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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS & ELlA KAZAN: A COLLABORATION IN THE THEATRE. By Brenda Murphy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992; pp. 201. $37.95.
Brenda Murphy's book is a major study, required reading in fact, of the composition and production of the four major plays (Streetcar, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Sweet Bird of Youth) and two lesser works (Rose Tattoo and Baby Doll) on which Kazan collaborated with Williams from 1947 until 1960. As Murphy persuasively argues, "Despite its eventually destructive dynamic, the Williams-Kazan relationship was central to some of the best work that either man did" (7). Through a scrupulous examination of the script/text versions of the plays, interviews, autobiographies, letters, and notebooks, Murphy demonstrates how pervasive yet challenging the director's control was over Williams. Together both men, with the help of designer Jo Mielziner, created the "American Style" in the 1950s.
Murphy contends that Kazan was the "perfect collaborator" for Williams who, in a key …