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A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Vivien Leigh

The recommendation for this week is another Vivien Leigh film: “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Her performance here was, again, magnificent. The role of Blanche duBois fit her to perfection, and so Vivien earned her second Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, but also a Golden Globe. Her co-stars were the great Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden. All three of them appeared also in the Broadway production, only Vivien made the British theatrical version, and not the American one, in which Jessica Tandy had the leading role. Vivien’s interpretation of the role and the style itself were modeled by her husband, Laurence Olivier, who directed the English stage version of the play written by Tennessee Williams. Directed by the gifted Elia Kazan,”Streetcar” is one of the top films of the 1950s and it still has a strong influence in the international cinema. It earned 4 Oscars, for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and Best Art Direction, and it also had 8 nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Music. Vivien’s stellar performance as the middle-aged Southern Belle, who has suffered many disillusions that caused her a serious mental and emotional problem, is still a subject for discussion and, along with Scarlett O’Hara, is considered the best performance of Vivien Leigh in her entire career.

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