Video Picks Archive
This week my picks are An Ideal Husband (1999 - ) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951 - ).
The first film this week managed to stick its neck out
in the early Summer of 1999, despite heavy competition from
the studios. Based on Oscar Wilde's play, An Ideal Husband
stars Rupert Everett as a British nobleman who is the most
eligible bachelor in England. He finds himself torn between
two women (Minnie Driver and Julianne Moore) and in the middle
of a corrupt scheme in Parliament. This film is a thoroughly
charming comedy, full of the wit and social satire characteristic
of Wilde's work. Both Everett and Moore have been nominated
for Golden Globe awards.
Considering how long ago the film came out, this is quite
a testament to these fine performances.
Nobody could ever accuse Stanley Kowalski of being an ideal husband. Marlon Brando literally changed the art of film acting when he played that role in the second film, directed by Elia Kazan. Blanche Dubois (Vivien Leigh) visits her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter), who lives in New Orleans with Stanley, her new husband. She moves in with them, but Stanley doesn't trust his sister-in-law, and her descent into madness doesn't help endear her to Stanley or his friend, Mitch (Karl Malden), whom she considers a possible husband. Kazan was the first to direct Tennessee Williams' classic play on Broadway, and he brought Brando, Hunter, and Malden with him to Hollywood (Jessica Tandy was the original Blanche). This film is not some stagy theatrical reproduction, but a vivid, dynamic masterpiece of cinema. Academy Awards went to Leigh, Hunter, and Malden, but Brando lost to Humphrey Bogart (for The African Queen). It was Brando's performance, however, that was a turning point in film history. It defined the modern style of a "method" actor on screen, and every actor since has been influenced by it.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
An Ideal Husband (1999)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan