Vivien Leigh had already played Blanche in the first London production of the play, under the direction of her then-husband, Laurence Olivier. She later said that Olivier's direction of that production influenced her performance in the film more than did Elia Kazan's direction of the film.
Nine members of the original Broadway cast (Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Peg Hillias, Richard Garrick, Ann Dere and Edna Thomas) repeated their roles in the film, a highly unusual decision at the time and even today, when original casts of plays are often completely replaced for the film versions. However, Vivien Leigh, who had played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), was selected to play Blanche du Bois over Jessica Tandy to add "star power" to the picture (Marlon Brando had not yet achieved full stardom in films; he would be billed under Leigh in the film's credits).
During Blanche's birthday dinner she begins telling a joke which Stanley interrupts. In the play she finishes the joke, which told of an old maid who had a parrot with a lot of profanity in its vocabulary. The only way to silence the parrot was to cover its cage with a cloth so it would think it was night time and go to sleep. One morning the pastor comes to visit the woman right after she uncovered his cage, so she had to immediately cover it again. The pastor came inside and heard the parrot say, 'G**damn, that was a short day!' |