A Streetcar Named Desire

Overview

This production presents the complete text of A Streetcar Named Desire, the 1947 Tennessee Williams masterpiece. The story centers on the destruction of a lonely Mississippi widow, Blanche DuBois (Jessica Lange), by her brutally outspoken brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (Alec Baldwin). The play begins when Blanche arrives in New Orleans from Laurel, Mississippi, at the squalid apartment of her pregnant sister, Stella, and Stella's husband, Kowalski. After announcing that she is on leave from a teaching position,...
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Overview

This production presents the complete text of A Streetcar Named Desire, the 1947 Tennessee Williams masterpiece. The story centers on the destruction of a lonely Mississippi widow, Blanche DuBois (Jessica Lange), by her brutally outspoken brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (Alec Baldwin). The play begins when Blanche arrives in New Orleans from Laurel, Mississippi, at the squalid apartment of her pregnant sister, Stella, and Stella's husband, Kowalski. After announcing that she is on leave from a teaching position, Blanche discloses that creditors have expropriated the family estate, Belle Reve. Consequently, sister Stella will never receive a penny of her share in the property. Skeptical, Stanley angrily demands documented proof of the property loss. Blanche provides it. The lingering animosity from this incident then builds relentlessly over several months. To protect herself from Stanley and his crude working-class world, Blanche cocoons herself in a delusional world of Old South ideals. She is ever the aristocratic belle. Truculent Stanley, however, seizes every opportunity to bullyrag dainty Blanche. He despises her elegant ways, her put-on airs. In turn, she shudders at his rudeness and vulgarity. But deep in her lonely soul--deep in the instinctual id that drove her to promiscuity in Laurel--she harbors a perverse attraction for Stanley. Her mental state, meanwhile, verges on insanity; one day her prince will come, an Old South cavalier with a gleaming sword. When Stanley's friend Mitch woos her, Stanley sabotages the romance after digging into Blanche's past and tattling to Mitch about her affairs. Stella goes into labor and gives birth. When proud papa Stanley returns from the hospital, Blanche is swilling liquor. Stanley gulps a few and rapes Blanche. She then steps across the border between the real and the unreal as the play draws to a conclusion.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
This 1995 television adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire reunites the stars of the poorly received 1992 Broadway adaptation, Jessica Lange (Blanche DuBois) and Alec Baldwin (Stanley Kowalski). After it debuted on network television, it fared better with critics than the stage production, garnering Lange and Baldwin Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Lange generally excels as the traditional stage DuBois: clever and coquettish, then pitiful and hapless, while descending ever deeper into a fantasy world of Old South gentility. Whether Lange's portrayal has enough verve to rival Vivian Leigh's nuanced performance in Elia Kazan's heralded 1951 film adaptation of the play is arguable. Lange's co-star, Baldwin, performs well enough to make his character believable, but he lacks the viscera to match the earthy brutality of Marlon Brando's tour de force portrayal of Kowalski in the 1951 film. Consequently, the collision between the real world of Kowalski and the make-believe world of DuBois jars but does not shock, weakening the outcome of the play. Diane Lane (Stella) and John Goodman (Mitch) received mixed reviews in supporting roles. Perhaps, in the end, the success or failure of actors negotiating the emotional maze of a Tennessee Williams play lies entirely in the eyes and ears of the beholders--not infrequently befuddled beholders. One clear advantage, though, that the 1995 adaptation has over the 1951 film is that it gives viewers the whole play, including controversial scenes and dialogue censored out of the earlier version.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/22/2011
  • UPC: 014381680928
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:36:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 16,094

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jessica Lange Blanche Dubois
Alec Baldwin Stanley Kowalski
John Goodman Harold "Mitch" Mitchell
Diane Lane Stella Kowalski
Patricia Herd Matron
Technical Credits
Glenn Jordan Director
Ralf Bode Cinematographer
Fred Harpman Production Designer
David Simmons Editor
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Streetcar Named Desire
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