Off Topic Messages

Streetcar Named Desire SE DVD News

Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:49 pm

Someone was asking me recently about the long-rumored Special Edition of A Streetcar Named Desire, the Tennessee Williams classic starring Marlon Brando and the incredible Vivien Leigh. Well, insiders from Warner tell me that a two-disc special edition will street on April 11.

I confirmed with Karl Malden last night that he has in fact recorded a commentary track, along with film historian Rudy Behlmer. Other extras include trailers, several documentaries on the film, the actors, and the director Elia Kazan. Now for the BIG news: Also included will be several outtakes and some scenes that were cut due to their racy nature. Oh boy!!!


Wed Dec 14, 2005 5:55 pm

Tom -

It is a great film.

I'm waiting for the alt ending where they cart off Marlon's character instead of Blanche !

How is Karl ?

He must be 93 now !

Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:24 pm

ColinB wrote:How is Karl? He must be 93 now !

He's actually doing very well. He's a sharp as ever and has a better memory thatn I do. FYI, he'll be 94 in March.


Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:11 pm

Stanly Kowalski was probably the single greatest performance ever captured on screen!!

Brando was the greatest, bar none!!!


Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:33 pm

You can't cart off Marlon everybody secretly loves him. His character gets vicarious revenge for everybody whose old aunt who made you practice piano instead of playing ball.

That's beyond great news Tom. I'm very happy they got Malden to do an audio commentary in particular. The shame is though if that they had done the thing two or three years ago they could have gotten everybody except Vivien Leigh. (Well maybe not Brando.)

Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:36 am

likethebike wrote:The shame is though if that they had done the thing two or three years ago they could have gotten everybody except Vivien Leigh. (Well maybe not Brando.)

There was a story floating around Hollywood for many years that Brando had said that he would do a commentary track (back then it was for laserdiscs) on any of his films for a cool million $$. Now, I don't know if that's true or not, but it would have almost been worth it for his comments on Streetcar, On the Waterfront, The Godfather and especially Apocalypse Now. I am a strong proponent of getting some of our aging actors to sit down and do commentaries on yhese classic films before it is too late. Unfortunately, not all are quite as sharp as Karl and their memories are lost forever, which is incredibly sad on so many different levels.


Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:06 am

That's a fascinating rumor and I kind of believe it since Brando was so hard up for cash.

Don't performers usually do audio commentary for free?

I very much agree with your sentiments Tom. I was crushed when Tony Randall for the very reason you mention Tom. He was very sharp even at the end and could have done a great audio commentary for some of "The Odd Couple" episodes or even those great Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies. Interestingly, they put those in a three pack box about a year ago with no extras only a CD of Doris Day songs. A very odd marketing decision.

I would love to hear Bacall commentaries on her Bogart flicks.

By the way, Tom does it cost a lot of money to put an audio commentary on DVD? The studios seem kind of stingy with them and on their surface they seem a low rent special feature. There are so many great and legendary movies released in flat bare bones editions it's not funny. Maybe they only sell so many and those sales are guaranteed so they figure why do any extra work.

Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:50 am

likethebike wrote:Don't performers usually do audio commentary for free?

Not really. While many do it for a modest fee (some for nothing more than a first-class plane ticket + expenses), some think they deserve what they made when they shot the film in the first place.

likethebike wrote:I would love to hear Bacall commentaries on her Bogart flicks.

You and me both. Lauren, however is a film purist (much like Spielberg) and believes that the films should speak for themselves. Now she is sharp as a tack, to this day.

likethebike wrote:By the way, Tom does it cost a lot of money to put an audio commentary on DVD? The studios seem kind of stingy with them and on their surface they seem a low rent special feature. There are so many great and legendary movies released in flat bare bones editions it's not funny. Maybe they only sell so many and those sales are guaranteed so they figure why do any extra work.

Adding a commentary to a DVD is comparable to adding a fourth tire to the price of a new car. From a technological standpoint it's fairly cheap, it's the participants that often make it cost prohibitive, due to scheduling, ego, and, in some cases, their own greed. Also, some actors don't like to look back at a film once it's completed. They finish it and move on to the next project. Another factor is that many actors are their own worst critics and can't stand to see themselves on screen. In fact, I know of several that have never seen even one of their completed films. Charlize Theron (of all people) is one of those who absolutely hates to see herself on the big screen. Go figure that one out.


Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:04 am

This will be an awesome release! Kick me, but I don't think I have actually watched this film from begining to end! Looking forward to it though!

Elvis fan

Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:43 pm


The Tennessee Williams Film Collection in April

Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of The Tennessee Williams Film Collection for 11th April 2006. This eight-disc DVD set contains the acclaimed film adaptations of one of America’s greatest playwrights. The collection, priced at $79.92 SRP, features the long-awaited DVD debuts of Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone along with a newly remastered two-disc Special Edition of A Streetcar Named Desire and single disc Deluxe Edition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Also included is a bonus disc, the rarely seen feature-length documentary, Tennessee Williams' South. A Streetcar Named Desire is available for $26.99 SRP. All other individual titles are available for $19.97 SRP each.

Bonus materials in this collection include new making-of documentaries for each film, plus expert commentaries, never before seen outtakes, rare screen tests with Brando, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, a radio broadcast with Brando from 1947 and vintage featurettes. Exclusive to the collection is a special bonus disc, Tennessee Williams’ South, a feature-length vintage documentary that includes remarkable interviews with Williams in and around New Orleans, plus great scenes from Williams’ plays especially filmed for this documentary, including rare footage of Jessica Tandy as Blanche (the role she created in A Streetcar Named Desire) and Maureen Stapleton as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie.

A Streetcar Named Desire: 2-Disc Special Edition is a celebration of what is, perhaps, Williams’ greatest masterpiece. This edition features three minutes of footage that was deleted from the final release version (and thought lost until its rediscovery in the early 1990s) that underscores, 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. The Legion of Decency required these scenes be cut in order for the film to be released.

A Streetcar Named Desire 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 largely because of her sexual need for him. Stanley’s friend and Blanche’s would-be suitor Mitch (Karl Malden) is similarly trampled along Blanche and Stanley’s collision course. Their final, inevitable confrontation results in Blanche’s mental annihilation.

The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Karl Malden), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh) , Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Hunter), and Best Art Direction -- Set Decoration, Black-and-White. It was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White, Best Director, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Picture, Best Sound Recording and Best Writing, Screenplay. In 1999 the film was selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Special Features Disc One:
Commentary by Karl Malden and film historian Rudy Behlmer
Elia Kazan movie trailer gallery
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Special Features Disc Two:
Movie and audio outtakes
Marlon Brando screen test
Elia Kazan: A Director’s Journey documentary
5 new insightful documentaries:
A Streetcar on Broadway
A Streetcar in Hollywood
Desire and Censorship
North and the South
An Actor Named Brando

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Remastered Deluxe Edition - The raw emotions and crackling dialogue of Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer Prize play rumble like a thunderstorm in this film version whose fiery performances and grown-up themes made it one of 1958’s top box-office hits.

Paul Newman earned his first Oscar nomination as troubled ex-sports hero Brick. In a performance that marked a transition to richer adult roles, Elizabeth Taylor snagged her second. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Also starring Burl Ives (repeating his Broadway triumph as mendacity-loathing Big Daddy), Judith Anderson and Jack Carson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof sizzles.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a Southern family in crisis, focusing on the turbulent relationship between Maggie the Cat (Elizabeth Taylor) and Brick (Paul Newman), and their interaction with Brick’s family over the course of a weekend gathering at the family estate. Brick, an aging football hero, has neglected his wife and further infuriates her by ignoring his brother’s attempts to gain control of the family fortune. Although Big Daddy (Burl Ives) has cancer and will not celebrate another birthday, his doctors and his family have conspired to keep this information from him and his wife. His relatives are in attendance and attempt to present themselves in the best possible light, hoping to receive the definitive share of Big Daddy’s enormous wealth.

Oscar nominations were for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Newman); Best Actress (Taylor), Best Director (Richard Brooks) and Best Cinematography.

Special Features:
Commentary by biographer Donald Spoto, author of The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams
New featurette Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Somebody Up There Likes Him
Theatrical trailer
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Sweet Bird of Youth - Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, Madeleine Sherwood and Ed Begley recreated their stage roles in this bravura film version which featured Shirley Knight. Begley won Best Supporting Oscar and Page and Knight were nominated. Sex, money, hypocrisy, financial and emotional blackmail are familiar elements in Williams’ literary realm and combine powerfully in Sweet Bird of Youth as Chance (Newman) battles his private demons in a desperate bid to redeem his wasted life and recapture his lost sweet bird of youth.

Handsome Chance Wayne (Newman) never found the Hollywood stardom he craved, but he’s always been a star with the ladies. Now, back in his sleepy, sweaty Gulf Coast hometown, he’s involved with two of them: a washed-up, drug-and-vodka-addled movie queen. And the girl he left behind…and in trouble.

Special Features:
New featurette Sweet Bird of Youth: Broken Dreams and Damaged People
Never-before-seen Geraldine Page and Rip Torn screen test
Theatrical trailer
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Night of the Iguana - With an outstanding cast headed by Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr, direction by legendary John Huston and a steamy screenplay, Night of the Iguana pulses with conflicting passions and a surprising edge of knowing humor. Winner of one Academy Award and nominated for three more, the film explores the dark night of one man’s soul – and illuminates the difference between dreams and the bittersweet surrender to reality.

In a remote Mexican seacoast town, a defrocked Episcopal priest (Richard Burton), ruined by alcoholism and insanity, struggles to pull his shattered life together. And the three women in his life – an earthy hotel owner (Ava Gardner), an ethereal artist (Deborah Kerr) and a hot-eyed, willful teenager (Sue Lyons) – can help save him. Or destroy him.

Shot just south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the tension-filled shoot put that small city on the map. Due in no small part to the presence of non-cast member Elizabeth Taylor, the shooting of the film during 1963 attracted large numbers of paparazzi, made international headlines, and in turn made Puerto Vallarta world-famous.

Special Features:
Commentary by John Huston
New featurette The Night of the Iguana: Dangerous Creatures
Vintage featurette On the Trail of the Iguana
1964 premiere highlights
Theatrical trailers
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Baby Doll - With Baby Doll, as with A Streetcar Named Desire, director Elia Kazan and writer Tennessee Williams broke new ground in depicting sexual situations – incorporating themes of lust, sexual repression, seduction, and the corruption of the human soul.
Time magazine called the film “just possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited.” The film caused a sensation in 1956, also earning condemnation by the then-powerful Legion of Decency and causing Cardinal Spellman to denounce Doll from his pulpit.

Baby Doll earned laurels too: four Academy Award nominations, Golden Globe Awards for Baker and Kazan and a British Academy Award for Wallace. Watch this funny, steamy classic that, as Leonard Martin’s Movie Guide proclaims, “still sizzles.”

The film centers around cotton-mill owner Archie (Karl Malden) who’s going through tough times but at least has his luscious, child-bride (Carroll Baker) with whom he’ll be allowed to consummate when she’s 20. Rival Silva Vaccaro (Eli Wallach) thinks Archie may have set fire to his mill and takes an erotic form of Sicilian vengeance.

Special Features:
New featurette Baby Doll: See No Evil
Baby Doll trailer gallery
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone - Widow Karen Stone is wealthy and beautiful. Her acting successes are a memory. She lives alone in a luxury apartment overlooking the Roman steps where romantic liaisons take place. And waits. She soon starts an affair with the young and expensive Paolo.

Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty are lady and lover in this tender adaptation of a Tennessee Williams novella directed by Broadway veteran Jose Quintero. Leigh won her second Oscar for Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire; their reteaming creates a similar spell – at once romantic, sinister and nearly explosive. Adding spice to the combustion of the two leads are Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Lotte Lenya as a Contessa who “arranges” romances in which she has a financial stake and Coral Browne as Karen’s savvy best friend.

Special Features:
New featurette The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone: I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow
Theatrical trailer
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)