Picks and Pans Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

updated 10/30/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/30/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Sun., Oct. 29, 8 p.m. ET)

A

Before watching this 3-hour, made-for-TV film of Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the first unabridged film production, do yourself a favor and forget, for at least an evening, the 1951 film version with Marlon Brando. That was a great movie, but this is an equally fine work. Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange star as the brutish Stanley Kowalski and the unstable Blanche DuBois, reprising their roles in the 1992 Broadway revival. Diane Lane is his wife, Stella, and John Goodman is Lange's suitor, Mitch.

Cynics might dismiss this as a vanity production for the big-name actors, but these recognizable faces do a captivating job of disappearing into the parts. The actors are helped by a decidedly nonflashy set design. This is essentially just a play on film, unfolding on a stage instead of real locations. The new Streetcar isn't an attempt to replace the Brando version. Rather it's a way to bring the classic play to a whole new audience.

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