Fresh from his success on Broadway as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1947-1949), Marlon Brando made his first film, directed by Fred Zinnemann (The Search, High Noon, From Here to Eternity, A Man for All Seasons, Day of the Jackal). While he had spent most of the 1940’s as a popular actor on Broadway, after The Men, he never went back to the stage (one reason being that he didn’t like to memorize lines).
Like The Search, The Men dealt with casualties of war, in this case soldiers with paraplegia and other major injuries. Brando gives a fine performance as a soldier who has given up on life. He has great support from Jack Webb (as a fellow patient), Teresa Wright (as his fiancé) and Everett Sloan (as the doctor).
Directed by Fred Zinnemann, 1950, United States, 85 min., b&w, Unrated
This was the way Brando prepared himself: he spent three weeks -- day and night -- living with the men on one of the paraplegic wards. He found out not only how they moved and behaved, but how they felt and what they thought. They gradually accepted him as one of their own, and he became one of them. He shared their physiotherapy, played water polo with them and went to their drinking sessions at the Pump Room. Soon only a doctor or a nurse could tell that he was not a paraplegic." Fred Zinnemann, An Autobiography
For more information:
Internet Movie Database : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042727/
Turner Classic Movies: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/83271/The-Men/
Saturday, May 20 at 2:30pm
Central Library, Meyerhoff Children's Garden, Night Room
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201