Monday, April 1, 2013

A Streetcar Named Desire - Movie Review

As some of you know, I'm a big fan of the movies - classic and current. Some other posts I've done on movies:

Classic
Not-so-classic

In college, I took several classes in film and television. These were some of the most fun classes I took; because every week we got to have a 'lab' where we saw a movie or a sequence of television shows. Everything from Murphy Brown to Busby Berkeley to Cyd Charisse. It was completely awesome!

Subscribing to Netflix means that I can spend my brief free time blocks watching movies. I don't get out to the theaters much anymore, so this is the only way I can watch movies.

Last night was one of those rare occasions where the husband was out, the kids were in bed, and I had the TV all to myself. Movie night!
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A Streetcar Named Desire

Before watching

What I know about this movie comes only from pop culture references, things like "Stella!" being shouted by a man at a window and the famous last line, "I've always depended upon the kindness of strangers." I know that it starred Marlon Brando, and that it was based on a play by Tennessee Williams. I had read The Glass Menagerie in high school, but not either Streetcar or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (his other famous plays). So I knew I was in for some crafted lines and dramatic, painful characters.

During the film

Okay so for those of us born after 1970; who knew that Marlon Brando was hot! I mean it's a bit surprising to hear the famous voice from The Godfather or Superman's Dad, coming out of someone who would make any teenager of any generation swoon. I have always thought of him as an actor with presence but this movie seals the deal. He's a fantastic actor, worthy of all the praise he's received.



Vivien Leigh is incredible. No wonder she took home the Best Actress Oscar for this movie. At first I was all like, wow, okay, so she's playing this southern belle character and I feel like it's so one-dimensional and false. But as the movie goes on I'm realizing that she's really got layers on layers, and the reason she came off as one-dimensional is because she's an actress portraying a person who is putting up a false image of themselves. Very meta and very, very well done. Having not read the play ( I won't spoil it for you if you haven't) I was completely taken in and carried along by the story she was telling.

After the film

The story was compelling. The acting was terrific, violent and strong. I would rate this among the best stories I've seen in a long time.  I think with the dark subject matter the audio was done really well (adding to the tension at all the right spots and not getting in the way of the story). However, the film style was a little less than I was hoping for. I wonder if chairoscuro would have changed the feel of the film? It just seemed like the dirtiness of New Orleans was not dirty enough, and the mood was almost 'too light' at times to match the story.

Okay so four and a half out of five stars for me. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes drama and classic movies.

Anyone have a favorite movie they want to recommend? Add it to the comments!

Janet

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the empathy blog; other people very VERY very hot when younger: Robert Wagner;
more as I think of them

susan thom said...

hi janet,
i hope all is well.
there are a few movies that have really moved me. the first was "to kill a mockingbird" i saw it as a young child, and the lessons were absorbed forever-non discrimination being the top one. i also liked "lilies of the field", sidney poitier was so good, and again, lessons were learned. i loved "beaches" not only because i love bette midler, but because it was such a moving theme, and yet so funny at times, and of course, i love the song "you are my hero"
barbara streisand is another favorite of mine, and i loved the movie "a star is born" i like movies that have feeling and lessons. "brian's song" is another one.
i don't like watching a movie just for the sake of having something to do, it either has to be one someone has told me about, or i've seen a commercial for and i like what i see. denzel washington also has some good tear jerker movies, such as "remember the titans" of course, "to sir with love" is still one of my all time favorites.
my best to you,
sue

Anonymous said...

more from Anonymous above, "Frank Sinatra as a young man had something special. He wasn't handsome.....but" and "actors who were very handsome when younger: Robert Wagner, Tab Hunter"

Janet said...

thanks everyone! I've added a few of these to my Netflix queue. Now to find the time to watch them. :)