“A Streetcar Named Desire by The Top 100 Project”

In this podcast, two movie historians discuss the 1951 film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, including changes made from the play’s text, production details, an analysis of the story, and social values from a contemporary perspective.

“New Orleans in 1940 - A Brief New Orleans History Lesson”

This MGM documentary, made in 1940, gives an overview of contemporary New Orleans, its economy, its landmarks, and its social life. This is the city Stella would have experienced as she settled there with Stanley. 

“How Marlon Brando nearly missed his defining role”

This excerpt from John Lahr’s biography Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh describes the casting of Marlon Brando in his first major role as Stanley in the original production of Streetcar. Critics felt that Brando’s charisma and sex appeal affected the audience’s view of the character and the play’s ending, and Brando became forever identified with the part. 

“Hello Stanley, Good-bye Blanche: The Brutal Asymmetries of Desire in Production”

This paper analyzes how despite working from the same text, different stagings of the play change the perception of who is its hero and who the anti-hero, siding with either Blanche or Stanley. The distinctions noted amongst several recent productions reveal as much about directors, actors, and audiences as about Williams’ work itself.

“Share Our Wealth”

From a site about Huey Long, the Governor of Louisiana and U.S. Senator in the late 1920s and 1930s, this article discusses his proposed Share Our Wealth program whose slogan, “Every Man a King,” Stanley quotes in the play. Long advocated wealth re-distribution and other public services; his tax-code changes and social reforms improved the standard of living for farmers and working-class people in Louisiana. However, he also behaved as a despot, flouting laws and imposing absolute control over the local government.

“Immigration and Settlement Patterns, New Orleans, 1940”

The Kowalskis’ neighborhood is an ethnic melting pot: The characters include white people, Black people, and Hispanic people, and references are made to a Chinese restaurant. This succinct account from the History Engine describes the influx of immigrants to mid-20th-century New Orleans, where they came from, where they settled, and the economic conditions that attracted them.