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May 14, 2022

Vintage Photos of Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando During the Filming of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (1951)

A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1951 American Southern Gothic drama film, adapted from Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. It is directed by Elia Kazan, and stars Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden. The film tells the story of a southern belle, Blanche DuBois, who, after encountering a series of personal losses, leaves her aristocratic background seeking refuge with her sister and brother-in-law in a dilapidated New Orleans apartment building. The original Broadway production and cast was converted to film, albeit with several changes.

Tennessee Williams collaborated with Oscar Saul and Elia Kazan on the screenplay. Kazan, who directed the Broadway stage production, also directed the black and white film. Brando, Hunter, and Malden all reprised their original Broadway roles. Although Jessica Tandy originated the role of Blanche DuBois on Broadway, Vivien Leigh, who had appeared in the London theatre production, was cast in the film adaptation for her star power.

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, and received the first of four consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, while Leigh won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for playing DuBois.

The film earned an estimated $4,250,000 at the US and Canadian box office in 1951, making it the fifth biggest hit of the year. It received Oscar nominations in 10 other categories (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay), and won Best Supporting Actor (Malden), Best Supporting Actress (Hunter), and Best Art Direction (Richard Day, George James Hopkins), making it the first film to win in three of the acting categories.

In 1999, A Streetcar Named Desire was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

These vintage photos captured portraits of Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando together during the filming of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951.


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