7.2/10
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45 user 30 critic

Human Desire (1954)

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in an affair with a co-worker's wife following a murder on a train where they meet.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Alfred Hayes (screenplay), Émile Zola (novel) (as Emile Zola)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Glenn Ford ... Jeff Warren
Gloria Grahame ... Vicki Buckley
Broderick Crawford ... Carl Buckley
Edgar Buchanan ... Alec Simmons
Kathleen Case Kathleen Case ... Ellen Simmons
Peggy Maley ... Jean
Diane DeLaire 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. Vicki Buckley is the sultry wife of brutish railroad supervisor Carl Buckley, an alcoholic wife beater with a hair trigger temper and penchant for explosive violence. After Buckley is fired for insubordination, he begs Vicki to intercede on his behalf with John Owens, a rich and powerful businessman who Vicki's mother used to keep house for, and whose influence can get him reinstated. When Buckley suspects she has used sexual favors to persuade Owens, he beats Vicki and develops a plan to meet Owen on the train and stabs him to death in a jealous rage in a his compartment. Jeff, who is deadheading after a trip, is on the train and meets Vicki without knowing who she is when Buckley needs her to get him out of the way so he can get back to their compartment without being seen as he is covered in blood. Jeff is a potential... Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1954 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Beast See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando refused the role of Jeff Warren, saying "I cannot believe that the man who gave us the über dark Mabuse, the pathetic child murderer in M (1931) and the futuristic look at society, Metropolis (1927), would stoop to hustling such crap." See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Jean: All women are alike. They just got different faces so that the men can tell them apart.
See more »

Connections

Version of Cruel Train (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One Jealous Husband + One Dangerous Woman + One Willing Admirer = Trouble
22 January 2007 | by movingpicturegalSee all my reviews

Well-done film noir about a railroad engineer, Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford), who gets mixed up with a beautiful femme fatale (Gloria Grahame) who comes complete with husband who has murdered a man in a train car in an act of jealousy - and happens to be one of Warren's co-workers. Meeting her on the train just after the murder, kissing her within moments of meeting, it seemed like, our railroad man is soon embroiled in a love affair with this woman, who can't break away from her husband as he is holding a piece of blackmail over her head involving the murder.

This film is quite a good one, boosted up considerably by the great performance given by Gloria Grahame, who brings a sad vulnerability to her character and really makes this film. Broderick Crawford is also very good, as the angry, murderous husband and Glenn Ford comes across as the handsome, strong, quiet type which completely suits his part - well done acting all around for this. This film also features interesting photography and lighting typical of this style of film - I especially like the way the train scenes are shot, with the camera strapped to the front of the train, giving a first-person ride along the railroad tracks. A gripping film with a plot that kept me interested from beginning to end.


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