Seminal Cinema Outfit

Classic, Foreign and Rare Film

Required Reading

“For the Warners and Mr. Cukor have really and truly gone to town in giving this hackneyed Hollywood story an abundance of fullness and form. They have laid it out in splendid color on the smartly used CinemaScope screen, and they have crowded it with stunning details of the makers and making of films. They have got Judy Garland and James Mason to play the important roles that were filled with such memorable consequence by Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in the original. And they have fattened it up with musical numbers that are among the finest things in the show.” – Read more of Bosley Crowther’s review at The New York Times


“‘This is how I gauged myself for the singing you will hear in the Transcona Enterprises motion picture for Warner Bros. and on these Columbia Records. When we were shooting “A Star Is Born” at the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, I would try to make the electricians and the cameramen and the others react to the song. If it was a humorous number, I would try to make them laugh. If it was a blues, I would try to make them feel in the spirit of the song. Only when they had shown the emotion the particular song was supposed to evoke did I feel that my job was properly done.'” – Read more from Judy Garland at the Judy Garland Database


“Production began in the summer of 1953. Almost immediately the problems did too. At the time, much of the blame for the dealys was put on Judy (due to her reputation), but it has since been revealed that Judy was more of a scapegoat than the real ‘problem’. One of the main problems with he film was studio chief Jack Warner Basically Sid and Judy rubbed Warner the wrong way on several occasions and several issues, and Warner eventually lost interest in the project, igonring the fact that he was sinking a ton of money into it and gambling his and the studio’s reputation.One thing the studio chiefs had was ego!’ – Read more at The Making of A Star is Born


       “An October 1953 Daily Variety news item reported that the producers planned to shoot the film in the then popular 3-D format, but by the start of filming, the crew was shooting in WarnerScope. Eight days into shooting, according to various October 1953 Daily Variety, Variety and Los Angeles Herald Express news items, the studio decided that “the story is too intimate for WarnerScope” and arranged with Twentieth Century-Fox to use their new process, CinemaScope. Production halted while Twentieth Century’s Milton Krasner conducted test shots of the production number “The Man That Got Away.” A modern source states that footage already shot was then scrapped at a cost of $300,000. The change in format resulted in Sam Leavitt replacing Winton Hoch as director of photography. Hoch had earlier replaced Harry Stradling, when delays caused a scheduling conflict with another of Stradling’s assignments, Helen of Troy.” – Read more at Turner Classic Movies

A Streetcar Named Desire_04

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Required Reading

“Negotiation continued between the MPAA and the filmmakers; however, a May 24, 1950 note written by Joseph I. Breen, head of the MPAA, noted that “we are not entirely out of the woods on this particular production….we still have some things to do by way of straightening out the characterization of the girl and the disposal of Stanley at the end of the script.” A July 25, 1950 memo recorded a meeting between the MPAA and Warner Bros. representatives, in which they specifically discussed the “so-called rape scene,” which the MPAA continued to reject. “A solution was suggested…that the indication of rape be simply abolished, and that in its place it be indicated that Stanley struck Blanche quite violently, and from this blow she collapsed. This would mean that his very pointed line, ‘We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning,’ would be simply eliminated.” – Read more at Turner Classic Movies


“A Streetcar Named Desire enfolded all the anxieties of the era in its story of perverse gentility colliding with the earthy truths of the working class. Most emblematic of these was sex, for Streetcar is not about “sexuality” – it is about sex. Hollywood’s Breen Office, charged by the studios with policing their projects for what we now call “family values,” let it be known that Streetcar, no matter how potentially profitable, would be the diciest of properties to adapt to the screen. In choosing to make Streetcaragainst its own best wishes, Hollywood would be affirming its adulthood, and acknowledging its responsibility to portray society with warts intact. The story of Stanley Kowalski’s brutal conquest of brittle, tragic Blanche Dubois was a test to see whether Hollywood had grown up with its audience.” – Read more at The University of Albany


“Blessed with a beautifully molded and fluently expressive face, a pair of eyes that can flood with emotion, and a body that moves with spirit and style, Miss Leigh has, indeed, created a new Blanche du Bois on the screen—a woman of even greater fullness, torment, and tragedy. Although Mr. Williams’s writing never precisely makes clear the logic of her disintegration before the story begins—why anyone of her breeding would become an undisciplined tramp—Miss Leigh makes implicitly cogent every moment of the lady on the screen.” – Read more of Bosley Crowther’s review at The New York Times


“Certain things had to be changed for the movie, though. Material that was suitable for Broadway plays — which were understood to be meant for grown-ups — wouldn’t necessarily fly at the movies, where there was no system in place to distinguish between entertainment for adults and entertainment for children, and so everything had to be suitable for everyone. Streetcar was heavily censored for the screen. References to Blanche’s past promiscuity were cut, along with the information that her late husband had been a homosexual. Her flirtation with the paperboy was toned down. The climactic scene between Blanche and Stanley was edited to make its outcome somewhat ambiguous. This material was later restored, though, and any version you see today — including all the DVD releases — will be the complete ‘director’s cut’.” – Read more at Film.com

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