A Streetcar Named Desire

"Stella! Hey, Stella!" Stanley

"Stella! Hey, Stella!" Stanley


A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) had the impact of a nuclear explosion that forever changed acting.

Directed by Elia Kazan from a Tennessee Williams play.

Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Vivien Leigh and Kim Hunter among others.

There was before Brando and after Brando in acting. Just as there was before Jean-Luc Godard's, Breathless and after Breathless in film making. Marlon Brando with one desperate scream revolutionized acting. 

The film won acting Oscars for Karl Malden(Best Support Actor), Vivien Leigh(Best Lead Actress) and Kim Hunter(Best Supporting Actress). Marlon was only nominated for Best Actor. All the main actors in this film make this film memorable. 

The amount of work required of an actor to get to the point that Brando reached in his screams for Stella in scene below is beyond human comprehension. Not only do you need to research the character, time, place, etc... You need to open the deepest parts of your soul and be willing to let the audience see all you and your characters warts, fears, dreams, desires, heartbreaks, failures, etc... 

Think you can do it? Try this little exercise. Go to those you love most and tell them completely naked in a public place, out loud the most intimate, private things about you, that you never want anyone to know about you. Welcome to acting folks. Actors use their own bodies, mind and soul to create their art. 

On film, you have the added horror of repeating it several times for different camera angles and wide angle and close up shots with a full crew. On stage, if something goes wrong (scene partner forgets lines leading up to your Stella moment, stage lights go dark, cat walks on stage, audience member sneezes, etc... you need to incorporate it into your Stella moment). Most film actors won't go near a stage, while theater actors dread having no audience to work off of on film. Few actors can do both film and theater successfully.

In scene below, listen to Brando scream, Stella in background. Stella is compelled to come to Brando's aid. Heck, as an audience member I find myself wanting to come and save Brando myself. Ever hear a child scream? It's every bit as blood curling as Brando's, Stella! Children scream from absolute terror, same as Brando screams in absolute terror for Stella to come to him. It's an All or Nothing scream, that children do instinctively out of fear of loneliness. Brando, at bottom of stairs after Stella comes out is a physical and mental mess. Love ain't easy. when we men are physically and mentally spent for love it's when women love us most. A woman wants it All from her lover. They want their men to need them more than life itself. Until we can go where Brando or children go our women won't come down those stairs. 

Trivia - The director William Wyler had wanted to develop the play for Betty Davis to play Blanche.