A startlingly dark, late film noir masterwork by director Fritz Lang, Human Desire reunites Lang with his hero Glenn Ford and femme fatale Gloria Grahame from the previous year’s The Big Heat and the screenwriter of Lang’s 1952 noir Clash by Night, Alfred Hayes. Like those two classics, Human Desire finds Lang casting a pitiless eye on all of the human weaknesses that define film noir: deception, infidelity, passion, and murder.
Adapted from the same Emile Zola novel previously filmed by Jean Renoir in La Bete Humaine (1938), Lang’s gripping thriller has Ford as train engineer Jeff, just home from the Korean War. He’s instantly attracted to passenger Vicki (Grahame), not yet realizing that she’s the abused wife of Jeff’s alcoholic railroad yard superior Carl (Broderick Crawford) — or that Vicki was just entangled in a jealousy-fueled murder committed by Carl. As Jeff and Vicki embark on a steamy affair, she tells him about the crime, and Carl’s blackmail hold on her. If only Carl could be taken out of the picture…
The only thing that’s not pitch black in this noir are the ethical shades of gray inhabited by all its characters. Yet its placid small town setting also offers a unique perspective on the genre, with Lang uncovering sinister secrets on these quiet streets that could rival any big city immorality. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present one of this brilliant filmmaker’s most underrated films for the first time ever on Blu-ray.