Marlon Brando received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.
This here is a performance that is so hailed, and so examined, this review seems not to matter all that much. I mean Brando's style in this film is to have said to change acting, and this is said to be one of the greatest performances of all time. Well I guess what I should examine if it is the greatest, and look at a few criticism that I have happened to seen from a few small sources.
Well what are these criticisms, well that Stanley is too simplistic of a character for this to be that great of a performance. Well I do believe that Stanley probably is the simplest of Blanche, Stella, and Blanche's possible suitor Mitch (Karl Malden), but that does not at all mean that Stanley is an underwritten character. He is very much complex in his own way, but he is simple in his manner and actions. His manner and actions always are perfectly Stanley, though, and Stanley really is a perfectly written character even if he is a relatively simple man.
I think the somewhat simple nature of Stanley is what makes Brando's performance so fascinating, though, since so much of it is in his style. Anything that Stanley does Brando does indeed make interesting through just the completely original, yet natural way he does everything in the film. Whether it is one of his big angry outbursts or just changing a shirt, somehow Brando no matter what makes it interesting through his incredibly distinct method of performing.
Stanley I suppose could have been portrayed as just a brute, but Brando never does this, not that Stanley is not a brute much of the time. Brando excels in every facet of his portrayal, including obviously Stanley's brutality and cruelty. Brando shows how it is simply Stanley nature to never act completely like a human being, but rather will always jump to his cruel anger, as his defense when ever needed.
Brando brilliantly portrays that anger in such intensity that it is simply outstanding. When Blanche and Stella cower over his trashing the dinner table, there is not a shred of disbelief of their reaction to him. Brando just as well with the cruelty shows Stanley's virility. Brando conveys this perfectly with just his magnetic presence in the film. The desire that Stella has for him despite his brutality is never questioned because it is just about impossible to stop watching Brando, he is that good.
Now is there more to Stanley than just the desirable brute, well yes, and no. Brando has it both ways which is incredible, becuase although he shows a great deal of his character, he leaves the right amount to interpretation, showing that there is always more to a man even a man like Stanley. He does probably show this best in the famous "Stella!" scene, where Brando shows the vulnerability, and pathetic nature of the character that is just as much of a part of his dangerous exterior.
Well I think I addressed the criticisms of the performance well enough, well the criticism anyway. I tried to state why this is so great, but I frankly don't think I really needed to even do that, so I guess I will just wrap it up. There really is no question for me this is a great performance. The greatest, well there are a lot of great performances around, and everyone has their personal favorite, but it is easy to see why many would see this performance that way. Brando most certianly does the absolute most with his character, and turns him into one of the most compelling performance ever to watch.