatic, morally confronting and thrilling ride as Stan looks further into Blanche’s past which begins her spiral to mental delusion. This original battle between the in-laws begins to take its toll on Stan’s marriage with Stella which all comes to a head in climatic fashion well worth the two hour wait.

 

a streetcar named desire review, a streetcar named desire movie, alistair shields, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Saul, Elia Kazan
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – THE SALTY REVIEW

 

In terms of cinematography the film is shot in black and white but do not let this dissuade you. Some believe that colour adds a greater sense of emotion to the film but so is the acting performance in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ that this ‘leg-up’ is not needed. The lack of colour in the film actually adds to the overall experience adding a greater sense of drama and sombre tones to a movie that was considered quite controversial for its time.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ may be 62 years old but this is a classic in every sense of the word; timeless, relevant and engaging. Who needs 60 foot robots battling to the death? Or a native race of blue aliens battling for survival on another planet? Give me a bit of Brando, some black and white and excellent acting and I am good to go.

 

4 and a Half Pops