The footage from the late 1940s shows a baby-faced Brando auditioning for the movie — a few years before he made his big-screen debut in 1950's "The Men." The role called for Brando to play a young criminal who urges his girlfriend to join him in escaping from the law.
"There is a magnetic power to him, as he is at the peak of his physical beauty and virile power — both as a man and as an actor," Darwin Porter, author of "Brando Unzipped," told the Times of London earlier this week.
Porter said he was "mesmerized" by the actor's screen test, which studio officials believe was the first time Brando, then a stage performer, worked in front of a camera.
The screenplay he tested for was shelved, and the "Rebel" title was recycled years later for the 1955 film that made James Dean a star, according to officials from Warner Home Video.
The footage is being released May 2 as part of an eight-disc DVD set featuring film adaptations of the works of playwright Tennessee Williams. The films include "A Streetcar Named Desire," in which Brando starred, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Sweet Bird of Youth."
Warner officials said the test was found in the early 1990s by a studio employee looking for items to put on a video release of Dean's "Rebel." Officials said they held it until they found an appropriate venue.
Brando died of lung failure in July 2004. He was 80.