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Human Desire (1954)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,070 users  
Reviews: 35 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)
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Title: Human Desire (1954)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jeff Warren
...
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:

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

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

The exact same footage of a steam engine powered work train being passed is used in two different parts of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Ellen Simmons: What would you men do if there were no women around to sew buttons on?
Alec Simmons: If there were no women around we wouldn't need any buttons!
See more »

Connections

Version of La bestia humana (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slightly disappointing
17 September 2004 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

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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