7.2/10
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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:

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

This is the second film based on the book "La Bete Humaine" by Emile Zola. The previous version was also made by a legendary European filmmaker, Jean Renoir, in 1938. The '38 version is in French and carries the same title as the book. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, the train as seen from a high shot, is being pulled by a Baltimore and Ohio locomotive manufactured by Electro Motive. The locomotive Jeff Warren climbs down from is an ALCO manufactured locomotive lettered for Central National Railroad. While such a change of locomotives was certainly possible, the same engineer would never be operating it for two different railroads. See more »

Quotes

Jeff Warren: How do you tell the right girl for you from the wrong one?
Vera Simmons: By the way you love her.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
desire trumps reality
3 April 2008 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

Broderick Crawford and Gloria Grahme make an interesting couple as the two of them unravel in yet another boozy black and white (but mostly drab grey) plot of murder, betrayal, and blackmail, this time on a train as well as in a railroad yard, with Glenn Ford in the middle, coming back to his job as an engineer after fighting in the Korean War. It makes for a cozy and claustrophobic setting. While the lines that they say seem a bit unconvincing, their situations and personalities are what make this a memorable film. Crawford is especially impressive as a hulking railroad office employee with a vicious temper and jealousy for his younger wife. The plot has some inescapable holes in it, but the drama and tension build fairly well, first because of his tortuous marriage with Grahme which seems to go with the film's title, as the marriage is a sham that represents another unattainable desire for him. He carries the part off all the way to end.


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