Richard Erdman

Richard Erdman

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The Men Review


Very Good
The death of Marlon Brando in July 2004 sent film fans scurrying to the video store to check out early Brando performances they may have missed. It's a worthwhile exercise. If you go all the way back to the beginning, you'll find The Men, Brando's 1950 screen debut, a dated oddity that's nevertheless a must-see for anyone curious about Brando's artistic trajectory.

Always the Method actor, Brando was rumored to have spent a month in a veteran's hospital to prepare for the role of Ken Wilcheck, a World War II vet paralyzed from the waist down by a gunshot wound. But before we get to meet Ken, we have to sit through an amazing lecture by the stern yet concerned Dr. Brock (Everett Sloan), who addresses a roomful of mothers and wives of paraplegic vets about the grim realities of paraplegia. After listening to long explanations about bowel and bladder control (it can be achieved) and the possibility of a paraplegic starting a family (not bloody likely), the women, who regard the doctor as a god, tentatively ask questions to which the doctor basically responds, "You're screwed. Accept it and move on." Then he lights a cigarette.

Continue reading: The Men Review

Stalag 17 Review


Good
Highly acclaimed, this precursor of everything from The Great Escapeto Hogan's Heroesto M*A*S*H to Life is Beautiful is hardly a masterpiece, but it does get credit for being one of the first films made to laugh about war. While the film has a few moments of seriousness, by and large it's a comedy -- mocking Hitler and POW life as we follow the daily rituals of Americans held prisoner by the Germans during WWII. Too bad the gags are so over-the-top they deserve a laugh track (hence Hogan and co. -- though Hogan's Heroes was sued for infringement, the TV series won the case). And speaking of which... a 2 1/4-hour comedy???
Richard Erdman

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The Men Movie Review

The Men Movie Review

The death of Marlon Brando in July 2004 sent film fans scurrying to the video...

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