What does Marlon Brando’s debut movie have to do with Paralyzed Veterans of America? You will be surprised to see how today’s vets will identify with “The Men”, a classic film made in 1950. It is definitely worth the watch. This writer watched it on an old VCR borrowed from the Mid America PVA office, but after watching, found it available on Amazon , iTunes or Vudu. Who knows? If you have a VCR, the Mid America office might let you borrow it!
Marlon Brando plays Ken, a young veteran who was shot in action. His wound resulted in his paralysis from the waist down. The movie focuses on his emotional, mental, and physical fight to come to terms with his life-changing injury. The struggle is portrayed with truth, accuracy and compassion. A lot of the challenge is centered around the brotherhood of paralyzed vets who all reside in the VA hospital. Each man handles their fate a little differently but there is a deep understanding between them. There is even an intense scene where the men who form the Paralyzed Veterans of America must make a tough decision which will be a turning point in Ken’s life (played by Brando).
Some of the other realistic characters in “The Men” are Ken’s fiancé Ellen who struggles with her decision to marry him, the very human-yet-dedicated doctor who cares deeply for his men, and each of the vets who are trying to learn to live a new way of life. Included are some glimpses of early adaptive sports and therapy that veterans had in 1950.
Medical equipment, treatment, accessibility and education has come a long way in 70 years, but the Paralyzed Veteran of America still is there from first injury through treatment, through making sure veterans get all the resources available to them, through support for families, through finding ways to enjoy life again. Watch “The Men” and get a new look (through an old movie) of how vital it is for veterans to help one another. That’s the purpose of PVA!
Here is a small clip from the movie!