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Tennessee Williams, Let Your Inspiration Flow

December 15, 2013

Tennessee, Tennessee Williams/Let your inspiration flow… –  Van Morrison’s Wild Children

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is top-notch filmmaking, directed with an economy of camera and editing style.

It’s been likened to Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire; superficially I feel.

For me, Williams digs deeper than Woody. Woody’s writing glides along cleverly, whereas Tennessee’s is achingly heartfelt. You really sense how much love he’s invested in his characters; Blanche and Stella, even Stanley. Their pain, their day-to-day struggles are so immediate. Tennessee embraces his characters, blemishes and all. He’s writing from his gut with a poetic musicality of language rarely rivaled. And along the way, Streetcar longingly blossoms, moving well past the confines of Elysian Fields Avenue.

Woody works at a very high level of craft. His writing is clever, self-knowing, cerebral, arms length from the get-go. But who amongst his creations does he really like let alone love; Jasmine née Janet; Hal; Dwight; Al; Augie; Dr. Flicker? Maybe Chili, maybe Ginger? Is it an accident these last two have spicey names?

As for Jasmine’s character arc, we actually don’t cover much emotional ground. In the end, she trades in her first class plane seat for a park bench: terribly alone and forsaken in Manhattan she doesn’t find solace in the city by the Bay. As for Cate Blanchett’s riveting nuanced performance, it’s a wonder to watch.

But which place would you rather visit more than once; Tennessee’s New Orleans, where generations of audiences continue to hop aboard a streetcar named Desire accompanying Blanche DuBois as she heads toward Stanley and Stella Kowalski’s neighborhood of Elysian Fields Avenue?

Or Woody’s San Francisco where we never even get a glimpse of a cable car?

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco (incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain).


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  1. Barbara Clare permalink



  2. S-t-a-n-l-e-y


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