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Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Tennessee Williams’ entire Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece now can be seen for the first time completely unedited in this first “CBS Playhouse 90s” presentation. Prior filmmakers were ordered to cut controversial scenes – even resulting in a different ending as in the landmark film that propelled Marlon Brando to fame.Travel to the sultry streets of New Orleans and discover the family secrets that shaped the character of Blanche DuBois (Golden Globe® winner Jessica Lange), a seductive yet faded Southern belle who shows up at her sister’s door desperate and destitute. Struggling to weave an air of sophistication, Blanche’s façade doesn’t fool her crude, street-savvy brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (Alec Baldwin), and he torments her with devastating effect. For solace, she turns to her sister, Stella (Diane Lane), whose loyalties are torn between her husband and Blanche, and to Mitch (John Goodman), a kind but lonely man who offers Blanche what could be her last chance for happiness.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alec Baldwin, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Diane Lane
  • Directors: Glenn Jordan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 156 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004FGA2MG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,054 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
While it will not replace the classic 1951 Kazan film version, this television production of Tennessee Williams' "Streetcar Named Desire" comes textually closer and remains more faithful to what Williams actually wrote (with the exception of a few minor deletions). The most noticeable restoration is the issue of homosexuality in regard to Blanche's dead husband, which in 1951 had to be sidestepped. The performances are all quite good. Diane Lane as Stella and John Goodman as Mitch are more human and less deliberate than their Kazan counterparts, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. Alec Baldwin does quite well, especially considering the shadow of Brando which hangs over the role of Stanley Kowalski. Baldwin may lack the complete rawness and animal sexuality, but he improves over Brando in giving Stanley a sympathetic edge; another advantage is that Baldwin does not mumble.
Which brings us to Jessica Lange, whose portrayal of Blanche is both delicately shaded and strongly characterized; she is heart-breaking and luminous. Comparing her to Vivian Leigh, it is impossible to rank one over the other, as both performances seem "definitive" (now if we only had the performances of Jessica Tandy, Uta Hagen, and Tallulah Bankead preserved). The production design for once truly emphasizes the squalor in which Stella and Stanley live and which so shocks Blanche upon her arrival. Worth purchasing, especially for devotees of Williams.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DEWEY M. VINE VOICE on April 11, 2011
Format: DVD
Tennessee Williams is one of America's greatest playwrights, and 1947's Putlizer-Prize winning "A Streetcar Named Desire" is his undisputed masterpiece. Sam Staggs, in his definitive history of "Streetcar", correctly describes the play as "a root canal on the soul."
The plot concerns Blanche DuBois, who arrives in New Orleans seeking refuge from her troubled past in her sister Stella's small apartment. Blanche hadn't counted on her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, being so brutish and intensely sexual, however. She hopes to find a measure of happiness and peace with Stanley's friend Harold Mitchell (Mitch). A lesser playwright than Williams may well have given Blanche, and the audience, a happy ending with Mitch. But neither Williams nor his characters are that easy or simplistic. His characters are not all good or all bad. They exist in a morally gray area; with Williams exposing the cruel and harsh realities of life. When the truth of Blanche's sordid past is crudely and relentlessly exposed by Stanley, Mitch cruelly rejects her. Blanche loses her tenuous grip on reality. There is a final violent confrontation between Blanche and Stanley; which in turns leads to one of the most soul-shattering conclusions in theatre history.
The cast of this 1995 TV production, based on a successful Broadway revival starring Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin, does not have to contend with the censorship issues that plagued the otherwise outstanding 1951 film version. So here we have the full text and content of Williams' original play. This means we get the sad story of the suicide of Blanche's gay husband, and we see how it has haunted her for years. We also get the full, long scene between Blanche and Stella following the violent poker game.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 16, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I was age two in 1951 when Tennessee Williams's A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE had its first Silver Screen incarnation. I don't recall seeing this film during the 50s as part of a twenty-five cent, Saturday, kiddy matinee double feature. Well, we would have been bored with such grown-up tempests-in-a-teapot anyway. As an adult, I can now view both the original and this 1995 version, and reap the benefit of improved film-making technology and relaxed censorship, though both versions are substantively identical - no surprise, since they're both working off the same script.
Blanche Dubois arrives in post-WWII New Orleans from Mississippi to visit her younger sister Stella, who's married to Stanley Kowalsky. Both women were the products of a genteel, Southern upbringing, and Blanche is appalled by Stanley's brutishness and the sweltering, seedy, French Quarter apartment in which her sister happily lives. Early in life, Blanche was psychologically devastated her young husband's death. He'd committed suicide after Blanche had discovered his homosexuality and confronted him. Stella having departed the family estate, Belle Reve, for the Big City, the widowed Blanche was left to deal with the deaths of parents and the eventual loss of Belle Reve to creditors. Now, at the edge of sanity, Blanche perceives herself as a classic Southern lady fallen on hard times. But she has another side which Stanley, a male "pig" if there ever was one, immediately perceives. It's their tense interaction over several months that provides the story's conflict and seals Blanche's fate.
How do the players compare?
Alec Baldwin's 1995 Stanley is more than adequate. OK, he doesn't have the animal presence of Marlon Brando's original, but at least the former doesn't talk as if through a mouthful of cotton.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 2, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Perhaps I had lower expectations of this production since I have always been taken by the 1951 version of this Tennessee Williams classic with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. I couldn't imagine any performance by any actor competing with theirs. But in this version both Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange distinguish themselves. Of course they are not Brando and Leigh but they don't have to be. Lange who is famous for playing disturbed women (FRANCES and BLUE SKIES) is quite good as the fragile, mentally wobbly Blanche. There are times when she has that scary, crazy look in her eyes that puts chills on your spine. While Baldwin is not quite as much of an animal as Brando, he certainly is believable as the rough and sexy Stanley. Nobody exhibits more anger on screen than Mr. Baldwin. John Goodman brings a gentleness to his role as Mitch that makes him just right for the guiles of Blanche.

This entire production holds up well against the original with one exception. While I appreciate the additions that were omitted from the 1951 production-- we can speak about homosexuality now when even the Vice President of the United States talks about his gay daughter-- this version, however, is close to being too long. By the time the movie ended, I was ready for Blanche-- in what must be one of the saddest scenes in film-- to leave and make her famous statement about the kindness of strangers.
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