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Human Desire (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Romance  |  5 August 1954 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,265 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 23 critic

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in a sordid affair with a co-worker's wife and murder.

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(screenplay), (novel) (as Emile Zola)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Vicki Buckley
...
Carl Buckley
...
Alec Simmons
Kathleen Case ...
Ellen Simmons
Peggy Maley ...
Jean
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. He becomes attracted immediately to Vicki Buckley, the sultry wife of brutish railroad supervisor Carl Buckley, an alcoholic wife beater with a hair trigger temper and penchant for explosive violence. Jeff becomes reluctantly drawn into a sordid affair by the compulsively seductive Vicki. After Buckley is fired for insubordination, he begs her to intercede on his behalf with John Owens, a rich and powerful businessman whose influence can get him reinstated. When Buckley suspects she has used sexual favors to persuade Owens, he stabs him to death in a jealous rage in a railroad compartment. Jeff, a potential witness to the homicide, becomes an accessory after the fact. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She was born to be bad...to be kissed...to make trouble! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 August 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Human Beast  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon his return from Japan after the Korean War, veteran Glenn Ford brings Kathleen Case a kimono and jokingly refers to "The Teashouse of the Rising Moon," a clear reference to the then-current Broadway hit "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1953-1956). Ironically Ford would star in the 1956 screen version two years later. See more »

Goofs

The exact same footage of the conductor in the vestibule of the passenger car is used twice in different parts of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Jean: [Dressing for a date] Zip me up will you, Carl?
Carl Buckley: [Impatiently] You dames, you spend more time gettin' dressed...
Jean: Have to! It's much better to have good looks than brains because most of the men I know can see much better than they can think.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lang reunites Grahame, Ford for dark, smouldering Zola update
8 May 2001 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Fresh from their exertions in Fritz Lang's superheated The Big Heat, Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame (joined by Broderick Crawford) reunite for the director's recension of Zola's La Bete Humaine. This time, the heat is not so explosive, but this film's dense, acrid smokes smoulders away to the point of choking claustrophobia. Like Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, the film opens with us criss-crossing a maze of railroad tracks, and the locomotives, cars and switching yards are never far away in this tale of abuse, frustration, adultery and homicides (plural) somewhere out in the prairie heartland. Grahame, when bad, is always good, but she's never been badder or better than here, as the young wife of the violently jealous Broderick Crawford. Glenn Ford, just mustered out of Korea, gets his brakeman's job back and chugs right into the middle of this marital discord. Lang tightens the screws slowly and expertly for the full 90 minutes of this midwestern nightmare (the final words of which, unspoken, are: "Trenton makes, the world takes," read backwards on a railway trestle). This is a canonical work of film noir, left -- like too many others -- in unviewed obscurity. It's every bit the equal of The Big Heat or Scarlet Street.


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