La BÍte Humaine (Judas Was a Woman)(The Human Beast) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

La BÍte Humaine (Judas Was a Woman)(The Human Beast) Reviews

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August 14, 2014
Not often I am disappointed with a French film. And it is so atmospheric, I am sure it would have got 5 stars when it was made in 1938. Just not for me tonight.
June 23, 2014
Banned in Australia by the Commonwealth Censor in 1938. I assume it is still banned in 2014, because I am unable to buy a copy of this dark movie, even if I try to order it from outside Australia. I have watched it from start to finish, because I am fascinated by railways, and the relevant scenes are evocative, true to life, and historic. The story line is deeply disturbing, but nonetheless no worse than Love the Proper Stranger or Oklahoma.
½ October 7, 2013
Maybe it is because it is difficult to transpose all the internal feelings of the characters to the screen; maybe, by a bad election of the cast -but the actress who makes Severine-; but the point is that the movie is only a pale reflection of what is developed in the original novel. Some very important facts, which are key in the book, are only partially explained, making this that great part of the motivation is lost. I was even surprised that Renoir didnīt employ, in some moments, some shots that had been more powerful for the story.
May 21, 2013
Dopo il suo capolavoro La grande illusione, Renoir firma questo Drama espressionista ambientato tra Parigi e Le Havre, sul tragico triangolo amoroso tra una coppia di coniugi composta da un funzionario della stazione di Havre, la giovane e affascinante moglie Sťverine, ed il macchinista Jacques Lantier. Definita da un romanticismo che evoca suggestioni vicine all'influenza naturalista della letteratura e dell'arte visiva, l'opera Ť caratterizzata da una struttura narrativa pregna di forti elementi allegorici, quali riescono, grazie all'efficacia di immagini emblematiche nel preventivare situazioni e risvolti infausti, e piani sequenza ipnotici, a generare un pathos che, questa volta, mostra senza tabý o censure quelle apprensioni pessimiste che tormentavano la classe proletaria in un momento della storia in cui, da lž a poco, sarebbero state messe a dura prova le convinzioni e le ideologie di questa problematica casta sociale. Il risentimento da parte di Lantier (un impeccabile Gabin) di non poter uscire dai suoi schemi "ereditari" (lui stesso afferma di essere il discendente di una famiglia di alcolisti) lo porterŗ a compiere quegli istinti omicidi manifestati verso le sue amanti, spesso paradossalmente attratte proprio dalla sua apparente condizione di serenitŗ ed autocontrollo; un onesto lavoratore che si ritrova a fare i conti con l'arroganza del ceto aristocratico, come per il suo collega Roubaud, anche lui ormai stanco di una vita "ordinaria" e constantemente sull'orlo paranoico di una crisi di nervi (triste ma significativa la scena in cui ruba dei soldi dal portafoglio dell'amante della moglie, ucciso con la complicitŗ di quest'ultima, e verso cui, in un primo momento, aveva promesso a sť stesso di non impossessarsi dei suoi averi; promessa che, come visto, durerŗ ben poco). Questi sentimenti di frustazione e collera porteranno i due protagonisti a quei comportamenti violenti ed pericolosamente impulsivi quali li identificheranno come "bestie umane" (dal titolo del romanzo d'ispirazione di Zola): ad affliggere gli animi inquieti di Jacques e Roubaud, c'Ť, appunto, Sťverine: femme fatale che si puÚ rivelare un'arma a doppio taglio; anche lei, infatti, decisa ad entrare nel mondo della piccola borghesia con tutti i compromessi possibili, persino brutali (sebbene il personaggio, in sť, non si possa considerare esattamente "malvagio"). Il destino dei tre sciagurati non potrŗ che essere nefasto. Nonostante il ritmo lento della trama, Renoir dirige eccellentemente i ruoli di Gabin, Ledoux, e Simon con una maniera autentica che gli permette di rappresentare una suspense della messa in scena giocata sul continuo alterco tra buon costume e violazione delle regole.
January 23, 2013
Brilliantly directed by Jean Renoir, La Bete Humaine is filled with wonderful performances and expert composition.
½ October 31, 2012
Having watched Fritz Lang's remake first (Human Desire, 1953) several years ago, I couldn't help but think of Gloria Grahame, Glenn Ford, and Broderick Crawford in the key roles while watching Renoir's original version of the Emile Zola story. Jean Gabin is one of my favorites but somehow Glenn Ford gets more of the noir sleaze into his performance (or so I recall now). Of course, it is great to see Renoir himself acting (as a buffoon who takes the fall for the first murder) and his mise en scene and command of his actors is masterful as usual. But this just doesn't reach the levels of his other masterpieces (nor is it dark enough, despite the subject matter, which sees a man encouraging his wife to obtain a favor for him from her "godfather" and then murdering him with her complicity when he realizes what she did to obtain the favor; Gabin witnesses the murder and falls in love with the wife).
March 25, 2012
Gabin's performance is the big draw here, emphasizing one of the ways in which humans are trapped by their natures.
March 16, 2012
Amazing film, one of the first films that really open my eyes as a young child (9 years old). I remember the feeling when we could hear the train passing by, the face of Jean Gabin, the psychological intensity. A must must see. On my top 10 (maybe being a little bit bias).
½ November 13, 2011
An excellent Film Noir from french master Jean Renoir. Definitely worth checking out!
½ August 16, 2011
interesting tale of the old tragic love triangle
August 14, 2011
A barely compelling love triangle that dramatically leaps from one major development to the next with little or no believable causes.
½ July 30, 2011
Brrr... Renoir, que macabro. :-D
½ June 9, 2011
A good film from Renoir. I just wish the film would hold up as great as the last 20 minutes. I loved the footage of the train and what it takes to run it. reminded me of "Wages of Fear" trough all the hard work brilliantly depicted in both films.
May 11, 2011
This gets a place on my short list.
April 30, 2011
POWERFUL !!! TRAINS TRAINS TRAINS !!!
½ March 23, 2011
Ok, now it's official... not only Hollywood classics suck big time.
In fact, I hardly have ever even seen a Hollywood film (from any time) that was as bad and as unsatisfying as this film.
The acting was crap, the dialogue... phuh... it had literally no story.
I wasted time of my precious life for this...
Over the Rising Sun
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2011
Jean Renoir's dark retelling of the classic novel by Emile Zola has beautiful naturalist cinematography, stunning locomotive sequences, and bravura talent courtesy of the three leads (Gabin, Simon, and Ledoux). La Bete Humaine is the equivalent of Emile Zola (praising everyman values) writing Crime and Punishment, as in all of the characters have hidden scars, mostly from murder, and you watch as they go from having ordinary lives to destructive relationships. There are some amazing moments with Renoir's camerawork and the acting, and a lot of okay ones, and though the finale was intense, the just okay moments overtake most of the film's running time, rendering a longer than it should'v been.

All in all, a great Zolaesque character study. 88/100
January 20, 2011
The exquisite performances by the love triangle and also by the protagonists friend make this film noir such an enthralling and enchanting experience.
December 9, 2010
‚La Bete Humaine‚?, by Jean Renoir is a grim and macabre noirish film about people doomed by childhood, genetics, or just plain star-crossed fate to destroy and defile the things they love and care for the most.


Roubaud is an ostensibly normal trains-station master, married to S√ (C)verine a beautiful woman of questionable virtue. Lantier is an engineer on a Locomotive who is occasionally seized by fits of manic rage which he believes come from his fathers and grandfathers history of alcoholism.


Only the roar of the trains calm Lantier‚(TM)s inexplicable rages. Roubaud seems to love his wife, and due to a complaint from a wealthy patron asks her to see if she can have her wealthy land-baron godfather named Grandmorin, smooth things over.


S√ (C)verine agrees, but after a stray joke about how it‚(TM)s possible that he could be her father, is forced to confess to having long ago been the old man‚(TM)s mistress.


This drives Roubaud to decide to kill Grandmorin, and forcing S√ (C)verine to help, so that they may be ‚bonded‚? together anew and forever. They commit the murder on an all but empty train, all but empty save for Lantier.


When the cops question Lantier however, he says he saw no one. To ‚win him over‚?, S√ (C)verine begins an affair with him. Here‚(TM)s where things got complicated.


There are many ways to view ‚La Bete Humaine‚? from this point on in the film. S√ (C)verine may be incapable of love as she says due to being a teenage mistress to her godfather (or possibly real father), and intends only to use Lantier to get rid of Roubaud whose become a melancholy gambling louse since the murder. The picture perfect femme fatale.


It‚(TM)s also possible that though she has never loved anyone prior to Lantier, that her feelings for him genuine, and that she sincerely sees no way for them to be together while she remains married.


Roubaud‚(TM)s absence from the later half of the film, his diminishing importance and only referential presence, would seem to argue in favor of S√ (C)verine as manipulator. After the murder he seems unconcerned with S√ (C)verine affairs, as if avenging his/her honor removed any desire he had to preserve it thereafter.


Lantier‚(TM)s violent actions are equally mysterious; either he is destroying what he cannot have, because he cannot have it, or destroying what he wants most deeply for reasons beyond his control. Is it the ‚drunkards in his blood‚? that eventually triumph over him, or do his own resentments and fears over this specific situation get the better of him?


The trains connect all the characters together, but the trains also have no resting place, they are in constant motion save for the occasional breakdown. They could symbolize the alienation of the characters from the natural world around them, or from normal healthy relationships which travel makes tenous.


The trains mostly serve director Jean Renoir, in setting the tone for the brisk pace of the film and providing opportunities for excellent cinematography.


Their use as symbols is less fruitful than the questions of the motivations of the characters who inhabit and surround them.


Though it‚(TM)s arguable that no one truly loves anyone else in this film, I believe I will remember "La Bete Humaine" (the Human Beast) as a love story more than a noir or crime thriller. That is to say I side with team-S√ (C)verine was being genuine with Lantier.


It‚(TM)s only after we‚(TM)ve been made to feel for the characters and to truly and fully hope with them that they may escape their predicaments, that the full force of the tragedy can take effect.


I was much more impressed with ‚La Bete Humaine‚? than I had expected to be, it has none of the pacing or acting problems I normally associate with films of this era (though at least one review from the films release complained of Renoir ‚jumping too fast from scene to scene‚? and the characters being difficult to comprehend.). Its story was timeless in the best possible ways, and its execution close to flawless, at least as far as I think I understand Renoir‚(TM)s aims.


A quick peruse of a summary of Emile Zola‚(TM)s novel of the same name, tells a much darker and broader tale, with more characters, more deaths, and goings on long after the film‚(TM)s version ends. Focusing on Lantier and S√ (C)verine, their relationship and the murder, Renoir forces us to ask these questions about why we destroy the things we love.


Roubaud destroys his relationship with his wife, which we discover only later was not ideal when the film began, but certainly not in smolders as it is later. S√ (C)verine has many opportunities to leave and start again herself. The trains are always coming and going. Why does she remain where she is most miserable?


As for Lantier why does he do what he does with regard to S√ (C)verine, and why does he hold back earlier in the film?


Was he afraid she would leave him after he became useless?


Early traumas come back to haunt our two desperate lovers, who though connected to the constantly coming and going trains and their illusion of freedom, are permanently attached to their rails of their own destinies and mangled desires. For better in the short term, and worse in the long.
November 24, 2010
Saw the Fritz Lang Remake before allthough it still was a Impression to me the Style is really amazing and the Direction, Camera Work and the Actors brilliant the Music ist Bombastic
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