Blu-Ray Review: Human Desire

Gloria Grahame was not your usual Hollywood star. Despite being obsessed by her looks later on in her career (to a worrying degree) her contract was sold by MGM to RKO because she ‘hadn’t what it takes’ to be successful. She had four husbands, one was the son of another (who she was caught in bed with when he was 13). However, it was on screen where she had the most devastating impact. Often cast in noirs, she produced memorable performances in The Big Heat, Sudden Fear and Crossfire. Human Desire was arguably her best.

Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) returns from fighting in Korea to take up his old job at a railway yard, moving back in with his friend Alec (Edgar Buchanan). When Carl Buckley (Broderick Crawford), the crotchety assistant yard supervisor, is sacked he begs his young beautiful wife (Grahame) to use her influence with Mr Owens (Grandon Rhodes). Despite getting his job back his anger, alcoholism and jealousy get the better of him. Jeff falls for her, finding himself increasingly under her spell; but she’s a dangerous woman.

(Extremely loosely) based on a novel by Émile Zola (La Bête humaine), but owing far more to Jean Renoir’s adaptation, Human Desire is a compelling noir and dangerous melodrama. Fritz Lang takes his subjects and spins them around, keeping the viewer one-step behind. Grahame is electrifying on screen, almost impossible to resist. Along with a fine cast and an intelligent script, Human Desire is an immersive descent into desperation and deceit.

Special Features:

  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
  • LPCM Mono Audio
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • New and exclusive interview with film scholar and critic Tony Rayns
  • PLUS: A collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by film historian Travis Crawford, critic and author Richard Combs, and writer Adam Batty, alongside rare archival imagery

Human Desire is released on dual format (Blu-ray and DVD) by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on 11 February.

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