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| | |-+  La Bete Humaine (1938), remade as Human Desire (1954)
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Author Topic: La Bete Humaine (1938), remade as Human Desire (1954)  (Read 1644 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2017, 03:45:06 PM »

They are both different enough, not quite the same.

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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2017, 04:57:27 PM »

D & D, yes please give me your comments.

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Am I the only person who prefers Human Desire to La Bete Humaine?
I haven't seen La Bete in ages, I just remembered the difference between the main characters. So I'd have to rewatch for a real comparison. I have to track the movie down first.

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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2017, 06:03:25 PM »

D & D, yes please give me your comments.
I haven't seen La Bete in ages, I just remembered the difference between the main characters. So I'd have to rewatch for a real comparison. I have to track the movie down first.

LBH is available on Criterion DVD. Human Desire is the one that is very hard to find.

I can mail you my copy of LBH if you'll mail it back  Smiley

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« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2017, 12:00:55 AM »

D & D, yes please give me your comments.

Basically, my disagreement with you is about Vicki's character. As I mentioned in my previous posts in this thread, I really don't see Vicki as the typical conniving bitch femme fatale. I think she really was faithful to her husband, she really didn't want to Owens and she never willingly submitted herself to him. She never cheated on her husband until after the incident with Owens, when her husband started getting insane with jealousy and their marriage began falling apart, and then she went off with Jeff. And she truly loved Jeff. And yes, she was spurned by Jeff. Yes, ultimately she plotted with Jeff to kill her husband, but this wasn't some babe trying to knock off her husband for insurance money; she was living in prison and fearing for her safety. Unlike, say, Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, Vicki was truly in love with Jeff; she was not pretending to love him for the sole purpose of getting Jeff to knock off her husband.

In this way, IMO, Vicki was the anti-femme-fatale. The tragedy here is that Jeff doesn't realize it. Jeff is seeing her strictly as a femme fatale, and he doesn't ever realize, all the way until the end, that she is sincere.

As for the end: you can argue that Human Desire just went for the typical Hollywood happy ending – "happy" because Jeff is the main character and we are viewing things through his eyes, that he'll go off with the nice girl – let's face it, he's not the type of guy for a noir girl like Vicki – and live happily ever after. So, even though it's a tragedy what happens to Vicki – if you believe as I do that she is not really bad – you can say that going off with the good girl is better for Jeff anyway: less drama, and she is the kind of girl that is more suitable for him; they can live happily ever after behind a white picket fence. It's the "human desire," - or the "brutal desire" as Blanche DuBois put it – that gets people killed. Jeff chooses the good girl and therefore chooses the happily ever after life.

Yeah, I am somewhat ambivalent about the ending of HD. With LBH, the ending is more .... poetic ... but I hate the whole plot point about the main character going crazy and doing things beyond his control.

« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 12:15:42 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2017, 09:29:45 AM »

I could agree with you that Vicki probably likely maybe didn't cheat on her husband before the Owens incident. We don't know. It's just how did she end up marrying him in the first place? Her account about Owens in the end is very revealing and doesn't make her look good. She must have been damaged goods to marry Carl.

If she loved Jeff is hard to say. I don't think she was as evil as Kathie Moffat or Phyllis Dietrichson, but she certainly used Jeff. But then, yes, she just wanted out.

I agree that Jeff is more suitable for Ellen. He's not really the right type of guy for a femme fatale.

I guess Lang did his job right. Smiley It's hard to get a correct reading on Vicki. She's simply that ambiguous.

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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2017, 09:21:00 PM »

Just watched La Bęte Humaine again tonight, the two films are quite different.

<spoilers>

The murder of Grandmorin the railroad executive occurs practically at the beginning of the film, it happens soon after Roubaud, who sent Séverine, his wife, to ask Grandmorin to smooth things over with the complaining customer, finds out that she was his mistress beginning at the age of sixteen. After the murder Séverine tells Roubard that she does not love him anymore, but Roubard is now a changed man, he doesn't seem care anymore what Séverine does, and spends his nights gambling.

Jacques Lantier, the engineer is indeed a bit of a nut case, he loves his engine, I guess it's always there for him. The times he gets involved with women the family "sickness" unpredictably takes over, or maybe it's an instinctive reaction to women in general (just kidding).

When Jacques meets Séverine it is in the corridor just after Roubard has killed Grandmorin. She goes to talk with Jacques who becomes smitten with her, and later at the inquiry, tells the cops that he saw no one on the corridor. One thing leads to another and they eventually become lovers and Séverine tells him that she won't be free of Roubard until he's dead. The film is a bit unclear (at least to me and from reading the subtitles) whether Séverine has been cheating on Roubard all along, there is one sequence where a man comes to the door bringing lace from "his wife" for Séverine, which gets Roubard all bent out of shape, then later at the railroad ball this same man is dancing with Séverine. So is she or isn't she?

Jacques makes the first attempt to kill Roubard with a lead pipe but finds that he can't do it. Séverine tells him that she can't go on as they are and that it is over.

At a railroad ball Jacques is watching Séverine dance with another man. Out of jealousy Jacques rekindles the romance with Séverine and tells her that he will kill Roubard this time, tonight. He and Séverine go back to her apartment and wait for Roubard. Jacques with Roubard's own gun with kill him and make it look like a suicide but just as they prepare for Roubard to walk in the door (it turns out to be a neighbor) the tension triggers Jacques' sickness to return and he in turn attacks Séverine first by choking her, and then stabbing her with a knife. The sequence is intercut with shots of a crooner at the ball singing about this  coquettish Ninette and shots of the lifeless body off Severine.

Distraught Jacques walks the tracks all night, getting back to work with two minutes to spare. He tells his best friend, the fireman of the locomotive what he did. Later at top speed going down the tracks he jumps off the engine breaking his neck.

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