IMDb > Human Desire (1954)
Human Desire
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Human Desire (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 54% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Alfred Hayes (screenplay)
Émile Zola (novel)
View company contact information for Human Desire on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 August 1954 (USA) See more »
A rarity on the screen... a RAW slice of life! See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A railroad worker falls for a married woman See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Glenn Ford ... Jeff Warren

Gloria Grahame ... Vicki Buckley

Broderick Crawford ... Carl Buckley

Edgar Buchanan ... Alec Simmons
Kathleen Case ... Ellen Simmons
Peggy Maley ... Jean
Diane DeLaire ... Vera Simmons
Grandon Rhodes ... John Owens
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Paul Brinegar ... Brakeman (uncredited)
Victor Hugo Greene ... Davidson (uncredited)
Don C. Harvey ... Yard Dispatcher (uncredited)
Carl Lee ... John Thurston (uncredited)
John Maxwell ... Chief of Police (uncredited)
John Pickard ... Matt Henley (uncredited)
Dan Riss ... Prosecutor Gruber (uncredited)
Dan Seymour ... Duggan - Bartender (uncredited)
Olan Soule ... Lewis (uncredited)
Hal Taggart ... Gruber's Assistant at Inquest (uncredited)
John Zaremba ... 'Russ' Russell, Train Conductor (uncredited)

Directed by
Fritz Lang 
Writing credits
Alfred Hayes (screenplay)

Émile Zola (novel "La Bête Humaine") (as Emile Zola)

Produced by
Lewis J. Rachmil .... producer
Original Music by
Daniele Amfitheatrof 
Cinematography by
Burnett Guffey (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Aaron Stell 
Art Direction by
Robert Peterson 
Set Decoration by
William Kiernan 
Costume Design by
Jean Louis (gowns)
Makeup Department
Clay Campbell .... makeup artist
Helen Hunt .... hair stylist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Milton Feldman .... assistant director
Sound Department
John P. Livadary .... recording supervisor (as John Livadary)
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... conductor
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
91 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Argentina:13 | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:PG (2010) | UK:X (1954) | USA:Approved (PCA #16878, Adult Audience) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Gloria Grahame's part was originally intended for Rita Hayworth.See more »
Factual errors: When Jeff Warren is shown operating the throttle, three quick shots show the throttle in widely different positions with the middle footage being a shot of an actual trainman operated throttle. In reality, no throttle would ever be moved between positions that quickly as it would make for a violent ride if it did not actually pull the cars apart at their couplers.See more »
[First lines]
John Thurston:Good to see you back, Jeff.
Jeff Warren:Town looks great
John Thurston:80% better than Korea, I'll bet.
Jeff Warren:100%.
John Thurston:No medals?
Jeff Warren:They ran out of them.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974) (TV)See more »


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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
A railroad worker falls for a married woman, 27 January 2007
Author: blanche-2 from United States

Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, and Broderick Crawford deal with "Human Desire" a 1954 film directed by Fritz Lang and based on Emile Zola's "La Bete Humaine." Fresh from Korea, Jeff Warren (Ford) is a railroad engineer currently staying with his friend (Edgar Buchanan) and his family, one of whom is a young woman interested in Jeff. And no wonder - remember, this is Glenn Ford. One of the railroad bosses, Carl Buckley (Crawford) loses his job in a fit of temper and asks his wife Vicki (Grahame) to appeal to a wealthy and powerful family friend to help him get his job back. Well, she does, but when she returns successful many hours later and wants to hit the shower, it doesn't take much to figure out just how she accomplished this feat. Blind with anger, Buckley makes her write a letter saying she will meet the man in his train compartment. Buckley kills him there and keeps the letter to hold over Vicki.

As she was seen near the murder compartment, Vicki flirts with Ford to keep her out of the investigation and eventually they become involved. That's when Vicki starts hinting around that she needs the letter found and her husband dead - not necessarily in that order.

Not being familiar with the source material, I can't comment on this film as well as some others here. The postwar era was not Lang's strongest; he seems to have fallen out of favor and not getting the budgets or the scripts he once did. That being said, this is a very absorbing noir with Gloria Grahame being completely hateful and Ford being Mr. Nice Guy who is in this woman's clutches. Crawford's character is an odd one; he's presented as a good guy and then suddenly he goes off and becomes a total madman.

What makes this film is the sexual tension between Ford and Grahame. Ford was a wonderful movie star but with a limited range. What he had going for him beside good looks was major sex appeal, and while Grahame burns, he smolders. They make a hot team.

Perhaps the story and characters could have been fleshed out more; as it is, it's entertaining with good directing, acting, and some interesting shots. Great for noir fans.

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