Aug 10, 2009

16th August 2009 ;A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire
A film by Elia Kazan
Country : USA
Year : 1951
English with English sub titles
Runtime: 125 mins
16th August 2009 ; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Call 94430 39630

Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning play made the transition from stage to screen with its director, Elia Kazan, and most of its cast intact, including the extraordinary young Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski. Marlon Brando burnt the screen in this milestone performance as Stanley (his second lead role), and is matched scene for scene by Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter and everyone else in one of the most riveting displays of ensemble acting in American cinema.
Elia Kazan’s directing is excellent. He and Cinematographer Harry Stradling, manage to capture the explosive and hard-hitting moments of the film, like the infamous rape scene and “poker loosing” scene, where Brando after loosing the poker game erupts into madness and starts assaulting and destroying everything he finds. Also the immediate scene after that, where the camera manages to catch the immensity of the lust and the love that Stella and Stanley have between each other.
This film was extremely controversial when it was released back in 1951 since censors (damn them) criticized the film for its dealing with subjects and references like homosexuality, nymphomania, domestic violence, sexual obsession, hysteria, and rape. Kazan had to fight to let him give out a realistic portrayal that was truthful to the play, and lost. They forbid him of shooting certain scenes, and he was forced to cut several key moments of many scenes. Thankfully, five important minutes were restored later, and it made a big difference on the movie itself.
The movie was shot, of course, in black and white. Dramas made in 1951 nearly always were. Color would have been fatal to the special tone. It would have made the characters seem too real, when we need them exactly like this, black and gray and silver, shadows projected on the screens of their own dreams and needs. Watching the film is like watching a Shakespearean tragedy. Of course the outcome is predestined, but everything is in the style by which the characters arrive there. Watch Brando absently scratching himself on his first entrance. Look at the way he occupies the little apartment as if it were a pair of dirty shorts. Then watch him flick that piece of lint.

The film has a permanent place amongst the classics, and not only for the performances but for Tennessee Williams' raw writing about people raw with pain and fear and longing and complicated feelings.

Elia Kazan, (September 7, 1909 – September 28, 2003), was an award-winning film and theatre director, film and theatrical producer, screenwriter, novelist and co-founder of the influential Actors Studio in New York in 1947. Kazan was a three-time Academy Award winner, a five-time Tony Award winner, a four-time Golden Globes winner, as well as a recipient of numerous awards and nominations in other prestigious festivals as the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.

Kazan was born Elias Kazanjoglou in the Anatolian city of the Ottoman Empire, Kayseri,( Turkey) to a Greek family.His family emigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York City.

A highly successful stage director and a co-founder of "The Actors Studio" in New York, Elia Kazan brought his psychological and emotional philosophy of stage performance to Hollywood in 1945 and sparked a radical redefinition of screen acting during the 1950s while at the same time producing socially conscious films which challenged societal norms and addressed such controversial topics as anti-Semitism, racism, alcoholism, public corruption and the cult of celebrity. Further marked by compelling personal stories, Kazan's films also showcased career-defining performances by such 1950s film icons as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Natalie Wood.

In 1983 Kazan was honoured for his Life Achievement in a Kennedy Center ceremony. When he received in 1999 the Honorary Oscar, Warren Beatty rose and applauded and Nick Nolte remained seated stony-faced. Kazan's films have earned 22 Academy Awards and 62 nominations, including two Directing Oscars. He was married three times; all his wifes were blondes. "Being Greek, blondness is my fetish," Kazan wrote in The Arrangement. In 1932 he married Moly Day Thatcher, a playwright; they had four children. She died in 1963. Barbara Loden, an actress, writer and director, whom he married in 1967, died in 1980. From 1982 Kazan was married to Frances Rudge. Elia Kazan died on September 28, 2003, at his home in Manhattan.

No comments: