Director: Elia Kazan

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter

USA 1951 | Black & white | 127 mins | Drama

Avaliable on: 35mm

Probably the best known of all the screen adaptations of Tennessee Williams' plays, this is also one of the finest, thanks partly to the intensely claustrophobic hot-house atmosphere created by Kazan's intimate direction, and partly to the young Marlon Brando's trademark blend of subtle detail and charismatic power.He's simply electrifying as Stanley Kowalski (a part he played in the Broadway play's debut), brutishly in conflict with the fragile Blanche (Vivien Leigh), who comes to visit her pregnant younger sister, Stanley's wife Stella, in New Orleans. The first of several collaborations between director and star, it remains the most satisfying, not least because they surrounded themselves with such a marvellous cast (Kim Hunter as Stella, Karl Malden as Blanche's suitor Mitch) and creative team: Harry Stradling behind the camera, Richard Day as art director, Alex North as composer; and, of course, Williams himself ensuring a faithful transition from stage to screen.

– Geoff Andrew