A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE [1951 / 2012] [60th Anniversary Edition] [Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [USA Release] Perhaps The Most Thrilling Display of Ensemble Acting in this All American Film!
‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’  [The Original Restored Version] is the Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams film moviegoers would have not have seen, because of the Legion of Decency censorship occurred at the last minute in 1951. Here it makes its Blu-ray debuted, stunningly restored and digital re-mastered to brilliant 1080p clarity. This classic is presented in a collectable, premium 40 page Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook, with behind-the-scenes photography, production notes, biographies and more! Plus Three minutes of previously unseen footage underscoring, among other things, the sexual tension between Blanche DuBois [Vivien Leigh] and Stanley Kowalski [Marlon Brando], and Stella Kowalski's [Kim Hunter] passion for husband Stanley Kowalski. This is the Original Restored Version.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1951 National Board of Review, USA: Win: NBR Award for Top Ten Films. 1951 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Win: Best Film. Win: Best Director for Elia Kazan. Win: Best Actress for Vivien Leigh. Win: Best Actor for Marlon Brando. 1951 Venice Film Festival: Win: Special Jury Prize for Elia Kazan [For having produced a stage play on screen, poetically interpreting the humanity of the characters, thanks to masterly direction]. Win: Volpi Award for Best Actress for Vivien Leigh. Nominated: Golden Lion Award for Elia Kazan. 1952 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Vivien Leigh. Win: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Karl Malden. Win: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Kim Hunter. Win: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in Black-and-White for George James Hopkins and Richard Day. Nominated: Best Picture for Charles K. Feldman. Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Marlon Brando. Nominated: Best Director for Elia Kazan. Nominated: Best Writing or Screenplay for Tennessee Williams. Nominated: Best Cinematography in Black-and-White for Harry Stradling Sr. Nominated: Best Costume Design in Black-and-White for Lucinda Ballard. Nominated: Best Sound and Recording for Nathan Levinson (Warner Bros.). Nominated: Best Music and Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for Alex North. 1952 Golden Globes: Win: Best Supporting Actress for Kim Hunter. Nominated: Best Motion Picture in a Drama. Nominated: Best Actress in a Drama for Vivien Leigh. 1952 Directors Guild of America: Nominated: DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Elia Kazan. 1952 Writers Guild of America: Nominated: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Drama for Tennessee Williams. 1953 BAFTA Film Awards: Win: Best British Actress for Vivien Leigh [USA]. Nominated: Best Film from any Source [USA]. 1957 Sant Jordi Awards: Win: Special Award for Tennessee Williams. Win: Special Award for Vivien Leigh.
Cast: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, Wright King, Richard Garrick, Ann Dere, Edna Thomas, Mickey Kuhn, Mel Archer (uncredited), Dahn Ben Amotz (uncredited), Marietta Canty (uncredited), John George (uncredited), John Gonetos (uncredited), Chester Jones (uncredited), Lyle Latell (uncredited), Maxie Thrower (uncredited), Charles Wagenheim (uncredited), John B. Williams (uncredited) and Buck Woods (uncredited)
Director: Elia Kazan
Producer: Charles K. Feldman
Screenplay: Tennessee Williams (screenplay/ original play "A Streetcar Named Desire") and Oscar Saul (adaptation)
Composer: Alex North
Cinematography: Harry Stradling Sr., A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Black-and-White)
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Mono Audio
French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
German: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Italian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Português: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Romanian, Slovenian and Swedish
Running Time: 125 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’  originally garnered most of the drama prizes awards when it was playing on Broadway. But with director Elia Kazan and a simply superlative cast have fashioned a motion picture that throbs with passion and poignancy. Indeed, through the haunting performance England's great Vivien Leigh gives in the heart-breaking role of Tennessee Williams's deteriorating Southern belle and through the mesmerising moods with the help of Elia Kazan and with his brilliant techniques that you view on the screen, this picture has now become a fine, if not finer, than the stage play. Inner torments are seldom projected with such sensitivity and clarity on the screen.
Blanche DuBois [Vivien Leigh] is an aging schoolteacher who leaves her hometown under mysterious circumstances and stays with her pregnant sister Stanley Kowalski [Kim Hunter] in New Orleans. Stanley Kowalski [Marlon Brando] is Stella Kowalski's brutish husband, resents Blanche DuBois's presence and accuses her of squandering the family inheritance. Stanley Kowalski sets about tearing down the fragile world of illusion with which Blanche DuBois attempts to surround herself.
Of course, the first factor in this triumph is Tennessee Williams's original play, which embraced, among its many virtues, an essential human conflict in visual terms. The last brave, defiant, hopeless struggle of the lonely and decaying Blanche du Bois to hold on to her faded gentility against the heartless badgering of her roughneck brother-in-law is a tangible cat-and-dog set to, marked with manifold physical episodes as well as a wealth of fluctuations of verbally fashioned images and moods. And all of these graphic components have been fully preserved in Oscar Saul's film script and availed of by the brilliant director Elia Kazan in his cinematic tour-de-force.
No less brilliant, however, within his area is Marlon Brando in the role of the loud, lusty, brawling, brutal, amoral Polish brother-in-law. Marlon Brando created the role in the Broadway stage play and he carries over all the energy and the steel-spring characteristics that made him vivid on the stage. But here, where we're so much closer to him, he seems that much more highly charged, his despairs seem that much more pathetic, and his comic moments that much more slyly enjoyed.
Other actors from the Broadway cast of the stage play, Kim Hunter as the torn young sister and wife, and Karl Malden as a timid, boorish suitor Harold 'Mitch' Mitchell, Nick Dennis [Pablo Gonzalez] as a pal, and all the rest fill out the human pattern within a sleazy environment that is so fittingly and graphically created that you can almost sense its sweatiness and smells. Alex North's incidental music deserves prominent commendation, too, as do all of the technical aspects of this film which Charles K. Feldman has produced.
Needless to say, the filming of ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ was more problematic than the stage production. Vivien Leigh clashed with Elia Kazan over her interpretation of Blanche DuBois and also had problems connecting with her fellow cast members who were trained in the “Stanislavsky Method,” especially in many ways she was Blanche DuBois. Marlon Brando said in his autobiography, Vivien Leigh was memorably beautiful, one of the great beauties of the screen, but she was also vulnerable, and her own life had been very much like that of Tennessee Williams's wounded butterfly...like Blanche DuBois, and was beginning to dissolve mentally and frayed at the end physically.
While in production, ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ began to encounter resistance from the film industry's self-regulating production code office with references to the sexuality of Blanche DuBois's deceased husband were removed and the harsh original ending was altered, with Stella rejecting her husband rather than remaining by his side. Still, the film encountered controversy during its release and Warner Bros. deleted an additional five minutes of material, it was later added back in a 1993 restoration, which included dialogue references to Blanche DuBois's past promiscuity and visual evidence of the lustful relationship between Stanley Kowalski and Stella Kowalski.
All the troubles were well worth it in the end because `‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ is now considered a landmark film in terms of the ensemble performances, especially with Elia Kazan's direction and the evocative art direction by Richard Day. The derelict New Orleans tenement is given a convincing presence through the accumulation of image details, such as crumbling stucco and bricks, peeling wallpaper, streaks of dirt on the walls and the dramatic courtyard staircase with wrought iron railings. In collaboration with Harry Stradling Jr. and his evocative textures of light and shadow cinematography, where the sets provide crucial atmospheric support for the actors' naturalistic performances. Plus the Composer Alex North's haunting film score, which unfortunately was only nominated for Best Music, Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.
While in production, ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ began to encounter resistance from the film industry's self-regulating production code office. References to Blanche DuBois's deceased [gay] husband were removed and the harsh original ending was altered, with Stella Kowalski rejecting her husband rather than remaining by his side. Still, the film encountered controversy during its release and Warner Bros. deleted an additional five minutes of material, it was later added back in a 1993 restoration, which included dialogue references to Blanche DuBois's past promiscuity and visual evidence of the lustful relationship between Stanley Kowalski and Stella Kowalski.
All the trouble was worth it in the end because ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ is now considered a landmark classic film in terms of the ensemble performances, Elia Kazan's direction and the evocative art direction by Richard Day. The derelict New Orleans tenement is given a convincing presence through the accumulation of details such as crumbling stucco and bricks, peeling wallpaper, streaks of dirt on the walls and the dramatic courtyard staircase with wrought iron railings. In collaboration with Harry Stradling Sr. and his evocative cinematic textures of light and shadow, which the sets provide crucial atmospheric support for the actors' naturalistic performances.
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE MUIC TRACK LIST
IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON (1933) (uncredited) (Music by Harold Arlen) (Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg and Billy Rose) [Sung by Vivien Leigh while doing her hair]
SOMEBODY LOVES ME (1924) (uncredited) (Music George Gershwin) [Played by the band and used as background music]
GOODNIGHT, LADIES (1847) (uncredited) (Written by Edwin P. Christy) [Played as background music]
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB (uncredited) (Written by Sarah Josepha Hale)
VARSOUVIANA POLKA/WARSAW POLKA (uncredited) (By Anna Slezakova)
THE JAPANESE SANDMAN (uncredited) (Music by Richard A. Whiting) (Lyrics by Ray Egan)
Blu-ray Image Quality – This Blu-ray has a stunning 1080p image transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 that was achieved with many of the original film's black-and-white negative. It is typical of the fine work Warner Home Video has done with some it prestige titles like ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘Casablanca.’ Fine detail is more variable, struggling a bit in wider shots, and faring better in close ups, yet film grain looks intact with no evidence of excessive noise reduction measures. Dupes and other image manipulations (one standing out more than others), made in the original edit, can be starkly obvious next to the sharper and tighter extra supplements material. But the transfer ultimately proves faithful to the source elements, even though those elements may not always look the most perfect.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Considering that `A Streetcar Named Desire' is more than sixty years old, the sound quality is still impressive. Sure, there are modest limitations in fidelity, but the track is a very strong performer. Alex North’s music comes across with good sense of character. Most signs of background hiss and noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, which leaves a generally smooth quality to the soundtrack. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary by Actor Karl Malden, and Film Historians Rudy Behlmer and Jeff Young: This audio commentary features supplements producer Laurent Bouzereau hosting and we get comments from co- star Karl Malden (Actor), Rudy Behlmer (Film Historian) and Jeff Young who were all recorded separately. Jeff Young got to know Elia Kazan quite well when Jeff Young was an executive of Paramount Pictures and has some good anecdotes about the director Elia Kazan. Rudy Behlmer contributes more of an overall historical perspective towards the film and Warner Bros., and Karl Malden is able to give an actor's viewpoint, on both the stage and screen versions. Some of Karl Malden's comments about Marlon Brando in his early career are quite surprising, and there are some wonderful anecdotes shared about the original Broadway run, including some great stories about the “mother hen,” the original star Jessica Tandy. This is an extremely worthwhile and informative piece that should appeal equally to scholars and film fans alike.
Special Feature Length Profile of Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey  [480i] [1.37:1] [75:30] Written and directed by film critic and film historian Richard Schickel, and narrated by Eli Wallach, the documentary traces Elia Kazan's career from his beginnings as a stage actor to his work as an award-winning film director. An extensive interview with the director Elia Kazan himself provides much of the film's structure and content, following a predictable pattern that alternates between the interview and material from the films. As it focuses almost exclusively on his directing work, there's little examination of Elia Kazan's controversial actions related to the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1950s. Nevertheless, it provides a fitting tribute to a very talented director. We also get a very interesting insight into the journey Elia Kazan journey from his native land where he was born and eventually ending up directing top quality Hollywood and New York films that have won endless plaudits. This is a definite documentary not to be missed.
Special Feature Documentary: A Streetcar on Broadway  [480i] [1.37:1] [22:00] This feature documentary describes with the development, production, and reception of Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning play and how it made its journey to the silver screen and Richard Schickel provides most of the interview material. Much of the footage consists of the director Elia Kazan, discussing the play. Contribution include: Rudy Behlmer (Film Historian), Kim Hunter (Actress) (archive footage), Elia Kazan (Director) (archive footage), Karl Malden (Actor), Richard Schickel (Author of Elia Kazan: A Biography) and Jessica Tandy (Actress) (archive footage).
Special Feature Documentary: A Streetcar in Hollywood  [480i] [1.37:1] [28:08] A continuation of the previous feature documentary which describes the play's next phase as it moves from the stage to the silver screen. Once again, we get contributions from different people about the film from an interesting point of view, as well as insightful information about the film’s backgraound. Contributors include: Rudy Behlmer (Film Historian), Kim Hunter (Actress) (archive footage), Elia Kazan (Director) (archive footage), Karl Malden (Actor) and Richard Schickel (Author of Elia Kazan: A Biography).
Special Feature Documentary: Censorship and Desire  [480i] [1.37:1] [16:20] With this particular documentary, we get details about the National Legion of Decency's objections and moral outrage to some of the sexual contents in the film, and the ultimate edits made in order for it to be “morally objectionable in part;” as opposed to be completely condemned. The three main issues were the Blanche DuBois /schoolboy dialogue, the homosexuality/suicide of her husband and then the rape sequence. It also informs us how the director's sleight of hand was instrumental in making subtle changes to allow the censors to pass the film. This interesting feature also provides helpful side-by-side views of the edited and original versions of key scenes. We also get to hear about how Alex North the composer had to re-score the film music, as the censors thought certain scenes were too provocative with his original composed film score. But luckily by accident they found a can of film with all the censored scenes intact and were carefully restored to the original restored version of the film. Contribution include: Rudy Behlmer (Film Historian), Kim Hunter (Actress) (archive footage), Karl Malden (Actor), Richard Schickel (Author of Elia Kazan: A Biography) and Robert Townson (Record Producer).
Special Feature Documentary: North and the Music of the South  [480i] [1.37:1] [9:14] This fascinating documentary gives an interesting insight into the composer Alex North and how he gave the film its distinctive film score composition. Contributions comes in the form of Robert Townson (Record Producer) of Varese Sarabande and talks about the work of the award nominated composer Alex North, and shares how he got involved with producing and releasing Alex North's abandoned film music score to Stanley Kubrick's ‘2001: A Space Oddysey’ with the help of Jerry Goldsmith, which you can now hear the full score on a CD Album. We also get to find out that Robert Townson got to know Alex North personally in his later years before he sadly passed way. Contributors include: Jerry Goldsmith (Composer) (archive footage), Alex North (Composer) (archive footage) and Robert Townson (Record Producer).
Special Feature Documentary: An Actor Named Brando  [480i] [1.37:1] [8:52] Fellow performers and historians talk about the impression the actor made in the theatre and film industry and through his work on the Academy Award® winning film ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.’ We are also informed how Marlon Brando personality is so different from his screen persona and how he hated the character he played in the film. Contributors include: Kim Hunter (Actress) (archive footage), Elia Kazan (Director) (archive footage), Karl Malden (Actor) and Richard Schickel (Author of Elia Kazan: A Biography).
Special Feature: Marlon Brando Screen Test  [480i] [1.37:1] [5:05] Here we get to see the young actor Marlon Brando with Warner Bros. Test shots. We also get to view segments from Marlon Brando's screen test for the film ‘Rebel Without A Cause.’ But we also get intimate shots of a well-dressed Marlon Brando, who is obviously very self-conscious. Sometimes you get no audio sound at all.
Special Feature: Outtakes  [480i] [1.37:1] [15:38] Here we get to see a series of unused film clips from ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ that is somewhat sort of interesting, but without any context and to me personally was very hard to understand, especially as they are not in any set order and some are very short in appearance, but you also get a lot of repeat outtakes, especially with a voice over with the director Elia Kazan.
Special Feature: Outtakes [Audio only]  [1080p] [1.78:1] [17:01] Similar to the film outtakes, which is difficult to discern the context from seemingly random snippets of audio recordings and all the time you listen to this, you get a colorized still image from the film.
Theatrical Trailers: Here we get to see three Original Theatrical Trailers for the film ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ starting with Warner Bros. [1951 Release] [480i] [1.37:1] [2:34]; 20th Century Fox [1958 Reissue] [480i] [1.37:1] [2:08] and United Artists [1970 Reissue] [480i] [1.37:1] [1:48].
BONUS: A Special Collectible Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook. It includes different in-depth articles, that includes A LEGEND IN THE MAKING: KOWALSKI AND BRANDO. MARLON BRANDO AS STANLEY KOWALSKI. VIVIEN LEIGH AS BLNCHE DUBOIS. PLAYWRIGHT: TENNRSSEE WILLIAMS. TRIVA.BRINGING STREETCAR TO THE SCREEN. The nicely produced book packaging includes numerous amazing sepia colour photographs.
Finally, ‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ is a cinematic classic that has been beautifully rendered in high definition. Warner Home Video Blu-ray delivers a strong presentation of Elia Kazan's award-winning adaptation of the equally acclaimed Broadway play. This All Region Blu-ray release comes with awesome Special Features, that have been transferred from the 2006 special edition inferior DVD, making the purchase of this Blu-ray release, which is well worthwhile for those looking to upgrade 100%, as well as for first time purchasers of this Blu-ray disc. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso