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Blanche DuBois (married name Grey) is a fictional character in Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire. a traveling salesman who knew her, and reveals it to Mitch, who ends the relationship. The night Stella goes into labor, Stanley and Blanche are left alone in the apartment. A Streetcar Named Desire study guide contains a biography of Tennessee Stella. This moment represents a major blow to Blanche's world view. Stella's contentment with her relationship is completely foreign to Blanche. Stella and Blanche are sisters and seem to have a very close relationship. Blanche tends to talk for Stella whenever she gets the chance to.
That hope is destroyed, however, when Stanley learns of Blanche's past from a traveling salesman who knew her, and reveals it to Mitch, who ends the relationship. Blanche begins drinking heavily and escapes into a fantasy world, conjuring up the notion that an old flame, a millionaire named Shep Huntleigh, is imminently planning to take her away. The night Stella goes into labor, Stanley and Blanche are left alone in the apartment, and Stanley, drunk and powerful, rapes her.
This event, coupled with the fact that Stella does not believe her, sends Blanche over the edge into a nervous breakdown. In the final scene, Blanche is led off to a mental hospital by a matron and a kind-hearted doctor.
After a brief struggle, Blanche smilingly acquiesces as she loses all contact with reality, addressing the doctor with the most famous line in the play: I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. Uta Hagen took over the role of Blanche for the national tour, which was directed by Harold Clurman.
Blanche was also portrayed by Vivien Leigh in the London stage production, which was directed by her then-husband Laurence OlivierShe reprised the role in the film adaptation.
Tallulah Bankhead portrayed the role in The opening Kazan created is remarkably dense. Other things added to the brilliance of Streetcar. The producer Charles K.
Norman Holland on Elia Kazan, A Streetcar Named Desire ().
Feldman was able to work outside the studio system. Instead of picking from a menu of people that Warner Brothers had on contract, he could hire people from outside the studio.
That way, Kazan was able to use his Broadway cast and pick the cameraman he wanted Harry Stradling and the composer Alex North. North produced a score quite different from the usual Hollywood strings. He did not adopt the conventional approach of a leitmotif for each character. Instead he tried to represent the relations between the characters by themes: Combining these themes allowed Stanley to have moments of tenderness with Stella, and Blanche to have her final painful acceptance of her age.
Martin Scorsese's A Letter to Elia states something many people have said about Kazan, that he had to get beyond theater directing to become a good filmmaker. He had been a key member of the Group Theatre, and he was one of the founders of the Actors Studio, the High Church of method acting still in operation. And it is a great film because of the acting. He thought of actors as very much his collaborators.
The classics are beyond me. I am a mediocre director except when a play or film touches a part of my life's experience. I do have courage, even some daring. I am able to talk to actors. I have strong, even violent, feelings, and they are assets.
I take them to dinner. I talk to them. I meet their wives. I find out what the hell the human material is that I'm dealing with, so that by the time I take an unknown he's not an unknown to me. He himself wrote in Kazan on Directing, that he tried to find some aspect of himself in the major characters in a film or play he was about to direct.
Blanche DuBois - Wikipedia
Then he would choose actors he thought would be able to find stilll other dimensions to the character. Like many directors John Huston, Woody Allenhe thought a director should not mix into what the actors themselves had arrived at. He should intervene only if the actor seemed uncertain what to do. John Lahr summed him up: Then they can speak the written lines with true emotion.
What we see in Streetcar is the basic Stanislavskian principle: By contrast, his mouth is always in motion. From time to time he explodes into loud and violent rage, and after I have seen one or two of these I read him as simmering all the time, volcanic, about to have a tantrum like the child he partly is.Stanley and Stella
I read him as filled with inner tensions between the sexual, driving man and the helpless baby he can be to Stella. And of course he uses his biceps and chest and that t-shirt specially tailored to be skin-tight. Even so, Brando ws able to find the comedy in the character, his riff about the Napoleonic Code or his irritation at losing at poker or his novel method of clearing the table. She replaced Jessica Tandy who did Blanche on Broadway because the studio wanted the film to have a recognizable star.
She had acted Blanche for six months in the London production directed by Laurence Olivier, equally non-Method or anti-Method. Brando is her opposite.
He wants his inner self to be just under the surface and ready to explode. Her eyes, unlike his, are constantly working. She rolls and blinks them flirtatiously, radiating cuteness and childishness and evasion—and sex. Or she looks directly when she is getting down to business with Stella.
Her mouth has a girlish simper that she can turn on and off like a light bulb. An impressive moment for Leigh comes when Mitch forces Blanche to stand under a strong light.
She ages instantly the make-up department no doubt helped herebut all the tension in her face that maintained the cuteness and flirtiness of a Southern belle drains out, and her face melts into that of a suffering forty-year old woman.
As for Mitch, he plays the bashful lover to a T.