I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is There A Rape in Streetcar Named Desire?

Let's hope I can do this one without referencing the fantastic "A Streetcar Named Marge" episode of the Simpsons, because that is indeed a classic.

Long before the SuperDome,
Where the Saints of football play,
Lived a city that the damned called home.
Hear their hellish roundelay

New Orleans!
Home of pirates, drunks, and whores!
New Orleans!
Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
If you want to go to hell, you should make that trip,
To the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississipp'!

New Orleans!
Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile!
New Orleans!
Putrid, brackish, maggoty, foul!
New Orleans!Crummy, lousy, rancid, and rank!

I'll stop with that great song. Seeing I'm going to get into Marlon Brando in probably a few more movies, I'm going to get a second chance to breakdown Vivien Leigh, who plays what is probably the first cougar in the history of cinema, highlighted by her hitting on the paperboy

I am just a simple paperboy,
No romance do I seek.
I just wanted forty cents,
For my deliveries last week.
Will this bewitching floozy,
Seduce this humble newsie?
Oh, what's a paperboy to ... doooooooooooooooooooooo?

Ok, that's two Simpsons songs now.

Blanche is not only a cougar though, she's the first whore nominated for an Oscar. That's impressive, especially seeing its 1951 and this is way way way before the Paris Hilton generation, or even the Madonna generation. This is right before the Marilyn Monroe generation, and rock'n roll too was right around the corner so sex is finally about to become a little less taboo to talk about in a movie, but still, these things haven't happened yet and here we have a prostitute. If it's bad to sell your body for sex in 2009, I can't imagine how bad it was in 1951. I understand it's the oldest profession alive, but still.

The downside of this taboo subject of 1951 being addressed in a movie, is the ending seems a little unclear to me. Maybe I'm a little thick in the head, but I don't know if Stanley rapes her at the end of the movie and simply just beats her.

Stanley Kowalski is a great villain, but how evil? If this movie came out in 2009, there wouldn't be 2 buts about it. The look on his face combined with the fact that we as an audience can take a rape scene so much easier because we're so desensitized to things like that make it a no brainer. Problem is, nowadays they just would've shown it because it would have more shock value. In fact, a good director nowadays would've simply just had him beat her, because a rape scene would be just way too over the top.

This is 1951 however, and they couldn't show something like that in a million years (or atleast a couple decades). It's too hard to tell if Stanley was that evil, to the point I don't think he was, so he simply just beats her down because he's sick of her. A 1951 audience wasn't ready for something as powerful as a rape in a movie, so he had to have just beaten her. Beating women may not have been okay back then, but let's just say it was more okay than it is today, especially for entertainment purposes in a movie (kinda like today for entertainment purposes in a rap song).

Then again, she's a former prostitute, so maybe in 1951's sick mind, it's more understandable to rape a prostitute, thus making this a more probable ending to the movie. After all, once Mitch finds out what she is, he says something to the extent of, "I don't wanna marry you any more, but now I want to __________ you" and forces himself on her. Still, it's Stanley's wife's sister, which is just ... no, no way.

I have to side with, "he simply beats her" because if he does rape her, it's just too powerful for him and turns him from a wife beating drunk, into someone who should be locked up for the rest of his life. I don't think 1951 wanted anything to do with this subject, and because times have changed so much, and violence in movies has changed so much, an avid film fan of today can look at that movie and think, "My god, does he do it?"

He doesn't. Does he?


  1. Of course he does.

  2. Yes, he does. Stella's lines later, about how she can't believe it, are that she can't believe that her husband would rape her sister. That he would beat a woman is something Stella knows from personal experience. So like a lot of women who cried rape and weren't believed, but assumed to be crazy instead because that was easier for everyone around them to handle, Blanche gets taken to the nuthouse -- probably to be lobotomized like Tennessee Williams's own sister.