In Tokyo in 1888, Kikunosuke Onoue, the adoptive son of an important actor, discovers that he is praised for his acting only because he is his father's heir, and that the troupe complains ... See full summary »
Umekichi, a geisha in the Gion district of Kyoto, feels obliged to help her lover Furusawa when he asks to stay with her after becoming bankrupt and leaving his wife. However her younger ... See full summary »
Umberto Ferrari, aged government-pensioner, attends a street demonstration held by his fellow pensioners. The police dispense the crowd and Umberto returns to his cheap furnished room which... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Maria Pia Casilio,
Paul Javal is a writer who is hired to make a script for a new movie about Ulysses more commercial, which is to be directed by Fritz Lang and produced by Jeremy Prokosch. But because he let... See full summary »
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Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
"La Bete Humaine" is many things------an excellent film version of an Emile Zola novel; an outstanding (if little known) work by the famous French film director, Jean Renoir; a movie that captures memorable performances by its very capable cast; probably the greatest movie to use real trains as an essential plot device ever made; and a superbly photographed drama that holds your interest from beginning to end.
But perhaps the most critical claim this movie can make is to define the basic text of the film noir femme fatale role that was to become such an important aspect of Hollywood's most innovative creations of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Simone Simon's Severine Roubaud can and should be seen as the precursor of such similar characters as Jane Greer's Kathie Moffett in the film noir classic "Out of the Past (1947)" almost ten years later. Both are highly complex characters with dangerous sexuality and a totally amoral view of life. Both make it very difficult to distinguish between truth and fiction in what they say to us. Simone Simon plays the Jean Gabin character like a well-tuned musical instrument-----and Jane Greer's Kathie is no less successful in manipulating Robert Mitchum's character. Both are beautiful, childlike at times, feminine at other times, very different than what they seem to be, seductive to an extreme and in the end---destined to experience the consequences of a life not well lived.
"La Bete Humaine" can be enjoyed on its own terms as a seminal example of great French film drama of the 1930s. However, its more important message is to give us an early illustration of the origins of Hollywood film noir's femme fatale.
Next time you wonder where all those deadly dangerous female predators came from in American film noir, check out "La Bete Humaine." For fans of the genre, it should definitely be on your must-see list.
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