Arlecchino Cinema > 11:00


Elia Kazan


Tuesday 28/06/2016


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Kazan is perhaps the best director of actors in post-war American cinema and with his usual sense of intuition, he chose an actress [Vivien Leigh] from a completely different school and tradition from the Actors Studio. (It is well-known that, despite being widely consulted by Olivier, Kazan did not like the London staging of Streetcar and accepted Leigh only because the producers demanded a ‘name’, which Brando had yet to become, for such a difficult film). The camera is extremely mobile within the film’s theatrical sets and captures the actress’ reactions while, like a seasoned professional, she works through a series of observations worthy of a psychodrama.
But it is Brando who steals the film. Sensual and animal-like, violent and childish, his Stanley displays himself in jeans and t-shirt (ripped in the back in his key scene with Stella), or in vulgar and garish flowered shirts; his heavy and muscular physique conveys a magnetic charge. His scenes with Blanche are “electric” because “Brando has the vulgarity, the cruelty, the sadism – and, at the same time, he has something terribly attractive about him” (Kazan). In contrast to the theatre, it is once again the close-ups which highlight the character’s infantile side. […]
Kazan’s direction, in this and in all his films, is extraordinary in its attention to the value of teamwork. That Brando’s image (of which he will remain a prisoner for many years) imposes itself over all the others was not a calculated effect. The screen has its own predilections, and the public’s imagination does the rest. Kazan does not favour anyone, and he gets the best out of his quartet of actors, with the most rigorous impartiality, placing them within a closed and oppressive theatrical set, with few exterior scenes, also filmed in the studio and equally ‘theatrical’. […] For three consecutive films in the space of four intense years, the names of Kazan and Brando were inextricably linked. With Streetcar Kazan helped consolidate Brando’s exterior image and, great star-maker that he is, assured him an astonishing success.

Goffredo Fofi

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalla pièce omonima di Tennessee Williams. Scen.: Tennessee Williams. F.: Harry Stradling. M.: David Weisbart. Scgf.: Richard Day. Mus.: Alex North. Int.: Vivien Leigh (Blanche DuBois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella), Karl Malden (Mitch), Rudy Bond (Steve), Nick Dennis (Pablo), Peg Hillias (Eunice), Richard Garrick (il dottore). Prod.: Charles K. Feldman per Warner Bros.. DCP. D.: 122’. Bn.