1951 Certificate: 15

Synopsis

Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh combine with director Elia Kazan for the definitive screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams' steamy slice of Southern melo-theatre. Tensions rise when flaky Blanche Dubois (Leigh) moves into a claustrophobic New Orleans tenement with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) and her brutish husband Stanley (Brando). You can cut the atmosphere with a knife as both sisters fall victim to Brando's animal attraction. Leigh, Hunter and co-star Karl Malden won Oscars for their sterling performances, but it's Brando everyone remembers. "Stellaaaaa!"

Director

  • Elia Kazan

Cast

  • Marlon Brando

  • Vivien Leigh

  • Kim Hunter

  • Karl Malden

Review

Brilliant ensemble performances won Academy Awards for Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden, plus a nomination for Marlon Brando in this explosive film version of Tennessee Williams' uncomfortably powerful play.

Leigh is unforgettable as Blanche Dubois, the fading southern belle who, after her marriage breaks up, is forced to stay with her sister Stella (Hunter) and her heavy-drinking husband (Brando) in their rat-trap New Orleans 'apartment' (really too grand a word for it).

Although sordid and gloomy throughout, the film fascinates rather than alienates us, thanks to the unpredictability of the plot, the hypnotic qualities in the acting, and art direction and set decoration (you can almost feel the damp and hear the cockroaches) that were both also rewarded with Oscars.

Brando's sweaty, animalistic Stanley Kowalski shot him to superstardom and brought forth a million imitators of his earthy, vaguely slurred delivery.