Human Desire Reviews
Directed by Fritz Lang with no small amount of relish, "Human Desire" is not just a very good crime movie of the era it was made in, but also one very much ahead of its time. First, it is still the rare movie to point out when an older man is paired with a much younger woman which is usually still taken for granted. Second and more importantly is how the movie is also very honest about domestic violence, even if the vocabulary did not yet exist when this was made.
movie, it's rather a well-desevred compliment for its hot-edgeness and hardboiled
melodramatic sensations. Human desire aspires to be a hard-hitting, gutsy crime
picture that shows not only a story of romance bound to fail from the
start, but also makes a series of aggressive comments on the topic of
alcoholism and pathology in families.
When Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) returns home after serving his time in
Korea, his only dream is to return back to his steady job as a train
engineer. Unfortunately, on his way he meets a vulgar, abusive Carl
Buckley (Broderick Crawford). The man is in desperate need of an
intervention in order to keep his job, and begs his beautiful wife
Vicki (Gloria Grahame) to stand by him during the meeting with his
boss. However, due to his alcohol addiction and distorted mind, Carl
thinks that she met with Owens so as to flirt with him. On the train
back Carl kills the man, and Jeff - who was very close to the whole
action - bumps into Vicky and quickly develops feelings for her. She,
on the other hand, wants to take advantage of his generosity. Being
abused by her raging husband, she finds solace in the arms of a
stranger. However, in a small city every rumor spreads faster than the
wind. Carl starts drinking more and more, and blackmails Vicky with a
letter into staying with him for as long as they'll live. Vicky soon
comes up with a devilish plan to get rid of her disgraceful chubby...
The effectiveness of this film owes much to the spellbinding
photography. It portrays not only America's working class, but also
many in-train sequences, which give the film a much-deserved
claustrophobic feel. The intensity of the atmosphere goes through the
roof as the characters argue and fight inside the small compartments,
making their disputes even more dramatic and realistic than they are.
Human Desire may not be Fritz Lang's masterpiece, but it surely
deserves a view, for it is a violently sombre tale about regular
people, who bring about their own demise through a series of tragic