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November 2010

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Vintage Movie Clip: A Streetcar Named Desire — “Hey, Stella!”

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I watched A Streetcar Named Desire during a Screen on the Green in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.  When Marlon Brando yelled, “Stella,” the entire audience erupted in applause, including people in surrounding houses that heard the line through their windows.  I had obviously heard the famous line uttered in the past, but when I saw the movie for the first time, I’m not sure I entirely understood why it became so famous.  Perhaps it’s the quality of the movie as a whole, coupled by Brando’s dreamy six-pack?  Or maybe when a man screams out a woman’s name, an audience remembers it?  That theory would certainly explain the historical prowess of “Adrian!”  Elia Kazan directed the film, and Vivien Leigh played Brando’s wife.  Kazan also directed the original Broadway show, and all of the cast members except Leigh starred in the Broadway show.  The interesting thing about the film is that Tennessee Williams’ original play left the ending ambiguous as to whether Stella and Stanley stayed together, but the movie ending made it clear that she left him.  In Tennessee’s memoirs, he said the movie was “marvelous,” but only “slightly marred by a Hollywood ending.”