A Streetcar Named Desire (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-02-2012, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Warner - 1951
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 125 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio, Dolby Digital French/Spanish 1.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter
Directed by: Elia Kazan
Music by: Alex North
Written by: Tennessee Williams
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 10, 2012

"I don't want realism, I want magic"

Film Synopsis:

A Streetcar Named Desire: The Original restored version is the Elia Kazan/ Tennessee Williams Film moviegoers would have seen has not legion of decency censorship occurred at the last minute. It features previously unseen footage underscoring, among other things, the sexual tension between Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando), and Stella Kowalski's (Kim Hunter) passion for husband Stanley. Nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, see the classic that introduced a new era of filmmaking. Step aboard this Streetcar.

My Take:

Nominated for 12 Academy Awards and winner of four, including an unprecedented three in the acting category, A Streetcar Named Desirecomes from the mind of the great Tennessee Williams and depicts a culture clash between Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh), a pretentious, fading relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando), a rising member of the industrial, inner-city immigrant class. Blanche is a Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask her nymphomania and alcoholism. Arriving at the house of her sister Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter), Stella fears Blanche's arrival will upset the balance of her relationship with her husband Stanley, a primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual force of nature. He dominates Stella in every way, and she tolerates his offensive crudeness and lack of gentility. Stanley's friend and Blanche's would-be suitor Mitch (Karl Malden) is similarly trampled in the path of Blanche and Stanley's collision course. Their final, inevitable confrontation results in Blanche's mental annihilation.

A streetcar named Desire is a classic American Film that features two of Hollywood's most iconic figures in Stanley Kowalski and Blanche Dubios. Based on Tennessee Williams award winning play of the same name Streetcar is a powerful, character driven story that revolves around the human condition via a gritty depiction of impoverished life in the south. I don't think that I have ever seen Streetcar from beginning to end. Wow, what a terrific film. The narrative is presented via a narrow scope that is aptly supported by wonderfully developed characters and an escalating nature that expertly draws you in. Elia Kazan directs a superlative ensemble cast, three of which reprise their roles from the original Broadway production. Star Vivan Leigh spent six months in the British version of Streetcar (in the role of Blanche) under the direction of Laurence Olivier while Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Kim Hunter were featured performers in the original Broadway play also under Kazan's direction.

Vivan Leigh won Best Actress for her portrayal of Blanche while Karl Malden and Kim Hunter each took home Best Supporting Actor honors. Academy Award or not Marlon Brando knocks it out of the park in creating one of the most memorable characters in film. For my money Vivan Leigh's performance is every bit as engaging and to an extent more nuanced and gratifying. I found A streetcar named Desire to be sad, tempered, ferocious, and immensely compelling. I am sure that fans appreciate this Restored Version which includes 3 minutes of footage that due to censorship was removed before its original theatrical release. Not to be missed this is a classic piece of American filmmaking that deserves a place on the shelf of every film enthusiast. This 60th Anniversary Blu-ray Book release of A streetcar named Desire comes housed in a stylish commemorative hardcover 40 page Digibook that includes photos, production notes and trivia.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 74

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

A streetcar named Desire comes to Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 1.1 Mbps.

This 1.37:1 framed black and white video presentation is impressive for a 60 year old film. The master is in good shape with no visible signs of wear. Images onscreen have excellent depth with rendering that draws out plenty of delineation. Close ups and mid level pans reveal perceptible detail in the faces, hair and clothing worn by the cast as well as the texture on surfaces within the frame. This adds a noticeable sense of depth to the image making it appear more lifelike. Blacks have plenty of dynamic range and consistency which played very well against the various stages of white and gray. The film uses lots of low light interior and exterior scenes. The superb cinematography by Harry Stradling uses a variety of lighting schemes and purposeful shadows that are brought out in high definition. Contrast is stable and supports the film's elements quite well. Grain is present in fine, even layers that appear to be preserved naturally. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies, bit starvation or compression related artifacts. Fidelity appears intact which results in an enriching and filmic presentation that looks great.

The monaural soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio lossless and while it won't knock your socks off I found it delivered the components of the original recording beautifully. The auditory is clean and free of unwanted clicks, pops or background hiss. Dialogue intelligibility is excellent as it is never lost amidst the other sounds coming through the central channel. Alex North's music score has an open expression with an enriching clarity that I found complimentary. Purists will appreciate the quality of this audio presentation that I find appears faithful to the originally recorded elements and sounds wonderful.

Bonus Features:

  • Elia Kazan: A director's journey - 75 minute documentary

  • A streetcar on Broadway - 22 minute featurette

  • A streetcar in Hollywood - 28 minute featurette

  • Censorship and Desire - 16 minute documentary

  • North & the music of the South - 9 minute documentary

  • An actor named Brando - 8 minute featurette

  • Marlon Brando screen test - 5 minutes

  • Outtakes - 15 minutes

  • Audio outtakes (sound only) - 17 minutes

  • Trailers - 1951 (Warner), 1958 (20th Century Fox reissue), 1970 (United Artists)

Final Thoughts:

Nominated for 12 Academy Awards and winner of four, including an unprecedented three in the acting category, A Streetcar Named Desirewritten by Tennessee Williams, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden is a classic American Film with an iconic status that places it on the list of top films among enthusiasts and historians. It comes to Blu-ray in this 60th Anniversary commemorative Edition Blu-ray Book featuring excellent high definition video, complimentary lossless sound quality and a fan friendly assortment of supplemental material. This Blu-ray offering from Warner Home Video is a must have for those that appreciate this wonderful film.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 5 Old 04-02-2012, 12:54 PM
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Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life's problems.
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-02-2012, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post


Sorry, I couldn't resist.

"Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Sorry, I couldn't resist either. More seriously, Streetcar is an American classic and Ralph is right that this film in its restored form is a must have.

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post #4 of 5 Old 04-03-2012, 09:09 AM
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This movie will make me feel young again! lol
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-04-2012, 09:23 AM
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I've never seen it, but after that review, I'll be sure to look it up next week! .
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