When Blanche Met Brando


At times, Blanche’s last name was Shannon, Collins, and Boisseau; Stanley was a Ralph; and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire was briefly called The Passion of a Moth. Some of the material in When Blanche Met Brando, a cheerfully obsessive, highly opinionated history of Streetcar‘s original stage and screen productions has appeared previously, but Sam Staggs splices old and new into an engaging narrative — particularly on the 1951 movie’s censorship battles. And while there’s nothing scandalous here (unless one counts an actor’s overripe comparison of director Elia Kazan’s rehearsals to ”a sperm wiggling up the fallopian tube, magnetized by the egg of Streetcar”), it’s fun to learn that a lusty Marlon Brando made the film set familiar by placing condoms in a nightstand drawer. And the famed tightness of his jeans? After the costumer washed them 10 times, she wet-fitted them on the star and even removed the pockets. Voilà — an icon was born.

When Blanche Met Brando
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