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1950s

The 1950s saw the decline of the Hollywood studio system and the decade was remarkable for cynical retrospection in films such as All About Eve (1950) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), and for remakes of 'Golden Age' films including the popular An Affair to Remember (1957). Technical advances, and the threat from television, led to the production of spectacular historical epics such as Ben Hur (1959) as well as colourful, escapist musicals including Singin' in the Rain (1952). Conversely, the decade also saw the rise of anti-heroes and heroines and a shift towards naturalistic 'method' acting on screen.

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Marlon Brando for A Streetcar Named Desire
by John Engstead, 1950

'It's the hardest thing in the world to accept a little success and leave it that way'

Brando is seen here reprising his acclaimed Broadway role of Stanley Kowalski in Elia Kazan's adaptation of Tennessee Williams's play. He trained at the Actor's Studio in New York and with the renowned acting teacher Stella Adler before he made his Broadway debut in I Remember Mama (1944). Following A Streetcar Named Desire he went on to establish himself in Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar and The Wild One, both in 1953. He won his first Oscar for On the Waterfront in 1954. Other outstanding performances include Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather(1972) and Apocalypse Now (1979).

Los Angeles based John Engstead (1909-83) photographed Brando for Warner Bros. in one of his most celebrated roles.

photo of Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando for A Streetcar Named Desire
by John Engstead, 1950