By Chris Nashawaty
Updated July 20, 2010 at 06:37 PM EDT

Image Credit: Life.comBy 1950, Marlon Brando was already considered the greatest American actor alive. Not bad for a 26-year-old. His raw, Method intensity and brute, larger-than-life presence on the New York stage were the stuff of legend. Naturally, Hollywood beckoned. So Brando turned his back on the theater and headed out west to see if he could parlay his rep as the toast of Broadway into movie stardom, packing his bags to see if his genius would translate to the silver screen.

But before going on to star in timeless classics like 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire, 1954’s On the Waterfront, and 1972’s The Godfather, Brando decided to make his big-screen debut in 1950’s The Men, a powerful drama about a paralyzed war veteran struggling with his uncertain future. For the actor, there was a lot riding on the film. And he worked night and day to ensure that he nailed the tricky part.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brando’s film debut, has unveiled a pair of rare photo galleries from its archives, including one of Brando in deep (and occasionally playful) preparation for The Men, and a second, from 1952, consisting of never-seen portraits shot by photographer Margaret Bourke-White. Check them out. They offer a spectacular behind-the-scenes glimpse of the fresh-faced genius at the peak of his powers…