7.7/10
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41 user 31 critic

La bête humaine (1938)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 19 February 1940 (USA)
In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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On TV

Airs Mon. Sep. 25, 2:45 PM on TCM

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Roubaud (as Ledoux sociétaire de la Comédie-Française)
Blanchette Brunoy ...
Gérard Landry ...
Le fils Dauvergne (as Gerard Landry)
Jenny Hélia ...
Philomène Sauvagnat (as Jenny Helia)
Colette Régis ...
Victoire Pecqueux (as Colette Regis)
Claire Gérard ...
Une voyageuse (as Claire Gerard)
Charlotte Clasis ...
Tante Phasie, la marraine de Lantier (as Germaine Clasis)
Jacques Berlioz ...
Grandmorin (as Berlioz)
Tony Corteggiani ...
Dabadie, le chef de section (as Cortegianni)
André Tavernier ...
Le juge d'instruction Denizet
Marcel Pérès ...
Un lampiste (as Perez)
...
Cabuche
...
Pecqueux (as Carette)
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Storyline

Jacques Lantier is a train engineer who is prone to violent seizures, a condition he attributes to his forefathers' habit of excessive drinking. Roubaud is a train conductor on the same railroad that Lantier works on, married to the much younger Séverine. When Roubaud catches wind of his wife's affair with her godfather, the wealthy M. Grandmorin, he kills him during a train journey in a fit of jealousy. He makes sure that Séverine is also present, making her an accomplice to murder. Lantier, despite having witnessed them quite clearly in the train corridor, hides the fact during the investigation as he is attracted to Séverine. They both begin an affair, all the while Roubaud becomes increasingly withdrawn and starts to gamble. Séverine urges Lantier to kill her husband so that they would be free but she is unaware of Lantier's unfortunate condition. Written by Soumitra

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the novel "La Bete Humaine" a drama of consuming passions, directed by Jean Renoir

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 February 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La Bête Humaine  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Severine gives Roubaud a Nogent knife, which he is impressed with. The region of Nogent-Bassigny is a centre of French cutlery manufacture. It also the name of a company that makes knives and similar items. See more »

Quotes

Jacques Lantier: I can't go on. I can't go on.
See more »


Soundtracks

Le coeur de Ninon
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Maurice Nouhaud (1900)
Music by E. Becucci (from waltz "Tesoro mio")
Sung by Marcel Veyran
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Simple and Complex
24 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are two powder kegs in this film. The first is Lantier (Gabin) who wells up with violence when in the embrace of women. The second is Sevarin, played by Simone Simon. We can see the convergence of the twain as these two make their respective ways toward each other. Lantier is a railroad engineer and a very competent one. His locomotive is his passion. People are aware that he has an illness which he describes as the result of being the lineage of a host of alcoholics. He is lonely, however, and when he falls for Sevarin he falls for good. She is married and is complicit with her husband in killing a man for whom she was a mistress. Her husband, who also is a railroad man, feels he needs to kill him in order to restore his own honor. Lantier is a witness after the fact and this is when he connects with Sevarin. The romance is very passionate, but she needs him to kill her husband. He is not a conscious killer and can't do the job. This complicates everything and ruins Lantier's life. This is a simple tale that is complicated by the nature of the triangle. Renoir does some wonderful things with the camera and sets it all up very well.


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