The Men (1950)

85-86 mins | Drama | 25 August 1950

Director:

Fred Zinnemann

Writer:

Carl Foreman

Producer:

Stanley Kramer

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Editor:

Harry Gerstad

Production Designer:

Rudolph Sternad

Production Company:

Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Courage of Ten . Modern sources list Battle Stripe as another working title. The film's opening credits include the following written dedication: "In all wars, since the beginning of history, there have been men who fought twice. The first time they battled with club, sword or machine gun. The second time they had none of these weapons. Yet, this by far was the greatest battle...This is the story of such a group of men. To them this film is dedicated." The film opens with voice-over narration by Marlon Brando, who made his motion picture debut in The Men .
       In Aug 1949, HR reported that Kirk Douglas was being considered for the lead role. According to a 26 Oct 1949 DV news item, three paralyzed veterans--Herb Wolf, Pat Grissom and Ted Anderson--who were living at Birmingham Hospital in Van Nuys, CA, where the film was shot, were to serve as technical advisors on the production. Only Wolf and Grissom received onscreen credit, however. In addition to Arthur Jurado, a real-life paraplegic who was given a sizable speaking role, many others from Birmingham Hospital were added to the cast, including Dr. Norman Karr, physical therapist Helen Winston and nurses Rhoda Cormeny and Eunice Newberry. A 16 Oct 1949 NYT news item reported that in preparation for his role as a paraplegic, Brando moved into the hospital for an entire month before filming began in order to learn how to maneuver a wheelchair effectively. An unidentified news item contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Courage of Ten . Modern sources list Battle Stripe as another working title. The film's opening credits include the following written dedication: "In all wars, since the beginning of history, there have been men who fought twice. The first time they battled with club, sword or machine gun. The second time they had none of these weapons. Yet, this by far was the greatest battle...This is the story of such a group of men. To them this film is dedicated." The film opens with voice-over narration by Marlon Brando, who made his motion picture debut in The Men .
       In Aug 1949, HR reported that Kirk Douglas was being considered for the lead role. According to a 26 Oct 1949 DV news item, three paralyzed veterans--Herb Wolf, Pat Grissom and Ted Anderson--who were living at Birmingham Hospital in Van Nuys, CA, where the film was shot, were to serve as technical advisors on the production. Only Wolf and Grissom received onscreen credit, however. In addition to Arthur Jurado, a real-life paraplegic who was given a sizable speaking role, many others from Birmingham Hospital were added to the cast, including Dr. Norman Karr, physical therapist Helen Winston and nurses Rhoda Cormeny and Eunice Newberry. A 16 Oct 1949 NYT news item reported that in preparation for his role as a paraplegic, Brando moved into the hospital for an entire month before filming began in order to learn how to maneuver a wheelchair effectively. An unidentified news item contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, dated Nov 1949, noted that "use of paraplegics to play themselves was made necessary after it was found that it would take weeks to train actors in the wheelchair technics of paraplegics." The NYT article also reports that screenwriter Carl Foreman and director Fred Zinnemann spent more than a month studying patients in the paraplegic ward of the hospital. In Jan 1950, NYT published an article by Zinnemann in which he states that "all of the situations and dialogue in the script...were written by Carl Foreman from material he picked up from the men themselves." Sources disagree on the spelling of the last name of Brando's character.
       According to a 28 Jun 1950 DV news item, British censors banned The Men , citing a speech given to a group of wives and mothers by Everett Sloane's character in which he tells them that their paralyzed men may be unable to have children. A 10 Nov 1949 HR news item noted that a one-reel trailer, featuring Brando touring Hollywood landmarks, was produced by Stanley Kramer to advertise the film on television. Kramer also arranged pre-release showings of the film in Jul 1950 in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Atlantic City and San Francisco. On 11 May 1950, HR reported that a pre-release press screening, scheduled for 17 May 1950 in Los Angeles, would be attended by the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, whose military display would honor the wounded veterans memorialized in the film. A forty-piece Marine Corps band from Camp Pendleton, honor guards, color guards and others participated in the event. In 1950, Foreman was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film.
       The Men marked the motion picture debut of Brando (1940--2004). Before starring in the picture, Brando had appeared in the Broadway play A Streetcar Named Desire , receiving rave reviews for his performance. He had been scheduled to make his screen debut in St. Benny the Dip , which George Auerbach was to produce, but the deal collapsed according to an Aug 1949 HR news item. Of his performance in The Men , NYT stated: "Mr. Brando as the veteran who endures the most difficult time is so vividly real, dynamic and sensitive that his illusion is complete." The HR review called him "an amazingly life-like actor, a performer who seems to live rather than play his role...Whatever the individual opinion, Brando is an important new star in the Hollywood horizon." DV noted that Brando "plays his role realistically, often without sympathy" and hailed him as "a new type of leading man, and as such must be accepted." The Var review, however, complained that "Brando fails to deliver with the necessary sensitivity and inner warmth which would transform an adequate portrayal into an expert one. Slight speech impediment which sharply enhanced his 'Streetcar' role jars here. His supposed college graduate depiction is consequently not completely convincing." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 May 1950.
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1949.
---
Daily Variety
19 May 50
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Jun 50
p. 1, 4
Film Daily
19 May 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 1949.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 49
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1949.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 50
p. 3, 8
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 May 50
p. 301.
New York Times
16 Oct 1949.
---
New York Times
8 Jan 1950.
---
New York Times
21 Jul 50
p. 15.
Variety
24 May 50
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Story and scr
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Ladies' ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and dir
SOUND
Magnetic rec by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Lighting eff
Lighting eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Head grip
Tech adv
Tech adv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Love Like Ours," music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by John Lehman.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Courage of Ten
Release Date:
25 August 1950
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 20 July 1950
Production Date:
early November--early December 1949 at Motion Pictures Center Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 August 1950
Copyright Number:
LP329
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85-86
Length(in feet):
7,760
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14228
SYNOPSIS

After he is paralyzed from the waist down while serving during World War II, Army Lt. Ken "Bud" Wilozek is sent to the paraplegic ward at a hospital in his hometown. When Bud's fiancée Ellen meets the ward physician, Dr. Brock, she tells him that since his injury, Bud has become depressed and broken their engagement. Brock asks Ellen to give Bud some time to adjust to his paralysis, but while other patients at the hospital make friends, Bud remains bitter and withdrawn. Later, Brock tells Bud about his conversation with Ellen, but Bud reacts angrily, declaring that he does not wish to see her. Brock later instructs Nurse Robbins to take Bud to the exercise room, where he is forced to interact with the others. There, Bud meets fellow patients Leo, Norm Butler, and a Mexican American named Angel. At Ellen's urging, Brock decides to let her in to see Bud, who has refused to cooperate with his rehabilitation. Brock instructs her to come to the ward the following evening, when everyone else will be attending a wedding. The next evening, after Ellen finds Bud lying alone in the darkness, he shouts at her to leave and then begins weeping when his call for a nurse goes unanswered. Eventually, Bud befriends Angel, who persuades him to fight back against his condition and begin training to build his upper body strength. Soon, Norm starts seeing a woman named Laverne and brings her to the hospital to meet the others. Soon after, Angel dies suddenly of spinal meningitis, and Bud is thrust back into depression. Nevertheless, he perseveres and begins to see ... +


After he is paralyzed from the waist down while serving during World War II, Army Lt. Ken "Bud" Wilozek is sent to the paraplegic ward at a hospital in his hometown. When Bud's fiancée Ellen meets the ward physician, Dr. Brock, she tells him that since his injury, Bud has become depressed and broken their engagement. Brock asks Ellen to give Bud some time to adjust to his paralysis, but while other patients at the hospital make friends, Bud remains bitter and withdrawn. Later, Brock tells Bud about his conversation with Ellen, but Bud reacts angrily, declaring that he does not wish to see her. Brock later instructs Nurse Robbins to take Bud to the exercise room, where he is forced to interact with the others. There, Bud meets fellow patients Leo, Norm Butler, and a Mexican American named Angel. At Ellen's urging, Brock decides to let her in to see Bud, who has refused to cooperate with his rehabilitation. Brock instructs her to come to the ward the following evening, when everyone else will be attending a wedding. The next evening, after Ellen finds Bud lying alone in the darkness, he shouts at her to leave and then begins weeping when his call for a nurse goes unanswered. Eventually, Bud befriends Angel, who persuades him to fight back against his condition and begin training to build his upper body strength. Soon, Norm starts seeing a woman named Laverne and brings her to the hospital to meet the others. Soon after, Angel dies suddenly of spinal meningitis, and Bud is thrust back into depression. Nevertheless, he perseveres and begins to see Ellen again. When Ellen pleads with Bud to marry her, he agrees to give marriage a try. Norm, meanwhile, returns to the ward after an evening of drinking and tells Bud that Laverne stole $900 from him and fled to Canada. In the weeks before the wedding, Bud trains vigorously, hoping to be able to pull himself up and stand for his vows by holding onto a railing. On the big day, Bud manages to stand, but when he lets go of the rail to put the ring on Ellen's finger, he slumps helplessly to the floor. Bud is so wounded by this humiliation, that when they return home from the ceremony on their wedding night, he is cruel and argumentative. When Ellen admits that she is unhappy, Bud decides to return to the ward in the car that she had customized for his use. Later, Leo persuades Bud to sneak out for a drink at a local bar, after which Bud wrecks his car. The next day, a report of the crash appears in the newspaper, and the head of the hospital comes down hard on Bud for his behavior. Brock, however, convinces the administrator to allow the Paralyzed Veterans Association, the ward's self -governing body, to decide on Bud's punishment. When she reads about the crash, Ellen rushes to the hospital to apologize and asks Bud to return home, but he refuses. After the association votes to discharge Bud, Brock urges him to give his marriage another try. With a renewed appreciation for life, Bud drives his damaged car home, where Ellen is waiting to help him up the front steps. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.