(aka 'The Human Beast')


http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm
USA 1954

Fritz Lang's 1954 American version of the Zola novel (and Renoir film) La bete humaine. Gloria Grahame, at her brassiest, pleads with Glenn Ford to do away with her slob of a husband, Broderick Crawford. Lang mines the railroad setting for a remarkably rich series of visual correlatives to his oppressively Catholic conception of guilt and retribution. A gripping melodrama, marred only by Ford's inability to register an appropriate sense of doom.

Excerpt of Dave Kehr's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE.

***

Ford and Grahame had worked so well under Lang's direction in the previous year's The Big Heat that Columbia's bosses rushed to capitalize, hiring the trio to work together again in this remake of Jean Renoir's 1938 classic, La BÍte Humaine. Ford plays a railroad engineer, back from the Korean War, who gets mixed up with Crawford's wife Grahame.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE.

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 5th, 1954

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DVD Comparison:

Columbia Tri-Star  (Columbia Tri-Star Film Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC vs. Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

DVD Box Cover

Available in the Japanese COLUMBIA TRISTAR FILM NOIR COLLECTION VOL.2

  

Packaging

The Japanese COLUMBIA TRI-STAR FILM NOIR COLLECTION VOL.2 (TOP) contains

The Big Heat 1953 Gilda 1946 Human Desire 1954 Lady From Shanghai 1947 Tight Spot 1955.

The Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2 (BOTTOM) contains Human Desire / The Brothers Rico / Nightfall / City of Fear and Pushover

Distribution Columbia Tri-Star (Japan) - Region 2 - NTSC Sony - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:30:42  1:30:42
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.6 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.82 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Japanese

Bitrate: US

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Japanese, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: February 25th, 2004

Keep Case (with 4 others in Boxset - see images above and below)
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Terror and Desire with Emily Mortimer (9:37)

• Trailer

DVD Release Date: July 6th, 2010

Keep Case (with 4 others in Boxset - see images above)
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Sony (Noir 2) June 2010: Firstly, neither edition is sold as an individual DVD - both come in packages. The new Sony Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2 REVIEWED HERE contains Human Desire / The Brothers Rico / Nightfall / City of Fear and Pushover.

Unfortunately, this is not the same excellent transfer as the Japanese set - as I, and many, were hoping for. There are some small marks on the Japanese rendering that are not duplicated on the US so it appears to be a different source. The new Sony is dirtier, the single-layered transfer exports a hazier image with a lower bitrate and there is some green infiltration in the contrast. With the Japanese set being been out of print for such a long time (people are asking almost $400 USD for it) this was such an anticipated title for North America noir fans - as most do not own it, in any form, on DVD. The video transfer has to be considered a disappointment.

I noted no differences in the 2.0 channel audio which is clean, consistent and expectantly flat, for both but I much prefer the Japanese edition's white English subtitles as opposed to the Sony's in yellow with a solid background. This may seem like a small detail to most but it shows the level of commitment to the DVD production. Both discs are transferred in the NTSC standard.

The new Sony has a very good supplement we get Emily Mortimer giving her viewpoint on the film for 10 minutes. The segment is entitled Terror and Desire. It is worth watching.

We will have the entire Sony vol. 2 package reviewed very soon.

***

 

ON THE JAPANESE DVD: Image quality looks quite good - heavy dirt/grain but anamorphic and highly detailed. Contrast is, as usual with CTSHV, exceptionally strong. Progressive transfer, and again, on a single layered DVD. There is some flickering and speckles near the end. It has appeal as the film doesn't appear to be on DVD anywhere else. So if you want to see the film with Gloria Grahame in that famous sweater you are going to have to buy this Boxset (none of the discs are sold separately - it contains The Big Heat, Gilda, Lady From Shanghai and Tight Spot from 1955), but if you are like most you have the first 3 already in your collection from region 1. Human Desire is commercially available in a poor edition from Spain.

NOTE: Tight Spot is scheduled for releases in the UK - both in the Ginger Rogers Screen Goddess Collection and individually later in the year HERE.

As a nice touch this DVD contains English subtitles (along with a Japanese option). The menus are in Japanese but there are limited screens and it takes only moments to access your desired choice through trial and error. The English 2.0 channel is both clear and consistent with easily audible dialogue.

The film is a noir must although perhaps not at the standard of The Big Heat  (with repeat of stars Ford and Grahame and helmsman Lang). A bit hokey at times but Ford carries it and Grahame maintains her status as one of my favorite femme fatales. The music in the film is quite powerful. Being a noir  junkie, it (and Tight Spot if you don't own it) may be worth the indulgence. One can EBay the doubles although it is no crime to have 2 duplicates of the classics The Big Heat, Gilda and Lady From Shanghai on the shelf. 

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus


 


Subtitle Sample

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


1) Columbia Tri-Star (JapaneseFilm Noir Classics Vol. 2) - Region 2 - NTSC TOP
2) Sony (Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


DVD Box Cover

Available in the Japanese COLUMBIA TRISTAR FILM NOIR COLLECTION VOL.2

  

The COLUMBIA TRI-STAR FILM NOIR COLLECTION VOL.2 contains The Big Heat 1953 Gilda 1946 Human Desire 1954 Lady From Shanghai 1947 Tight Spot  1955.




 

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