The Men

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Year Released: 1950
Rating: 3.0

A paraplegic (Marlon Brando) injured in World War II struggles to rehabilitate himself, harbors dreams of being able to walk again and has to deal with his conflicting emotions regarding a potential marriage to his love interest (Teresa Wright). The name Stanley Kramer (who produced this) made me think I was in for a tedious political message, but aside from some third act melodrama (Brando getting into a bar fight, Brando smashing a window), this is a surprisingly warm and wonderfully acted tale, with Brando showing off his acting genius (in his first role!), Everett Sloane as a tough but well-meaning doctor who takes his job to heart as well and Wright as a woman in love but not sure about how to proceed. I like how the title and dialogue play around with the notion of "masculinity" as being "sexually virile" and how there's an underlying current of distress among the paraplegics about not only the loss of one's mobility but also one's "manhood" - Brando's wedding night with Wright is both cringe-worthy and devastating.