Director: Elia Kazan
Damn. My NY resolution is to consume more of the classics in one form or another, and the project began strongly with films of A Man For All Seasons (1966), The Crucible (1996), Cleopatra (1963), The Scarlet Letter (1995) and Far From the Madding Crowd (2015), all of which I’ve got a kick out of for one reason or another.
Things came to a screeching halt with Streetcar. I always thought I liked Tennessee Williams and remember enjoying the play at Leicester Haymarket in the early 1990s, but this? Non merci. Could I really dig the Demi Moore box-office poison of The Scarlet Letter more than a movie commonly considered to be one of the greatest ever made, a film Woody Allen calls ‘total artistic perfection’?
Yes. Perhaps it coming so soon after the latest lockdown announcement was to blame, but two hours of Vivien Leigh’s nails-down-a-blackboard screeching and Marlon Brando breaking things proved a stressful and exhausting experience, offering no insight into the human condition other than ‘these people really need to calm down’. Having recognised a chunk of sampled dialogue, I paused the film in order to locate and play the song in question (a million brownie points if you can guess what it was) but resuming, I found the last act to be even more melodramatic and overheated than what came before, and I was overjoyed when it finally ended. Perhaps I’ve already had my Tennessee Williams phase. (I’m certainly reconsidering showings of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie.) Perhaps it’s all Covid’s fault. Either way, it’s big thumbs down from me.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: