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Allan Grey

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Allan Grey

Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Kazan’s film adaptation shared not only the same characters, but also the same themes, reactions and other literary techniques Williams had created throughout his play. However, for Elia Kazan to have produced the film, some scenes were eliminated or changed to fit what was known as the Hay’s Code. One of the scenes that was not so much vital to the play, was when Blanche DuBois explains to Mitch about her ex-husband. Allan Grey, Blanche’s ex husband, was found in bed with another man and by no other than his wife, Blanche herself. In the play both Blanche and Allan pretended that nothing happened after that night. Allan was probably being tortured and was already fragile as Blanche describes him, “There was something different about the boy, a nervousness, a softness and tenderness which wasn’t like a man’s, although he wasn’t the least bit effeminate looking- still- that thing was there…” (Williams 95). That along with a deadly silence put upon him was more than Allan could bare. After, one night, they all three went out and were conveniently drunk. In the middle of dancing at a casino, Blanche had brought up what had happened. She expressed herself about Allan’s doings and how she felt about them to him. Allan had then ran out on her and a bit after, a shot was heard. This was told to our readers towards the end of scene six of Williams play. Blanche had not taken into consideration the way Allan was feeling and felt she was to blame for what was Allan’s death, the shot she heard which turned out to be Allan’s suicide. Now in Kazan’s film adaptation, this scene was changed due to homosexuality. It was also something producers had to be careful in letting in on their film. Kazan changed the scene to a location where Mitch and Blanche were in front of a casino. The setting entailed mist, dim lighting to a point where you could barely tell the characters. This was done to show Blanche reliving an important dark moment, a depressing time in her life. Then again, throughout the film, Blanche is never really shown in direct spotlight anyway, both film and play. So this would not be so surprising as Blanche hides almost everything about herself. While talking to Mitch, she instead says, “At night I pretended to sleep, and I heard him crying,” whereas in the play she talks about the discovery of Allan’s homosexuality. But for those of age or rather those who could understand and knew about sexuality in depth, they could pin point what Blanche meant by “lost all respect for him”. Allan’s homosexuality was one of the demands that had to be met. Homosexuality was most likely a taboo subject that people would not bring up, but producers had to find out what was okay and what was not okay to put in films. There was no official censorship to undergo of any movie being released at the time of Kazan’s film adaptation. However, the producers had volunteered for investigation by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and CLD (Catholic Legion of Decency). CLD however strictly forbid showing such content like Allan’s sexual preference in action. MPAA had been known as the Hays Office. The name Hays comes from the first president of the office in 1922. When a couple years later, J. Breen was president (1934), he had enforced demands that prohibited sexual, violent, and swearword actions. After several cuts to the film to maintain a positive and high audience, eventually demands were met and the film was accepted. Even though this was one of the few changes made in this film, both writer and producer had agreed it was okay. Despite the changes made and how the Hays code had influenced it, the film conveyed all themes from the play. While some parts may have been confusing, if one read the book and knew about the laws, they would be able to interrupt what was being said, when and where. Characters were played well by the actors and actresses and for the most part, the film was very much in comparison to the read itself.

Works Cited
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: Signet, 1975.

Feldman, C.K.(Producer), Kazan, E. (Director). 1951. A Streetcar Named Desire. United States. Warner Brothers

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