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A Year: Day to Day Men: 18th of September, Solar Year 2018

Morning Wake-Up Treat

September 18, 1951 marks the release the film “A Streetcar Named Desire”.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” is an American drama film adapted from Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 play of the same name. Williams collaborated with screen writer Oscar Saul and Elia Kazan on the screenplay. Kazan , who had directed the Broadway stage production, also directed the black and white film. Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden were all cast in their original Broadway roles; Vivien Leigh, who had appeared in the London theater production, was cast in the role of Blanche DuBois.

The play’s themes were controversial, causing the screenplay to be modified to comply with the Hollywood Production Code. In the original play, Blanche’s husband had committed suicide after he was discovered having a homosexual affair. This reference was removed from the film; Blanche says instead that she showed scorn at her husband’s sensitive nature, driving him to suicide. Other scenes were shot but cut after filming was complete to conform to the Production Code and later, to avoid condemnation by the National League of Decency.

The Production Code censors demanded 68 script changes from the Broadway staging, while the interference of the Catholic Legion of Decency led to even further cuts, most of them having to do with references to homosexuality and rape. In 1993, after Warner Brothers completed a routine inventory of ltheir archives, the censored footage was found and restored in an original director’s version.

The music score by Alex North was written in short sets of music that reflected the psychological dynamics of the characters. For his work on the film, North was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music Score, one of two nominations in that category that year.

Upon release of the film, Marlon Brando, virtually unknown at the time of the play’s casting, rose to prominence as a major Hollywood film star. The film marked the first of Marlon Brando’s four consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and earned an estimated $4,250,000 at the US and Canadian box office in 1951, making it the fifth biggest hit of the year.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” won four awards at the 24th Academy Awards. The film set an Oscar record when it became the first film to win in three acting categories, a feat later matched by the film “Network”. The awards the film won were: Vivien Leigh for Actress in a Leading Role, Karl Malden for Actor in a Supporting Role, Kim Hunter for Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Art Direction.

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