Glenn Frankel's much-recommended “High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic” includes a great story about Marlon Brando during his prep for “The Men,” which is about a WWII soldier who is paralyzed from the waist down. It's not only Brando's first film role but the first movie to unite the team that would make “High Noon” two years later: producer Stanley Kramer, writer Carl Foreman, and director Fred Zinneman:
A devout believer in Method acting, Brando immediately immersed himself in patient life at the Birmingham hospital. He confined himself to a wheelchair and drove a car specially fitted with hand controls like the vets themselves used. Brando spent four weeks living in a ward with thirty-one wary, frustrated, and often angry men. He dealt with them without a teaspoon of pity or condescension. Soon he became their leader. In the most famous tale, Brando went drinking one night with his new friends from the ward, and when a woman at a bar started praying aloud for their recovery, Brando listened for a spell, then rose up haltingly. “I can walk! I can walk!” he cried. Then he broke into a soft shoe and danced his way to the sidewalk, his paraplegic buddies trailing after him in full mirth.
Another good Brando story can be found in our recent feature on entertainment attorney Bonnie Eskenazi.