7.2/10
3,263
45 user 27 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

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 closing sequence shows the famous "Trenton Makes, The World Takes" bridge over the Delaware River and the NJ State Capitol out the side window of the locomotive over Jeff Warren's shoulder, meaning the train is headed south on the four-track Pennsylvania Railroad Northeast Corridor. The scene cuts to the front window and the train is on a single-line track in farmland passing a track gang. After Glen waves to the workers, the scene cuts back to a forward view of a three-track railroad passing an opposing steam train that was not visible in the previous shot. 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

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