What do you think of Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin’s interpretations of Blanche and Stanley?

Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin interpret Blanche and Stanley in a very different way from Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando in the original film. How and why are their interpretations different? How are the other characters different in this version?

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3 thoughts on “What do you think of Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin’s interpretations of Blanche and Stanley?

  1. Tiffany

    After beginning to watch the modern film of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Jessica Lange, I have found it very different from the older, black and white film directed by Elia Kazan. In the Jessica Lange film right from the start, Blanche obviously has mental problems and her actions and what she says makes this very clear. The way she acts, speaks and walks all clearly reveal her problems whereas in the older film version Vivien Leigh show’s Blanche’s mental state as more subtle.
    Stanley is very loud and dominating and has animalistic characteristics in both film versions because this is the type of character he is. However I think Marlon Brando plays Stanley as more masculine and strong and in the Jessica Lange version he seems more aggressive. In the older film, Stanley acts very arrogant and often sarcastic towards Blanche trying to subtly show that he knows about her past and that he knows all about her but in the modern film, Stanley is shown as more confrontational towards her.
    I like this modern version of the film so far, as it shows realistically the settings of the play more so than the older version. It makes it easier to get an idea of the place and the atmosphere. The settings being more modern made it more relatable. Camera angles and settings were more advanced in this version of the film and this helps to show certain characters emotions and it just helps give you a stronger, understanding (or idea) of what is going on. I really liked the character Mitch in the Jessica Lange version as he is just how I imagined he would be when I was reading the play. He is portrayed at the start of the film as really looking up to Blanche and really trying to impress her. I also think he stands out against the other boys more than the Mitch character in the older film version of the play. They interpret Mitch quite differently to how they do the other men in the play, because he seems to have different views and opinions about women and has more respect for them, which I think is clearly shown in the Jessica Lange film.
    I like both versions of the film, but maybe think that this version helps us to understand it more. This could simply be because this film is more modern and therefore includes more advanced camera techniques and the film could be directed better. I am enjoying this film so far because it is very much how I imagined it to be in my mind.

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  2. Meaghan

    Blanche and Stanley are two of the main characters in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ who are represented to the audience by Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin in the film version of the play in very diverse ways, each focusing on different specific characteristics, and exposing these in depth to the audience.
    Blanche is portrayed in Alec Balwin’s interpretation of the play to be noticeably mentally scarred; he structurally makes strong suggestions of this to the audience right at the beginning of the play. This is derived particularly from Blanche’s body language, speech and interactions with other characters in the play. In contrast to this, Jessica Lange incorporates more subtle suggestions of Blanche’s deteriorating perplexity through her manipulation of stage directions, mis en scene, and especially through her use of the varsouviana music, which allows the audience to easily notice when Blanche’s thoughts are particularly dominating her sense of reality.
    Stanley is exposed in Alec Baldwin’s version of the play as being a masculine, dominating, male chauvinistic figure who seems to have a considerable amount of authority in the Kolwaski household. He is shown be slightly egotistical, and his wife Stella is exposed to be forgiving and accepting towards him, not matter how animalistic his actions seem to be. Dissimilar to this, Jessica Lange focuses on exposing the more sarcastic side to Stanley’s persona, representing him as being undoubtedly governing, but stressing his tendency to listen to conversations, characters and events, searching for weaknesses in particularly Blanche’s character, and later using them in the play to trigger her mental confusion.

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  3. Ellena Moore

    After watching Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin’s interpretations of Blanche and Stanley in comparison to Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando’s interpretations in the original film, I can see clear differences- I feel that Vivien Leigh plays Blanche very ‘away with the fairies’ and dazed in her own little world right from the begining, however that even though the Jessica Lange portrayal can be very fantasy like at times, she portrays Blanche as a much more grounded woman, who is living in reality but has had to resort to living in fantasy to escape the viscious, abusive life she is caught up in. This is much more realistic to the audience, and makes her a more believable character that we can buy into, however the Vivien Leigh portrayal is very obscure and would be extremely hard for anyone to relate to in the audience. I also think that Jessica Lange plays Blanche in a much more dramatic, yet effective way- her emotions when she is talking about how her husband kills himself portray Blanche in a much more selfless, raw way, when I think that the Vivien Leigh version almost makes Blanche seem quite heartless and the audience almost question if this is even a true story or if Blanche is just exaggerating or making things up again.
    I do, however, prefer the Marlon Brando portrayal of Stanley in comparison to the Alec Baldwin portrayal. Throughout the modern film I felt myself taking to Stanley and seeing him as a very reasonable, fair character, and then felt that he suddenly switched to the complete opposite extreme when he hits Stella. I therefore didnt find this believable. However, I felt that Marlon Brando played Stanley as a very animalistic, threatening character right from the beginning, which helps to make the rape scene of Blanche late on in the play a lot more believable to the audience.
    Overall, I liked both versions of the film for seperate reasons- I prefered Jessica Lange’s version of Blanche, although I did find it slightly over dramatic and annoying at times, however I didn’t really believe Alec Baldwin’s version of Stanley, especially after watching the Marlon Brando portrayal, which I thought was excellently acted, and was a lot more true to the play.

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