Human Desire (1954)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir, Romance


Human Desire (1954) Poster

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.


7.2/10
3,701

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  • Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame in Human Desire (1954)
  • Gloria Grahame in Human Desire (1954)
  • "Human Desire" Fritz Lang 1954 Columbia **I.V.
  • Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame in Human Desire (1954)
  • Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame in Human Desire (1954)
  • Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame in Human Desire (1954)

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17 September 2004 | guy-bellinger
7
| Slightly disappointing
Despite Lang's signature, I must admit I have been a bit let down. I say "a bit" because "Human Desire" is not a bad film in itself. Simply, it somewhat pales beside its admirable model, Jean Renoir's "La Bête humaine".

Here are a few shortcomings ( which will appear so only if we have seen the two versions ) : -To begin with, why this happy end, at least concerning Warren ( Lantier's American counterpart) ? It is downright unfaithful both to Zola's naturalism and Renoir's "poetic determinism". - More in keeping with the source material it was a commendable idea to make Warren a Korea War veteran ( war CAN unsettle individuals) but the character basically remains an all-American good guy erring a little.And if to err is "human" then it doesn't at all make the character a "human beast". - Glenn Ford's interpretation is undistiguished compared to Jean Gabin's formidable presence in the former film. - Something equally amazing is choosing usually picturesque Edgar Buchanan to replace Carette and give him nothing to do ! No one can forget Carette's gift of the gab and drawling accent hiding a deep feeling of helpless sympathy. Whoever will remember Edgar Buchanan in this dull part ? [ sigh of helpless sympathy ! ]

There are good points, however, in this film, notably the convincing portrayal of the "cursed couple" by always reliable Gloria Grahame and Broderick Crawford as well as the opening sequences of tracks,switches, metallic bridges... with no other sounds than the clanking of wheels ,conjuring up ( this time like in Renoir's "Human Beast" )the inexorable progress of fate.

On the whole I didn't really dislike "Human Desire" but I found it less atmospheric, more matter of fact than the original. In other words, I wish I hadn't seen "La Bête humaine"...yet.

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