The Men

The Men

DVD - 2009
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Publisher: [Los Angeles] : Republic Pictures ; Santa Monica, Calif. : Distributed by Lionsgate, c2009
Branch Call Number: DVD Drama / Men 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 85 min.) :,sd., b&w ;,12 cm., in container

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l
loella
Apr 26, 2019

Although I watched The Men again, after first seeing it 50-plus years ago, because I'm catching up on director Fred Zinnemann's work, I quickly realized it's not as much his film as it is that of socially conscious producer (and a few years later, director) Stanley Kramer, whose label proclaiming the movie "A Stanley Kramer Company" product are the first words onscreen. Kramer remains Hollywood's most famous and successful message-movie maker. His later, more successful (The Men was a flop in its initial release) pictures tackled racism (many times), church-state separation (Inherit the Wind), nuclear holocaust (On the Beach), the Holocaust (Judgment at Nuremberg), the duties of law enforcement (High Noon), military discipline (The Caine Mutiny), and other public issues. Kramer worked more than once with Zinnemann, whose stylistic tendencies he greatly suppresses in The Men; gone or very restrained are the long takes with a fluidly moving camera, the noirish/Expressionist lighting, and the distanced regard that distinguish Zinnemann's just-previous films, Act of Violence, The Search, and My Brother Talks to Horses. Restrained, too, are Zinnemann's documentary impulses. Yes, there are traces of Zinnemann's exciting original style (all present, together with emphatic close-ups, in his first feature, the Spanish-language Redes). The Men is altogether stiffer and stagy-er, with less than ideally invested performances, lacking much psychological penetration; i.e., the actors too often look like they're trying and failing to inhabit their characters. The performers aren't helped by often tin-eared dialogue by Carl Foreman, a writer-producer with whom Kramer collaborated often before Foreman was blacklisted. Teresa Wright is particularly wooden in the crucial part of paraplegic hero Ken Wilocek's (Marlon Brando) wife, Ellen, making her seem ultimately unworthy of Ken, despite the excellent coaching of deus-ex-machina-like paraplegic ward's chief of medicine, Dr. Brock (Everett Sloane). The lack of a catchy song-tune in Dmitri Tiomkin's score (after High Noon, he became addicted to them or, at least, to trying to have one in every picture for which he made music) of necessity makes it seem humble vis-a-vis much of his later work. --Ray Olson

o
Onewhoissaved
Mar 26, 2019

'The Men' is the first screen role for 26-year-old Marlon Brando. The subject matter of service men who are forced to live as parapalegics is more important than who are the stars. I doubt that any other film ever produced in glamorous Hollywood ever touched such a discomfiting group of young men looking at their life stuck in a wheel chair or a hospital bed for the rest of their lives while watching another world of people laughing about the fall they just took on some stairs or a baseball field. Brando's female star is Teresa Wright who was 32-years-old and looked it. Apparently there weren't any other females in Brando's age group to introduce to the movie going public. The repartee between the parapalegics is interesting: how to make all of them appear more adjusted to their plight in life than Brando does?

d
Derringer
Oct 23, 2018

I'm someone who generally isn't all that impressed with actor, Marlon Brando, like so many others seem to be.

But, putting my low opinion of Brando aside - I certainly found that "The Men" (from 1950) definitely raised quite a controversial topic regarding the rehabilitation of ex-soldiers who had been seriously injured in combat during WW2.

The one really interesting question that this film brought to light was - Can these disabled men actually regain their place back in society where there now appears to be no room for them?

m
ManMachine
Jun 03, 2018

1950's "The Men" may not have been a tour-de-force production like "A Streetcar Named Desire" and there was certainly no Oscar nomination here for actor, Marlon Brando's performance....

But, at least - Brando's "method acting" skills showed the audience that he could also play a (somewhat) likable character (who was clearly physically challenged) rather than his usual trademark shtick of a loud-mouthed bully and louse who slapped the women around just for kicks.

Anyway - If nothing else - I certainly do give this film its due credit for raising the despairing issue of war vets who had been crippled, maimed, and/or disfigured while serving their country (doing battle duty) during WW2.

This sort of distressing subject matter was, I'm sure, not often brought to light before the public back then and I'll bet you this motion picture made a lot of people feel very uneasy and resentful.

n
Nursebob
Apr 16, 2016

Despite some soap opera dramatics and Teresa Wright’s syrupy sweet performance as the dutiful fiancée, this is a surprisingly frank (for the time) depiction of life after paralysis which not only touches on issues of depression, anger, and prejudice but also manages a few roundabout references to sexual frustration and caregiver burnout. Even the quotidian struggle with incontinence is addressed as each man reports his hits and misses to the attending doctors. In his movie debut Marlon Brando already exhibits the onscreen intensity which would soon make him a movie icon leaving the rest of the cast—many of them actual patients from the local VA hospital—to provide a colourful counterbalance of jovial camaraderie and, in one case, momentous tragedy. Thankfully, director Fred Zinnemann and producer Stanley Kramer keep the Hollywood gloss to a minimum presenting us with an ending which falls just short of “happily ever after”.

a
akirakato
Apr 14, 2016

This is a 1950 American drama directed by Fred Zinnemann.
It tells the story of a World War II lieutenant who is seriously injured in combat and the struggles he faces as he attempts to re-enter society.
The film marked Marlon Brando’s feature film debut.
Embittered by his condition, he refuses to see his fiancée and sinks into a solitary world of hatred and hostility.
Fighting the wishes of her parents, the coldness of a guilt-ridden society and her own self-doubts, it is Ellen (his fiancée played by Teresa Wright) who must force him to confront the reality of his condition.
Superb are the performances of Marlon Brando and Teresa Wright.
It is a gripping, emotionally-charged and thought-provoking serious drama.

7duffy Jun 23, 2014

Interesting movie, considering what we know of Brando now and this being his first movie. You can see the talent is there, but it is almost understated. In the story, Brando plays 2nd fiddle to Jack Webb and other cast members at times and I guess that makes it interesting, his shifting between a supporting and leading character, especially at this point in his career.

voisjoe1 Dec 22, 2013

“The Men” (1950) is the first film starring Marlon Brando, considered by many to be the best actor in American cinematic history. This film was released two years after Brando became a sensation on Broadway for his amazing portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In “The Men,” Brando plays a soldier suffering from wounds that made him a paraplegic. While his acting is pretty good, it is not yet outstanding like it would be in “Streetcar.” Perhaps the “Streetcar” material and the "Streetcar" director Elia Kazan brought out true Brando greatness for the first time on film.

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