7.2/10
3,786
48 user 41 critic

Human Desire (1954)

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in an affair with a co-worker's wife following a murder on a train where they meet.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Alfred Hayes (screenplay), Émile Zola (novel) (as Emile Zola)
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4,719 ( 3,035)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Glenn Ford ... Jeff Warren
Gloria Grahame ... Vicki Buckley
Broderick Crawford ... Carl Buckley
Edgar Buchanan ... Alec Simmons
Kathleen Case Kathleen Case ... Ellen Simmons
Peggy Maley ... Jean
Diane DeLaire Diane DeLaire ... Vera Simmons
Grandon Rhodes ... John Owens
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Storyline

Jeff Warren, a Korean War vet just returning to his railroad engineer's job, boards at the home of co-worker Alec Simmons and is charmed by Alec's beautiful daughter. Vicki Buckley is the sultry wife of brutish railroad supervisor Carl Buckley, an alcoholic wife beater with a hair trigger temper and penchant for explosive violence. After Buckley is fired for insubordination, he begs Vicki to intercede on his behalf with John Owens, a rich and powerful businessman who Vicki's mother used to keep house for, and whose influence can get him reinstated. When Buckley suspects she has used sexual favors to persuade Owens, he beats Vicki and develops a plan to meet Owen on the train and stabs him to death in a jealous rage in a his compartment. Jeff, who is deadheading after a trip, is on the train and meets Vicki without knowing who she is when Buckley needs her to get him out of the way so he can get back to their compartment without being seen as he is covered in blood. Jeff is a potential... Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A rarity on the screen... a RAW slice of life! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1954 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Beast See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fritz Lang had desperately wanted Peter Lorre to play Jeff Warren, but Lang had treated Lorre so abusively during the making of M (1931) that the actor refused. See more »

Goofs

When Jeff Warren is shown operating the throttle, three quick shots show the throttle in widely different positions with the middle footage being a shot of an actual trainman operated throttle. In reality, no throttle would ever be moved between positions that quickly as it would make for a violent ride if it did not actually pull the cars apart at their couplers. See more »

Quotes

Vicki Buckley: You've killed before!
Jeff Warren: Before? Oh, the war, huh. I'd almost forgot. You thought I could do it because of that, huh? Well, there's a difference. In the war you fire into the darkness... something moving on a ridge, a position, a uniform, an enemy. But a man coming home helpless, drunk... that takes a different kind of killing.
Vicki Buckley: Yes, and a different kind of a man.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Thèmes et variations du cinéma (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent drama elaborately designed by the master Fritz Lang
2 August 2006 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The picture is based on the Emile Zola's novel ¨La bete humaine¨. A mild- mannered and essentially decent ex-soldier (Glenn Ford) working as unhinged trainman becomes romantically involved with a mysterious , alluring but heartless and vicious femme fatal (Gloria Grahame) . He lives temporarily at home with an old friend man (Edgar Buchanan) . She is unhappily married to a tough and brutal hubby as ever ruined (Broderick Crawford). They then are involved in a mutually destructive affair . She managed and is convinced for her unwanted husband has his job back , but he has been fired , then the problems and subsequently murder are cropping up , but she plots other malignant purports .

Columbia Pictures Film production, puts all the force of the screen into a challenging drama of furious passions and though there're pretty dialog and little action is amount entertaining . It's a psychological , dark melodrama about fatalism , duplicity , pessimism and human passions . Stylish , well designed and compelling drama , although is sometimes annoyingly shrill . Love , hatred , killing , vengeance indeed figure strongly in this brightly seedy portraits of low life as Fritz Lang did also in ¨Big Heat¨ (1953) equally with Ford and Grahame . The well-designed atmosphere elaborately recreated in railway , trains , stations is entirely convincing throughout . Wonderful performances by the entire casting . Gloria Grahame (married at the time to Nicholas Ray) as manipulating woman who subtly destroys them , winning yet another awesome acting with a smouldering predatory and absolutely hypnotic interpretation in her account of the domineering that occurs from start to ending . The film contains stunning cinematography by classic cameraman Burnett Guffey . The motion picture is narrated with agility and intelligence by the great director Fritz Lang . This movie along with ¨Scarlet Street¨ are remakes of Jean Renor films . In fact ¨the Bete Humaine¨(1938) by Renoir and with Jean Gabin and Simone Simon is considered a superior version .


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