Streetcar Named Desire, A: Special Edition

This year marks the centennial of Tennessee Williams, arguably one of the two greatest American playwrights; the other being Eugene O’Neill.

A Streetcar Named Desire: 2-Disc Special Edition is a tribute to what is considered to be Williams’ greatest masterpiece.  It’s also director Kazan’s most intensely acted film.

This edition features three minutes of footage that was deleted from the final release version ( and thought lost until its rediscovery in the early 1990s) that underscores, 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. The Legion of Decency required these scenes be cut in order for the film to be released.
A Streetcar Named Desire depicts a culture clash between Blanche DuBois, a pretentious, fading relic of the Old South and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, inner-city immigrant class. Blanche is a Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask her nymphomania and alcoholism,  Arriving at the house of her sister Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter),  Stella fears Blanche’s arrival will upset the balance of her relationship with her husband Stanley, a primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual force of nature.  He dominates Stella in every way, and she tolerates his offensive crudeness and lack of gentility largely because of her sexual need for him.  Stanley’s friend and Blanche’s would-be suitor Mitch (Karl Malden) is similarly trampled along Blanche and Stanley’s collision course. Their final and inevitable confrontation results in Blanche’s mental annihilation.

The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Karl Malden), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh) , Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Hunter), and Best Art Direction– Set Decoration, Black-and-White. It was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White, Best Director, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Picture, Best Sound Recording and Best Writing, Screenplay.

In 1999, the film was selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Special Features Disc One:
Commentary by Karl Malden and film historian Rudy Behlmer

Elia Kazan movie trailer gallery


Special Features Disc Two:

Movie and audio outtakes

Marlon Brando screen test

Elia Kazan: A Director’s Journey documentary

Five Docus

A Streetcar on Broadway

A Streetcar in Hollywood

Desire and Censorship

North and the South

An Actor Named Brando

The Tennessee Williams Film Collection, an eight-disc DVD set containing the acclaimed film adaptations of America’s greatest playwrights, was released May 2, 2005 by Warner Home Video.

The collection, priced at $79.92, features the long-awaited DVD debuts of Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone along with a newly remastered two-disc Special Edition of A Streetcar Named Desire and single disc Deluxe Edition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Also included is a bonus disc, the rarely seen feature-length documentary, Tennessee Williams’ South.  A Streetcar Named Desire is available for $26.99; all other individual titles are available for $19.97 each.
The best acting to be seen in American films of the 1950s and 1960s is in the various film versions of Williams’ plays.  In this collection, you’ll see the brilliant and young Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Paul Newman, Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Geraldine Page and Warren Beatty.

Extras Include Insightful New Making-Of Documentaries for Each Film, Expert Commentaries, Rare Screen Tests, Film/Audio Outtakes, Spotlight on Marlon Brando, and More.  Bonus materials in this collection include new making-of documentaries for each film, plus expert commentaries, never before seen outtakes, rare screen tests with Brando, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, a radio broadcast with Brando from 1947 and vintage featurettes.  Exclusive to the collection is a special bonus disc, Tennessee Williams’ South, a feature-length vintage documentary that includes remarkable interviews with Williams in and around New Orleans, plus great scenes from Williams’ plays especially filmed for this documentary, including rare footage of Jessica Tandy as Blanche (the role she created in A Streetcar Named Desire) and Maureen Stapleton as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie.

Williams, from whose pen came stunning unforgettable characters, powerful portraits of the human condition and an incredible vision of life in the South — stands with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller as one of the three quintessentially eminent American playwrights.

Thomas Lanier Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911 and his southern upbringing was reflected in the subjects, often based on family members that he chose to write about.  He published his first short story at the age of sixteen and his first great Broadway success was The Glass Menagerie, starring Laurette Taylor that won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle award in 1945 as the best play of the season.
Williams himself often commented on the violence in his own work, which to him seemed part of the human condition; he was conscious, also, of the violence in his plays. Critics who attacked the “excesses” of Williams’ work often were making thinly veiled assaults on his sexuality. Homosexuality was not discussed openly at that time but in Williams’ plays the themes of desire and isolation show, among other things, the influence of having grown up gay in a homophobic world.